Register now for WCOG’s 2021 Sunshine Breakfast 

Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 – 7:30 to 9 a.m., First Base Terrace Club, T-Mobile Park

The Washington Coalition for Open Government cordially invites you to join us as we honor the champions of transparency at our 2021 Sunshine Breakfast. This year will be a very special celebration as we honor the 15-year career of Toby Nixon, who spent the past 13 years on the board as president. Please plan now to join us for this very special event, which will also honor other outstanding proponents of open government.

Breakfast buffet costs $35, or a table for 10 costs $300.

Doors open at 7:15; parking is free. Tours of T-Mobile Park are available after the WCOG event.

More information and registration here.

Wanted: Nominations for outstanding journalism

Journalists and newsrooms across Washington state can now submit entries for the 2021 Kenneth F. Bunting Award, which honors work published, broadcast or posted from June 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

The Coalition’s annual Bunting Award recognizes organizations or individuals for journalistic work that uses or advances the state Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act. Nominations are accepted until Aug. 1, 2021; find a 2021 nomination form here. Learn about previous winners here and more about the Bunting Award here.

WCOG urges transparency from Seattle city officials

WCOG sent an open letter to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan urging transparency in recent Seattle records requests

The Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting the public’s right to know about government. WCOG rigorously advocates for transparency at all levels of government, particularly among elected officials.

WCOG is deeply troubled by the recent Ethics and Elections Commission finding that your counsel Michelle Chen violated the Public Records Act by narrowly interpreting requests to exclude your text messages. Equally concerning are the revelations that you allowed ten months of your text messages to be destroyed and that this destruction was concealed from records requesters.  Click here for the full letter

Mountlake Terrace student wins annual essay contest

Merik Robles, 16, a student at Archbishop Murphy High School, in Everett is the winner of the 2-21 Scott Johnson High School Essay Contest. His essay, “Government Records — Advancing the Cause of Justice,” examined the need for government transparency in light of the death of Manual Ellis while in police custody. Three Tacoma police officers were charged in his death and await trial.

“The public has the right to know how police use their power and to examine the appropriateness of policing tactics and use of force,” Robles wrote. “Mr. Ellis’ death illustrates the importance of government transparency.”

WCOG administers the annual contest, which is sponsored by Seattle law firm Stokes Lawrence and comes with a $1,000 cash prize for the winner.

Click below to learn about the 2020 winners of WCOG’s Madison-Andersen-Bunting Awards:

David Cuillier

David Cuillier, president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, is being honored with the 2020 James Madison Award, given to an individual or organization whose long term commitment to the cause of open government has been demonstrated through exemplary words or deeds.

Cuillier, a Washington native who worked with WCOG as a journalist and academic, is now an associate professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism. He is a former national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and co-authored “The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records.”

Kate Riley

Washington Coalition for Open Government is recognizing board member Kate Riley with the 2020 James Andersen Award.

She is being honored for her relentless pursuit of government accountability, and for educating the public on the editorial pages of The Seattle Times, where she is editorial page editor. The award recognizes contributions to WCOG and the cause of open government. It is named for founding WCOG board member and former Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court James Andersen.

Chris Ingalls

Broadcast journalist Chris Ingalls and his colleagues at KING 5 News are being recognized with the annual Kenneth F. Bunting Award for their effective use of public records access in their investigative reporting of the extent and duration of mold infections in operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital. At least seven of the hospital’s young patients have died from mold infections since 2001.

This award is presented to organizations or individuals for journalistic work that utilizes, advances, or educates about the state’s Open Public Meetings Act/Public Records Act. It honors the memory of the late Ken Bunting, an executive editor and associate publisher with The Seattle Post-Intelligencer who helped found the Washington Coalition for Open Government in 2002.

Transparency and public participation are building blocks of good government.

The Coalition was formed to act as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated promoting and defending the People’s right to know in matters of public interest and in the conduct of the public’s business. The Coalition’s driving vision is to help foster open government processes, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

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