Home > Ethics, Legal > Langley school district tells reporter to go fuck himself

Langley school district tells reporter to go fuck himself

November 13, 2011

From the up-yours files:

In one of the most blatant attempt to suppress public information that I have ever seen here in B.C., the Langley school district told Langley Times reporter Dan Ferguson that it would cost $4,500 to obtain an ostensibly public 230-page report on the state of local schools.

The move to put the report out of the reach of the public is so explicit, the district might as well shouted “FOI this” while punching Dan in the face. And yet, the details behind the quote are even more expletive-inducing: $10/page for photocopying costs and $450 an hour for the staff time required to go over the document. Four hundred and fifty dollars. A fucking hour. Read Dan’s story on the FOI saga here.

Frankly, he’s much more even-handed than I would be.

Let’s do some math, shall we?

If this clerk were indeed paid $450 an hour for, say a 37.5 hour work week, he or she would make — drum roll please — $877,500 over the course of the year. Now, either the clerk has the best gig this side of BC Ferries, or the school district is using the fees to keep private public information.

On appeal, the district cut the cost of the photocopies to a slightly less ridiculous $1/page. But the $450/hour charge remains. Because that’s reasonable.

The story says that the newspaper is refusing to pay the charge. But it’s obviously also unable to. Bravo, Langley school district you’ve found a way to muzzle the press. Hurrah for democracy. Motherfuckers.

From the story:

The opposition critic for citizens’ services and open government, Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley, warned that even if The Times were to pay the fee, there is no guarantee the information would be fully disclosed.

He cited several cases where public bodies in B.C. have produced a heavily edited version of requested documents.

While the FOI law is supposed to ensure transparency by public bodies, it contains loopholes that bureaucrats have learned to exploit by foot-dragging and charging huge fees, Routley said.

“It’s farcical and tragic all at once,” Routley commented. “It is ridiculous.”

(Of course, that’s what a member of the opposition would say.)

I’ve encouraged Dan to complain to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Vancouver Sun‘s intrepid (and always very helpful) investigative reporter Chad Skelton has done the same. If one lets something like this stand, then the whole notion of freedom of information is worthless. Four hundred fifty dollars an hour.

So fuck you Langley School Board and fuck you Rob McFarlane (the school board chair who, instead of pledging to get to the bottom of this shit, took the coward’s way out by telling the Times to ask for an abridged version of the report). Grow some gender-non-specific genitalia.

In the meantime, I hope a school board trustee leeks the report. Those trustees who are complicit or silent in their district’s gutless, authoritarian, cowardly and dickish move should be voted out this Saturday. Up yours.

Leave a motha-fuckin’ comment.

  1. Anonymous
    November 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I wish I could hug this post because it makes me feel very warm and fuzzy.

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