Brickbat: Open Government


Officials in Malheur County, Oregon, have asked the local sheriff to investigate whether the Malheur Enterprise newspaper broke any laws when its reporters tried to contact county economic development officials after office hours or through their personal emails and phone numbers. Greg Smith, director of Malheur County Economic Development Department, said he asked the newspaper to "limit your requests to office hours" and to a single county email address. Smith uses two emails in his conduct of county business, according to the newspaper. The newspaper also reports that at a government meeting he gave the public what he described as his "personal" cell phone number, saying he was available "24/7" and telling anyone who has questions or concerns to "call me directly."

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  1. Zaitz said county officials appeared to be acting following a series of investigative reports about Smith and the economic development agency that raised questions about Smith’s conduct and the agency’s operations.

    1. Backward county doesn’t understand this is precisely why the First Amendment exists.

  2. He said in a subsequent public statement that he and his staff have been subjected to emails “at all hours of the day.”


    1. That law states that “a telephone caller commits the crime of telephonic harassment if the caller intentionally harasses or annoys another person” by calling a number they have been forbidden to use.
      People use their phones to send and receive email.

      1. Some free speech is freer than others

      2. We know who’s not prepared for that 3 a.m. phone call.

    2. And my mailperson always delivers my snail mail during my lunch break! Arrrrgg!

  3. Malheur County? Isn’t that where a bunch of alphabet soup agencies put some poor ranchers through hell? So the local government there sucks too. Big surprise.

    I guess that’s what you get when you live in a county whose name means sadness.

  4. Malheur County, Oregon has a land area greater than NJ, but is one of the lowest populated areas in the country. Malheur is French for Misfortune, and is a good description for what happens to people there. So it does not surprise me that the local government has a few idiots.

  5. “Open Government?”

    Now THAT’S the best joke I’ve heard in years!

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