By Tim Redmond
Yeah, so the SF Weekly is taking a swipe at Kimo Crossman (and, naturally, at us) this week. Will Harper's item isn't terribly insightful or funny, and just plays into the Phoenix-based paper's general distaste for unconventional activists.
But Harper (and a lof ot the others who think it's fun and easy to whack away at the likes of Crossman and his over-the-top battles for open government) forget where all of this came from. Kimo Crossman got obsessed with government secrecy because he had such a bad experience trying to get public records. He wanted to find out about the Newsom wi-fi deal (which, true to form, the Weekly also loves). And he kept running into brick walls.
I understand. I find the same thing at City Hall, all the time. Under City Attorney Dennis Herrera (and his excellent and principled press aide, Matt Dorsey), it's gotten a lot better, but overall, most city departments still make it far too difficult for the average citizen to get basic information about what's going on.
If anyone is to blame for Crossman's somewhat unwieldy campaign, it's Mayor Newsom, who insisted that Google and Earthlink had the right to keep their wi-fi proposals mostly secret.
There has always been an easy solution to people like Crossman: Just give them the damn records. Nothing bad will happen. Really.
PS: Someday soon, when metadata is regularly released as part of public-records requests, Will Harper or someone else at the Weekly will use that info to write a really good story about City Hall. You suppose they'll thank that crazy Kimo Crossman?