Transparency News, 6/10/21


June 10, 2021
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state & local news stories
The longtime city engineer who shot and killed 12 people before being fatally wounded by police was “motivated by perceived workplace grievances, which he fixated on for years,“ according to a report from the FBI released Wednesday. It was the first time a government agency has identified a motive for why DeWayne Craddock, 40, opened fire on his coworkers at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in 2019 after roughly nine years on the job. The findings and investigation from the bureau bolster much of The Virginian-Pilot’s reporting in the months after the shooting. In December of that year, the Pilot reported that Craddock’s actions and words leading up to the shooting left a fairly clear road map: he was isolating, paranoid and repeatedly facing workplace issues despite also feeling underpaid. The report from the FBI — which states that while only the shooter knew the real reason why he did this, the bureau is confident in its assessment — also stands in sharp contrast to the findings of police and a Chicago firm tasked with investigating the shooting. After seeing the FBI’s report, Jason Nixon, whose wife, Kate, was killed in the shooting, said he felt vindicated after pushing for much of this information to be released over the last two years.
The Virginian-Pilot

After more than a year participating in meetings largely from their own rec rooms or similar spaces, Arlington County Board members will be back on the dais later this month. “The board is looking forward to holding board meetings and interacting with the community in-person safely and responsibly,” County Board Chairman Matt de Ferranti told the Sun Gazette after the decision was made. The board’s June 12 meeting will be the first held in-person since the onset of the COVID crisis of early 2020. But there will be some alterations in place. The public will be allowed in the board room for the meeting; under the announced plan (which is subject to change based on health conditions), those who have been vaccinated will be able to attend sans masks, while those who have not yet completed a COVID vaccine protocol are requested either to wear masks or to participate in the meeting from home. Board members will take public comment on public-hearing items both in person and online; all those wishing to speak on items are asked to register in advance.
Sun Gazette
stories from around the country
A bill to make reasons for discipline of teachers, state employees and other government workers public record was revived in a committee of the North Carolina state legislature this week and could soon be headed to the floor of the Senate for a vote. “This bill was never intended to do but one thing, and that is to make North Carolina a more transparent state as far as its employees are concerned,” bill sponsor Sen. Norman Sanderson said during a committee meeting Tuesday. Republicans are the bill’s sponsors and supporters. So far Democrats have been publicly opposed, though not many are willing to talk about it yet. The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association is in favor of it, but there is union opposition from the State Employees Association of North Carolina and the North Carolina Association of Educators.
The News & Observer

Democratic lawmakers are proposing to give public officials in Delaware more reasons to deny requests for public records under the state’s Freedom of Information Act and require people seeking public records to pay new fees. The measure cleared a Democrat-led Senate committee Wednesday after a public hearing in which representatives of open-government groups spoke against it and warned that it could lead to more government secrecy. The legislation allows government workers to deny FOIA requests that they consider to be “unreasonably broad, unduly burdensome, intended to disrupt the essential functions of the public body,” or “abusive.” The bill was filed on behalf of Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Jenning’s office, which is charged with reviewing petitions from people whose requests for public records have been denied.
The McDowell News

In all but one way, Amber Adler is running a pretty normal campaign for New York city council. She knocks on doors and attends rallies; she campaigns outside of grocery stores and subway stations; she puts posters up across her district and places ads in local newspapers. But look for a picture of her face in one of those local papers, and you’re not likely to find one. Why not? Because most of the magazines and newspapers in her neighborhood refuse to publish her photo. Adler, 37, is the first Orthodox Jewish woman to run for city council in her Brooklyn district, which includes ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods scattered throughout Borough Park and Midwood. And as she heads toward her June 22 primary, she’s a victim of a fairly recent trend among Jewish media outlets in Orthodox neighborhoods in the United States: a refusal to publish photographs of women and girls for religious reasons. Which means if Adler wants campaign ads printed in the Jewish news, she can’t be in most of them.

The public's long-standing access to routine radio communications by Honolulu, Hawaii, police and firefighters is coming to an end as the city nears completion of a $15 million system overhaul that will encrypt the frequencies used by nine city departments, preventing objective monitoring of the transmissions. The conversion from an analog system to a P25 Motorola digital system will allow the departments to talk to each other on a single channel and is part of a national move away from analog radio systems by county, state and federal agencies. The move is intended to make operations quicker and more efficient by providing first responders with more bandwidth. For decades reporters have been able to listen to police and fire department scanners to be alerted to major accidents, fires or crimes in progress and alert the public. In a 1997 article the Society of Professional Journalists said police and fire scanners are "about as necessary in a newsroom as is the pen and notebook."