Opinion

Public disclosure bill an abomination

In the three years I’ve written this column for the Independent, I’ve probably only scrawled out 500-plus words concerning something the paper has already editorialized on a mere two or three times.

Usually the editorial says about what I’d say, or even more often, concerns an issue I don’t find all that interesting.

I’ve always been more compelled by cops and courts stories and quirky issues like the urination police than I am by basic local politics — zoning, school levies, fire protection and the like.

And on the personal level, the way people interact with each other has always been of more interest to me than how they dress, where they live, or what they plan to do with their retirement.

I’ve written a lot of columns over the years about single-parenting, learning to get along with my elderly mother, and learning to try and forget about my ex-wife and my extremely (O.J.-caliber) acrimonious divorce.

I don’t think I’ve ever written about gardening, although I do garden, and I’ve never written about the joys of suburban living, although 10 years of my marriage were passed, oh so damn slowly, in a suburban enviroment because my ex-wife liked the alleged lifestyle.

But in the springtime, maybe because papers for the past 25 years have assigned me these stories, my mild interest in politics is revived by the doings in Olympia.

I’ve already written in this space about proposed no-cellphones-in-hand-while-driving legislation, but an editorial in the (March 9) Independent commanded my attention.

The editorial mildly chastised 26th District Sen. Bob Oke for his co-sponsorship of Senate Bill-5736, which would extend client-attorney protection to state lawmakers and their attorneys while they hash out public policy behind the scenes.

I know Bob Oke has some health concerns and I’ve said here more than once that he is a good, honest man.

But the editorial didn’t go nearly far enough in its expressed opposition to this particular provision of SB-5736.

Listen, Bob, you and the rest of those clowns, pirates in suits and ties, and alleged public servants work for us, the poor chumps who pay the taxes you fling around wastefully half the time. You remember us, the fools who keep electing you?

You people are supposed to be public servants and everything you discuss in Olympia except what you had for lunch and who you’d like to sleep with, is our business.

This is the true bi-partisan issue.

All of them — Bush, Clinton, Rossi, Gregoire and Oke and the whole downstate crew work for you and me.

They aren’t royalty. They do not rule by divine right.

The Patriot Act nationally is the tip of a new government iceberg many folks seem eager to ignore as long as they receive their tax cuts.

I don’t want these elected officials, many of whom aren’t as nice and seemingly honest as Bob Oke, keeping any of my business protected by attorney-client privilege.

It’s hard enough to keep tabs on our so-called leaders nowadays, even for reporters.

SB-5736 is more of an infringement on the real liberties Americans take for granted than many things people seem much more exercised about.

Can you say gay marriage?

Helmets or no helmets on your motorcycle?

The down-the-street neighbor’s abortion?

The state bird?

I don’t care who marries who as long as it isn’t me they’re after.

I don’t care if Big Dumb Biff wants to give himself a brain injury on the back of his Harley.

And as long as it isn’t my baby, I don’t care what little Suzie Q down the street does with her own precious little body.

But I damn sure do care what Dino Rossi, Christine Gregoire, Bob Oke, Pat Lantz and the rest of the boys and girls down in Olympia talk about before they decide to raise my taxes or gut the social services older poor people rely on.

I want know when they and their attorneys are discussing giving more of my tax dollars, and yours, to the billionaires running the Seattle sports teams that do absolutely squat for me and mine.

Even if everybody else is watching Oprah, I believe that everything in Olympia except the bathrooms and the bedrooms should be available on public access television whenever the Legislature is in session. Especially when those worthies we elected to preserve and protect our interests are in the boardrooms promising away our rights to Big Business, or in their attorneys’ offices plotting on public monies.

SB-5736 is, because of the secrecy provision, the worst piece of legislation in Olmpia this spring.

If you follow state politics at all, you know that that’s really saying something.

Dennis Wilken is a former Port Orchard Independent reporter.

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