Public Records Battle Almost Over
And The Loser is.......
The Tax Payers

The long, complicated and intentionally convoluted public records legal battle between Pat Hunter and Doyle Arp is almost over and we all owe Ms. Hunter a debt of gratitude. I'm sure Mr. Arp and his lap dog attorney would like to claim some kind of victory but nothing could be farther from the truth. Had it not been for the actions of Ms. Hunter, no one in the county would have ever been able to gain access to public records.

His first attempt to stifle public access was to enact an outrageous fee that would have all but eliminated the average persons ability to view or copy public records. Thanks to Ms. Hunter's lawsuit, the judge shot that down. Arp also attempted to create an atmosphere of intimidation for citizens by requiring that anyone wanting access to public records would first have to submit a ridiculous request form to him personally so that in his own words, he would know what they were looking for. Thanks to Ms. Hunter's lawsuit, the judge shot that down also.

The only loss taken by Ms. Hunter was that the judge didn't award her, her legal fees which was an option for the judge. The judge felt that the testimony presented did not show any substantial denial of her access to public records. I suppose having to wait twenty or thirty days for the simplest request to be fulfilled could be considered appropriate, but I'm not sure how. As a commissioner, I could walk into the finance department, request any particular information and receive it in a matter of minutes. However under the Arp regime, the same request took more than thirty days.

While I'm sure Arp will try his best to spin the outcome of the lawsuit to show him as a winner, the real losers in this whole affair are the county tax payers. At last count, attorney Bob Bowman had already sucked more than thirty thousand dollars out of the tax payer's pockets and I'm sure when all is said and done that total will be far higher. But we may never know. These records are still being kept from the public.

The most disappointing aspect to this whole thing, is that ten commissioners sat by and allowed Mr. Arp to drag the county through this whole mess. They could have put a stop to it at any time but apparently chose not to. Arp brought all of this on the county in his vain attempt to exert his self centered agenda on everyone. When all is said and done, Arp's out nothing except the embarrassment of losing.

The citizens of Loudon County owe a great debt of gratitude to Ms. Hunter and her tenacious determination not to let the bad guys win.