Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Sunshine Week / Let's Rock!

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Mar 16, 2017 8:00 PM
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This week is Sunshine Week - a national recognition of the need to maintain transparency in government and the acknowledgement of the importance of a free and independent press.

The PA Freedom of Information Coalition has been committed to protecting press freedoms and eliminating government secrecy since 2005.  "The whole purpose of the FOIC is to be a resource for the regular guy or gal looking for information about their government" FOIC president Donald Gilliland told the PennLive editorial board earlier this week.  "Now, more than ever, focusing on transparency is important."

Smart Talk will speak with Gilliland about the need for government transparency and the value of a free press.

Also, Smart Talk discusses the roots of rock and roll with Penn State Behrend history professor Richard Aquila.  He looks at the symbiotic relationship between early rock music and the cultural landscape in post-war America in his new book, Let's Rock!: How 1950s America Created Elvis and the Rock and Roll Craze.

EMAILS

- Does this apply to police reports? I tried to get a copy of an assult (on me) & was told I had to go through a lawyer.                                             - anon

- Based on my own experience in requesting documents:

1. Be as specific to what you want as possible otherwise you may be denied, based on various excuses such as unable to find that information or not able to share that information (personnel or other valid excuse used incorrectly).  If they do not have what you want specifically, then broaden your request and ask for more.  Ex. want to know what they are spending on snow plowing? If they don't have that itemized, then ask for the entire road maintenance budget and you might have to figure it out yourself.

2. Request electronic copies.  This will prevent the entity you are requesting from charging you for copies.  Some of these charges can be quite excessive.  In the computer age, almost everything should be available electronically.  Have them email it to you.  This enabled me to point out to our local government that they should make ownership of electronic copies of things like zoning ordinances mandatory when having contractors write these documents for them.  My township did not have this requirement making it much more likely that they were obligated to use the same contractor when they wanted to make revisions to the ordinance or else retype the entire 200+ page document.         -Lisa, Goodville, PA

- I attended a Rapho Township Zoning committee meeting in Manheim, PA. Application of Samuel and Ann Zook requesting Special Exception to article 6, Section 603.B and Article 1, section 107, asking for a 63 adult breeding kennel exception on October 4, 2016.

The zoning committee made an arbitrary decision denying residents that did not live within 1/4 mile or less of proposed site of kennel COULD NOT speak.  Believe it or not, individuals against granting the building of,  yet again, another puppy mill did not speak and therefore could not offer our reasons for not granting the special exception.  Special exception was granted.

Is there anything in the sunshine act that address this injustice (IMO).               - Jacqueline

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