Public records battle in TacomaMarch 14th, 2013 by Steven Gardner
In Tacoma a contract between a cable company and a network has opened a public records dispute.
The (Tacoma) News Tribune wants to see the contract between Fisher Communications and Click Cable, which delivers cable service in the Tacoma area.
Since Click is owned by the city, the News Tribune and the Tacoma city attorney argue that the contract with Fisher and other broadcasters is public. Four broadcasters are suing to block a News Tribune public record request to see the contract between Fisher and Click, saying the revelation would harm the broadcasters’ negotiation position nationwide.
This all stems from a dispute that for a while had Click customers unable to watch Fisher content, including KOMO. You should read the TNT piece I linked above to get the details about this particular dispute. Suffice to say that I can’t think of any other city contract that escapes the sunshine of the state’s public records law. And I know that when I did a story recently on a labor dispute related to Bremerton’s Burwell parking garage, contracts and subcontracts would have been available to me.
I’ve made a request from an expert as to what I could expect if I were to make this kind of document request to a private cable company. I’ll update when I have more info.