Apparently, no one ever taught U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell how to be a gracious guest. Flying in the face of Colorado’s Sunshine Law, where three or more elected officials are gathered discussing public business, a man believed to be a member of Jewell’s staff kicked out a press member not once but twice Tuesday at a meeting in Craig, Colorado.
As Rachel Sauer at The Grand Junction Sentinel reports:
“A man who didn’t identify himself, but whom [Craig Daily Press Reporter Erin] Fenner said she thought works in the Secretary of the Interior’s office and was acting on Jewell’s behalf, escorted her from the room and told her she couldn’t be there because she was with the press.” [the Peak emphasis]
This flies in the face of not one, not two, but three county commissioners having told Fenner that morning they believed the meeting was open.
Fenner returned to her newspaper’s office wherein her managing editor Noelle Leavitt Riley called one of the commissioners at the meeting who told Leavitt Riley to send Fenner back. Which is when this little gem unfolded:
“Fenner returned to the meeting, she said, and was told to leave once again by the same man. She said she brought up Colorado’s Sunshine Law ‘and he said that we weren’t going to argue about it any more and said I had to get out,’ Fenner said.” [the Peak emphasis]
We here may give the press a hard time every now and then, but we know we would all be poorer for it if we didn’t have them out there working hard every day. It really gets our blood boiling when an outsider comes into Colorado and pushes one of our own around.
We applaud the courage and effort of both Erin Fenner and Noelle Leavitt Riley. And, in fact, we wish Erin Fenner would have made more of a scene out of this preposterousness. With over 12 elected officials there, who certainly know Colorado law better than Secretary Jewell, why didn’t one of them stick up for Fenner? Where were they? Were they all so tongue-tied in front of the great and might Secretary of The Interior? Perhaps they were unaware.