Durham Herald-Sun: Weak sunshine

From the Durham Herald-Sun (3/13/12): No one knows about that-man-done-you-wrong days like Billie Holiday.

When black clouds seethe overhead, her voice pours disappointment and betrayal through the speakers. “Life is bad/Gloom and mis’ry everywhere,” she crooned, not first, not last, but best. “Stormy weather.”

It’s Sunshine Week — that time of year for contemplating the state of open-records laws and the government’s accountability to the people — but things seem awfully overcast since last year’s weather report.

There were a few victories: “We succeeded in beating back numerous attempts to remove public notices from the newspapers,” said Beth Grace, the executive director of the North Carolina Press Association, which lobbies and litigates on behalf of the people’s right to know. “From the public’s point of view that was a key victory. That’s how they know what the government’s up to.”

But Grace conceded that “North Carolina is not the sunshiniest state in the land.”

“We would very much like to be that someday,” she said. “We tried to achieve that in the last session with the Sunshine Amendment, and I wouldn’t count that as dead yet.”

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