We are writing to express our deep disappointment with Supervisor Andrew Do’s recent comments on the number of public records requests submitted to the county in recent months. The documents requested by news organizations, including Voice of OC, are owned by the public. County officials are obliged by hard-won state laws to produce these records for public inspection.
Journalists use public records to uncover facts that taxpayers deserve to know even when it’s uncomfortable for public officials to address. Supervisor Do’s belittling of these requests as an annoyance erodes public trust in journalists and the work we do at a time when our profession is under attack.
Supervisor Do’s comments were a disservice, not only to the journalists who cover the county, but also to the public he was elected to serve.
We were also disturbed by the supervisor referring to the award-winning, nonprofit Voice of OC as “noise.” In the midst of a pandemic, the need for accurate and timely information has never been more critical. The men and women of Voice of OC deserve to be treated with professionalism by Orange County’s top elected officials. We expect more from our elected representatives and urge Supervisor Do to apologize.
The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors
David N. Young
Note: Board Member Sonya Quick abstained from the discussion and vote on this letter as she is digital editor at Voice of OC.