Cactus Needles - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Cactus Needles

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Posted: Saturday, November 15, 2008 6:33 pm | Updated: 10:21 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Short takes from the Tribune Editorial Board...

Queen Creek officials made the good choice recently to undergo some training about speaking before media cameras, which included filming mock interviews for practice and critiques.

But those officials now are making the wrong move in refusing to share the videotape with Queen Creek resident Cynthia Buffington.

The video is physical documentation of the mayor and Town Council members conducting city business, similar to a municipal government recording a meeting or an event that some elected officials attend.

Queen Creek wasn’t obligated to film anything, but once the town did, the video should be treated as part of the public record and accessible to anyone under the state open records’ law.

Tribune writer Amanda Keim reported Thursday Buffington has appealed to the state ombudsman’s office. But Queen Creek shouldn’t wait.

Uphold the public’s right to know and release the video.

It’s one thing to read or hear that mega-insurance company AIG has a habit of sending its employees on expensive travel junkets even as it asks American taxpayers for tens of billions of dollars in bailout money.

But AIG’s arrogance was displayed in living motion and full color last week when a team of investigative journalists from KNXV-TV (Channel 15) caught top AIG executives hanging out at the pool of a Phoenix resort.

Reporter Josh Bernstein and his team had to go undercover to get the story, as AIG did its best to hide its involvement with a $390,000 conference for independent financial planners at the Phoenix Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort.

AIG sought to defend the conference as necessary training for its contractors, and added that most expenses will be reimbursed by vendors and outside sponsors. But the arguments ring hollow when contrasted with KNXV video showing AIG execs spending plenty of time away from the conference and enjoying the resort’s amenities. And there’s simply no defense for AIG’s plan to bring in TV sports analyst Terry Bradshaw as a “motivational speaker” for $40,000.

Kudos to KNXV-TV for its dogged pursuit of this national story in our own backyard.

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