Re "Democrats protest $14K bill for redistricting records" (Tribune, Aug. 7):
Utah State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis is executing a campaign that says: Republicans are corrupt and self-serving; therefore, it is time for change.
He used Utah's Government Records Access and Management Act for a fishing expedition to obtain documents "primarily in the party's interest," and now, to support his campaign strategy, he claims that the Legislature's refusal to release the documents free of processing charge is an example of a Republican conspiracy to conceal information.
Here is the real situation: Dabakis requested some 16,000 pages of documents. They are available, awaiting his payment for staff time. He has access to the documents, but he wants access to them to be a free government service.
Dabakis apparently thinks freedom of information should be free for commercial or political purposes. His definition of "free" is that the government should provide it on that basis. He ignores that the "free" government service of a week of staff work is paid for by taxpayers.
This approach has nearly bankrupted our governments, with the notable exception of conservatively managed states like Utah. There's no free lunch, and freedom isn't free.
West Valley City