I was at the port meeting when Rick Abraham defended himself against “unfounded attacks” by port officials’ in reference to access to public records. My recollection of the discussion differs from the reporting in the editorial written in the March 13 Whidbey News-Times.
The opinion section and front page article of the News-Times fails to highlight the circumstances surrounding the incident. In fact, in my opinion, the reporting gives the false impression of Mr. Abraham’s access to the port “after hours through a side door.” This implies an underhanded and clandestine entry. As stated at the meeting, he had the port director’s permission to enter the office and the harbor master and adjacent shop owner were instructed to allow Mr. Abraham access. Yet commissioners Weber and Bronson have publicly denounced his public records access as “illegal” and unethical.
Mr. Abraham’s access privileges were never officially rescinded until a motion to discontinue the port-appointed committee was made after the fact and at the Feb. 20 meeting. The commissioners themselves identified the need to review and clarify their internal policy regarding public records access.
The entire episode speaks to inappropriate and damaging mismanagement of the situation. This could easily have been handled in a respectable way by exploring the facts with the parties involved before condemning the action in a public forum. Instead, this has now become a public spectacle, an unnecessary and unfounded attack on the reputation and integrity of a concerned citizen.
Mr. Abraham deserves, at the very least, an honest and fair representation by your newspaper, which was not reflected in the March 16 editorial and news article. Responsibility for this incident belongs in the lap of the commissioners and port director. I would hope you have the decency to report the facts in your opinions and stories.