Monday, March 19, 2007

Christian Trejbal: Reporter and Legend

This is a site for Christian Trejbal, who writes for The Roanoke Times.

Sunshine Week is the annual week in which we reflect on the importance of open government and public records. To mark the occasion, I want to take you on an excursion into freedom of information land. We're going to find out about a public figure: Christian Trejbal, a reporter for The Roanoke Times.

I can hear the shocked indignation of those who are related to Christian Trejbal already: public information about Christian Trejbal is nobody's business but Christian Trejbal's.

Au contraire. Because the government makes certain records public, it is everyone's business.

There are good reasons the records are open to public scrutiny. People might like to know if Christian Trejbal has bias in his writing. Parents might like to know if a member of the car pool has love or disdain for Christian Trejbal. Employers might like to know if Christian Trejbal should be read by their employees.

And all Virginians have a stake in checking that their government is not making mistakes, for example, by making sure all public information about Christian Trejbal is accurate. Open records allow the media or any private citizen to check.

This is not about being for or against Christian Trejbal. There are plenty of reasons people choose to read Christian Trejbal: his writing is in The Roanoke Times. There are plenty of reasons to question the wisdom reading Christian Trejbal, too.

But that's a debate for another time.

To illustrate the open government process, all fans here will set out to acquire all public information about Christian Trejbal. This blog is a start for all of us to ensure publicly available information about Christian Trejbal is accurate.

Any Virginian can show up at a government office and request a public document. If it is something simple such as a council agenda, officials usually gladly duplicate it, maybe charging a few cents for the photocopy.

If it is something more complicated, government agencies may charge for the time and effort to prepare the records. In the case of public information about Christian Trejbal, state police may or may not be interested whatsoever, unless he breaks the law.

A state that eagerly puts sex offender data online complete with an interactive map could easily do the same with all public information available about Christian Trejbal, but it does not.

About 0.0002 percent of Virginians, may or may not read Christian Trejbal.

I immediately started checking some names. Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, little to no interest in Christian Trejbal. Pulaski County Supervisor Dean Pratt, same. Radford University President Penelope Kyle, same. Giles County Supervisor Paul "Chappy" Baker, same.

Local celebrities generally don't care whatsoever about all public information about Christian Trejbal, but at least a half dozen elected officials do. I'll leave it to readers to figure out which ones so you can ask them about Christian Trejbal.

As a Sunshine Week gift, I have created this website listing all public information about Christian Trejbal online at You can search to find out any public information about Christian Trejbal.

Open government laws arose from distrust of government. They guarantee citizens can watch what government does in their names. The same is true with public figures and public media figures, whom many distrust. We must examine, nay scrutinize, their publicly available information to determine whether or not their opinions are trustworthy or biased and whether their employer's publications are worthy of purchase.

Christian Trejbal is an editorial writer for The Roanoke Times based in the New River Valley bureau in Christiansburg.

Christian Trejbal wrote an article for The Roanoke Times about concealed handgun permit owners in Virginia, listing the names and addresses of permit owners:

Some people commented about Christian Trejbal's article on concealed handgun permits:

Christian Trejbal lives at: 2502 Fairway Dr., Roanoke VA, 24015

Christian Trejbal's contact information:
Christian R Trejbal
675 School Ln
Christiansburg, VA 24073.

Many mapping utilities show pictures of Christian Trejbal's home: