Posts tagged: transparency
It’s too bad that the time most ripe for optimism and enthusiasm regarding democracy and citizenship – elections – is so persistently darkened by cynicism. It’s too bad, but not surprising or unfounded. One of the chief failures of our public life is the failure of frankness, and it’s widespread, and it causes an entirely reasonable loss of faith in the whole enterprise. That’s why the 19 pages written by Judge Michael Wetherell and filed in a Boise courtroom this week are such an invigorating tonic. It’s not because he ordered a stubbornly resistant political committee to reveal its donors, as required by Idaho law. In doing that, Wetherell was interpreting the law. But in the way he did it – in his clear, cogent defense of the rights of citizens – Wetherell produced an eloquent reminder that there is reason to be more than merely cynical about elections/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.
Question: How about joining me in giving 3 cheers for Judge Wetherell?
Wayne Hoffman thumbs his nose at this thought, despite touting transparency and the public’s right to know in a post-legislative report. He says some of his donors prefer anonymity, and under our tax code they have that right. Touting transparency for government, but refusing to be transparent as you work to influence government is simple hypocrisy. Hoffman’s activities belie any claim to his being a journalist. He is a lobbyist and an advocate of right-wing, libertarian causes funded by someone with deep pockets and without the courage of their convictions. Hoffman and his foundation were up to their eyeballs this legislative session, pushing for the discredited and bizarre notions of a supposed right of a state to nullify federal law a state does not agree with. (The Civil War settled that one)/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicle. More here.
Question: Should the same tranparency rules apply to a private organization like Wayne Hoffman's Idaho Freedom Foundation that apply to government entities?
Item: District gets 'F' on public access: Cd'A schools criticized by statewide group for not putting contract online/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: A watchdog group has given the Coeur d'Alene School District a failing grade when it comes to taxpayers' ability to easily access and review the district's contract with the local teachers union. Coeur d'Alene was one of 34 Idaho local public education agencies to flunk a master agreement transparency test, according to a report released Tuesday by the Idaho Freedom Foundation. … The Lakeland School District received an “A” rating. That district's master agreement was posted online, and the Post Falls District received a “B” because it provided an electronic copy following a telephone request.
Question: Are you concerned that the Coeur d'Alene School District failed the transparency test of the Idaho Freedom Foundation?
Vice President Joe Biden discusses a new federal program to make it easier for Americans to make their homes more energy efficient, Tuesday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex. At this moment, Biden is meeting with Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — “the guy,” explains the Los Angeles Times, who is “monitoring the gazillion-dollar stimulus and the overdue economic recovery, and ensuring that the taxpayers financing same know all about it. However, no one outside the room will know what goes on in that Biden-Devaney meeting. That’s because the government meeting on government transparency has been closed. Story here. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Question: I’ve wondered why we make so much fun of George W. Bush & Dan Quayle as less than adequate for high office, when nothing much is said about Biden, who seems to have had his share of bumbling & mis-speaking?
None of the people running these efforts, including former reporter Wayne Hoffman in Idaho, will talk about the deep pockets. Ironically, while Hoffman regularly blasts government for a lack of transparency and frequently posts the results of his requests for public records - salary information for the Wilder School District, for example - he justifies his own lack of candor about who backs his efforts by invoking the non-profit status of his organization. This is a curious stance for a group that helped set a good part of the agenda for the most recent session of the state legislature/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post. More info.
Question: Is it fair for a private organization, like the Idaho Freedom Foundation, to demand transparency of government when it is unwilling to reveal who underwrites its organization?