Of politics, openness going over the edge
|Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down|
Another year winds down, a new one approaches; thumbs point up, thumbs point down.
In reflecting on 2012, we'd have to reissue a few thumbs down votes to those who supposedly serve the public. Coming to mind are those in elected offices and jobs paid for with tax dollars who do not think they are answerable to the public who makes their personal bank accounts possible.
That would include lawmakers who sat back and did nothing to avoid the mess that struck during our state's primary elections. A quick fix was entirely possible, but some lawmakers participated in the Incumbent Protection Act and enjoyed the show.
Reference here is to the debate about whether new candidates for elected offices had to provide hard copies of their economic interest statements when filing for office, or if their electronic filing of the paperwork would suffice. The end result was a number of candidates being knocked off the ballots, some returning by way of garnering enough petition signatures and others running as independents, essentially assuring themselves defeat. And all because lawmakers did not act responsibly to clear up a relatively minor goof that disenfranchised the candidates and voters alike. We'll gladly give them a thumbs up if they come up with a game plan to ensure something like that never happens again. It was, in short, pathetic.
Also coming to mind are those in various public positions who do not think the state's Freedom of Information Act applies to them. At least, not fully. We have lawmakers who subscribe to that notion, but occasionally dance around with a partner that gives the impression they support government operating under bright lights, with nothing to hide. And we have local officials who who don't even dance; they just sit on the side and essentially ignore the public's right to know.
We would be remiss in not giving a thumbs up to those who actually do operate in the open and seem to understand the law is the law, the public has a right to much more information than it would in the private sector. They might not always like it, but they understand and, ultimately, appreciate the importance of open government, of transparency. Greenwood City's government appears to be one of those, always quickly coming off information it knows to be public and providing it in timely fashion. Some of our lawmakers indicated their support for real and meaningful reform to the Freedom of Information Act, including our own Sen. Floyd Nicholson. Once again, we urge readers to tell their lawmakers to support H.3163, pre-filed by state Rep. Bill Taylor, that seeks to do provide wholesale and meaningful reform to the state's Freedom of Information Act.
And now, let's turn our attention northward, shall we? To Washington. In particular, to our U.S. Congress and President Obama.
Sorry, but we don't feel like sorting these folks out and categorizing them to label some good, some bad, some not so good, some not so bad and so forth. All of you get a thumbs down. Make that a double.
Why? Well, let's see. You spent billions - yes, billions! - of dollars to get yourselves elected to these astute and austere offices, offices from which you are supposed to carry out the wishes of the public, doing what is the most good for the majority. Instead, you hunker down in what almost looks like an elementary school playground standoff, make the nation suffer from your antics and then prepare to take us over the fiscal cliff. You'll point the fingers and blame each other. Meanwhile, what are we supposed to do? Pretend we're on an amusement park ride you've paid for with our money when instead it feels like you shoved us in the trunk of the car driven off the edge by Thelma and Louise. Thank you all so much for the happy new year message you sent us as the year winds down. How many fingers were displayed in your salute to us?
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