June 2, 2010

County Legislature prefers only fake transparency

Or, to put it another way, the County Legislature voted 8-7 to oppose a law that would have required citizens to have a grand 24 hours of access to information before their government took action on it. I mean, you know, it's obviously fun to speed-read documents during a public hearing and develop reasoned responsed to them before elected officials vote.

Why would legislators vote to oppose such legislation? Because it's "an unfunded mandate". Never mind that it's a mandate to actually communicate with their residents, that the costs of such things are going to be rounding errors in most budget processes. It's time to stand up to Albany by making it harder for local residents to participate in local decision-making.

I protested loudly when our ever-more-random Governor vetoed the legislation in question, and I can't help but marvel that our county legislature - supposedly progressive folks who encourage residents' participation in our government - would repeat such a completely obnoxious statement about the participation of citizens in government decision.

At a time when fewer and fewer people - left, right, and even center - trust their government, this is completely the wrong signal to send. We need to start making this information public by default, shared with the public when it goes to elected officials, rather than public by request, placing critical information on only a few desks.

The article doesn't say how our local Dryden legislators voted, and it doesn't seem to be on the county web site yet that I can find. I really hope they had more sense than the majority of their peers.

Update: I've written a bit more about this here and talked about the political optics of transparency here.

Further update: Well, some days even the people I support vote against my position in droves. County Legislator Mike Lane moved and voted for this, and County Legislator Martha Robertson voted for it. County Legislator Brian Robison, whose district includes the northeastern corner of Dryden by McLean, voted against it.

Posted by simon at June 2, 2010 7:31 AM in ,
Note on photos