Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Sunshine Week

For those that hadn't heard, this is Sunshine Week. For those that are unfamiliar, here's the description from the website:
Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know.
There's a lot of useful information gathered by government at all levels which could, and likely would, help shape our direction forward on a number of issues. Unfortunately, much of this information is either not available or difficult to access and compile.

As an example, our state recently received high marks for making things available on-line. However, anyone who wants to compile how much an individual receiving a no-bid contract has donated to the powers that be must compile it themselves. Hardly encouraging for citizen participation.

There's a long way to go for us to get all the information out there that we the people are entitled to. As I mentioned earlier, Bloomberg News has had to sue the Fed to find out where all of our bailout money is going. Under enormous pressure, AIG, disclosed who received some of their bailout money today after people went crazy they were giving out an estimated $450 million in bonuses to the very people who ran the company into the ground. Without public pressure, they may never have yielded.

This week promises to showcase the unveiling of several new initiatives and pieces of legislation nationwide aimed at providing we the people with our information. Should be interesting to see what comes out of it, but a good government is a transparent government.

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