07.01.2008 0

Sunshine, Sunshine in My Heart Today?

  • On: 07/16/2008 13:08:21
  • In: Page v. Lexington
  • The headline on the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ (ASNE) website says it all:

    Clinton Tells Sunshine Week

    She’s “Committed to Restoring Open Government”

    The ASNE lead confirms the Senator/Presidential candidate’s allegedly unequivocal commitment to making Big Government entirely open and accessible to those who pay the bills:

    Washington — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) says she is “committed to restoring open government” by not only mandating more open meetings and release of public documents, but also by nominating “an attorney general who has a proven commitment to open government,” according to her response to the Sunshine Week 2008: Sunshine Campaign survey of presidential candidates.

    Sunshine Week — a non-partisan, open government initiative led by the American Society of Newspaper Editors that runs March 16-22 — surveyed the presidential candidates on a variety of open government issues, including access to information, Freedom of Information Act reform, secrecy and classification. To date, Clinton is the only remaining major candidate to respond. Former democratic contenders Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) replied in full and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) responded in part.

    Clearly, Her Ladyship means business. Fortuitously, her commitment comes just as ASNE has proclaimed March 16-22 “Government Sunshine Week” – and just as South Carolina’s Randy Page takes his case to court to force Lexington School District One to allow taxpayers open and equal access to the government’s sophisticated communications system.

    Currently, as we reported in yesterday’s edition, the government has placed a gag order on all but those who agree to tout the government line.

    Taking the former First Lady at her word, Mr. Page has extended the courtesy of inviting her to get a jump on her hoped-for Administration’s commitment to openness by turning her words into actions now. Herewith, the letter Mr. Page has sent to Senator Clinton via postal mail, email, and hand delivery:

    Dear Senator Clinton:

    First, please allow me to commend you on your response to the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s “Sunshine Survey” by declaring your full commitment to “restoring open government.”

    In your response, you stated unequivocally, “I believe in an open, transparent government that is accountable to the people,” adding emphatically, “Excessive government secrecy harms democratic governance and can weaken our system of checks and balances by shielding officials from oversight and inviting misconduct or error.” And, of course, you are absolutely right.

    Now, I am pleased to tell you that you do not have to wait until next January to begin combating that “misconduct or error.” That is because this week, in a courtroom in Richmond’s 4th Circuit, the case of Page v Lexington County School District One could set a important new precedent in opening up government communications systems to the very taxpayers who are paying for those systems, while being forbidden to use them.

    I am providing you the affidavit my attorneys have filed in that case. And I am inviting you to lend your public support to this very worthy and important case.

    As you have so eloquently stated, “To me openness and accountability are not platitudes – they are essential elements of our democracy.”

    Now, during “Sunshine in Government Week” – when you have come out so strongly for all that it portends – you have a golden opportunity to help make that dream a reality.

    Sincerely,

    Randy Page

    Now, it is up to Mrs. Clinton to prove whether her “commitment to restoring open government” extends as far as Thursday.

    ALG Forecast:
    Low-hanging clouds over “Sunshine Week.”

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