Archive for the ‘Transparency’ Category

This Week is Sunshine Week

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

This week is government sunshine week. It celebrates making government more transparent and accountable. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” once said US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, referring to the practice of making information widely available to the public. Today many organizations champion the cause, with technology making it easier than ever to keep up to date on government affairs.

This year Watchdog Wire is asking you to do a citizens audit of the Hamilton County website. Can you access budgets on the County website, or find contact information for all public officials? Are meeting minutes available? Is there a database of all public spending? How user friendly or transparent is the website for everyday citizens? A full scoring rubric is available here.

As a Software Engineer, long time web developer and supporter of OpenDataCincy, I will bring 21st-century transparency to our antiquated County government. We will open up APIs, stream meetings online and generally make government work for the people again in a manner that is accessible in today’s world.

Shameful: Cincinnati Parades Closed to Democratic Candidates

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Irish-Catholic Democratic Commissioner Candidate Sean Patrick Feeney denied spots in St. Patrick’s Day, Opening Day Parades

I have fond memories of marching in the Cincinnati St. Patrick’s Day Parade with the Hibernians as a child. My father was a proud member of NKY’s AOH, Fenian Division. So imagine my surprise when I found out that the parade has in recent years turned invite-only, run by a far-right Cincinnati wing of AOH.

James Feeney, Sentinel

Parades exist at the behest of government and have traditionally been supported by political entries. A smart parade organizer knows there are more candidates than elected officials in an election year and sets aside discrimination in favor of higher returns. Yet I’m beginning to see a pattern this election year in Cincinnati.

It’s one thing to immediately deny entrance to the St. Pat’s Parade, but the Findlay Market/Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade helped us through their application process, took our entrance donation, and some weeks later decided to call us back and kick us out of the parade. Now our preparation and investment in Reds-themed parade supplies has been put to waste.

Meanwhile, I’m sure my general election opponent will enjoy his spots in Cincinnati parades this year.

Should the Reds™ allow the Findlay Market Merchant Association to discriminate against applicants?

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Where have all the statesmen gone?

Sunday, June 30th, 2013


I highly recommend Outliers as required reading for all politicians. All too often they forget where they came from, how they were set on their current path, and how far-reaching seemingly small laws can become. Elected officials have a duty and responsibility to uphold the Constitution and act in the best interest of the general welfare of our Country, but all too often in today’s money-soaked electoral system these oaths are merely lip service.

History is often lost in these days of the 24-hour news cycle, but at one time these officials acted as statesmen, proposing meaningful legislative solutions to the issues facing our Nation and engaging in the act of compromise until the issues were solved. To be a statesman is to have the courage to resist the argumentum ad populum fallacy and to resist the fringe element of your own Party. A statesman has a moral compass informed by the values of Fairness, Individual Opportunity, and Broad-based Prosperity. He need not quote biblical verse to hold the moral high ground.

The lesson of the statesman has been lost in state and national politics for an entire generation. It is time for millennials, The Next Great Generation, to sweep the ballot and bring civility back to our civic process. I encourage each and every one of you to vote for hardworking Young Democrats every time you have the chance to.

This Week is Sunshine Week

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

It may be serendipitous that this is also the first full warm week of the year, but this week is also government sunshine week. It celebrates making government more transparent and accountable. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” once said US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, referring to the practice of making information widely available to the public. Today many organizations champion the cause, with technology making it easier than ever to keep up to date on government affairs. Indiana’s state legislature in a last minute push last year approved strengthening the existing Indiana Public Access and Open Door laws.

S.B. 92 allows judges to levy a $100 penalty against public officials for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses of Indiana Public Access laws. It requires local government agencies to send e-mail notifications of their meetings or post the information to their website. Well organized local governments have been doing this for some time now. It’s about time we expect the same of all local governments.

The law also sets clear and strict policies on when members of government boards and councils can “attend” a meeting via Internet or phone, a practice that until now has been largely unregulated. Violations of Indiana Public Access law also occur if public officials vote by secret ballot in a public meeting, take action that is forbidden in a closed session, or refuse to release public records, with minor exemptions for educational institutions.

I look forward to bringing sunlight to the Ohio Statehouse!