Tag Archives: transparency

Open the White House visitor logs

Transparency has been tossed into the crapper at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

That’s where the president of the United States hangs out for part of the week; his posh Florida resort appears to be where Donald J. Trump’s heart belongs.

But the White House is the people’s house. The president is just staying there. We own the place. You and I do. It’s ours, man.

Which is why the White House visitor logs need to be opened up to public review, as it was done during the years the Barack Obama family was living there. The White House announced that those logs will be kept secret. The White House brass contends there’s some issue with national security.

Closed logs anger watchdogs

As The Hill reported: “‘It’s disappointing that the man who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ just took a massive step away from transparency by refusing the release the White House visitor logs that the American people have grown accustomed to accessing over the last six years,’ Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement.

“Bookbinder said the records ‘provide indispensable information about who is seeking to influence the president.'”

Drain the swamp, eh?

The swamp isn’t drained in the least. It remains as infested with special interests and well-heeled fat cats as always. The public has a right to know who is calling on the president, or on his senior staff. The public pays the bill for that big ol’ house and as its landlords, the public has every right to know who’s darkening its doors.

‘Transparency’ becomes the new city mantra


Elisha Demerson got elected to the Amarillo City Council in May while calling for a more “transparent” city government.

That’s fine. I’m all for it. The more proverbial “sunlight,” the better.

Then this past week he trotted out a significant set of proposals he said will “reform” the Amarillo Police Department. On paper and at first blush, the proposals look pretty good — starting with a re-emphasis on “community policing,” in which officers work more closely with neighborhoods and their residents.

Back to the transparency thing …

I’m wondering how transparent Demerson was in formulating this set of ideas. Did he conduct public hearings? Did he consult with what’s left of the city’s legal counsel office? Did he talk privately with, say, the now-lame-duck city manager? Did he meet with his colleagues on the City Council?

Here’s my idea for a more transparent method for formulating such a proposal:

Meet in public with the entire City Council. Toss the ideas out there. Debate them with your colleagues. Seek advice — in public — from city legal authorities. Talk among yourselves. Argue these ideas point by point. Seek a consensus. Once you get there, ask all your colleagues to coalesce around a single idea.

Then you make your pitch to the public — which, by then, will have been up to speed already on the process that got us to this point.

Mayor Paul Harpole is critical of what Demerson has proposed. I don’t know yet if Harpole dislikes the ideas themselves, or the way in which his council colleague came up with them.

Either way, the transparency mantra hasn’t been served as well as it could have been before Councilman Demerson dropped this police reform idea on our collective laps.




Oops, Perry has own email trail

Doggone it anyhow, former Gov. Rick Perry.

Why did you have to be so quick on the trigger in criticizing Hillary Rodham Clinton over this brewing email controversy, in which it is alleged that Clinton used a private email account to conduct federal government business.

It turns out the former Texas governor has done the same thing while working for our state.


Perry piled on Clinton quickly, accusing her of lacking “transparency” in the way she conducted the public’s business while serving as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Now, though, two legislators — both Democrats — say they believe Perry is just as non-transparent as Secretary Clinton. The questions come from state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio and former state Rep. Naomi Gonzalez of El Paso.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “Martinez Fischer and Gonzalez both sat on the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations as it looked into turmoil on the University of Texas System Board of Regents. At a meeting of the panel in 2013, Martinez Fischer brought up the emails in question, some of which were then obtained by The Texas Tribune. The emails, in which Perry is identified as only “RP,” show him corresponding with a number of UT regents as well as Jeff Sandefer, a prominent Republican donor and informal adviser to Perry.”

The Tribune also reported that Perry’s office has responded to the allegations: “’The Governor’s Office complied with state law regarding email correspondence,’ Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said. ‘While serving as governor of Texas, Gov. Perry’s emails were requested and released through public information requests.'”

Isn’t that what Clinton’s team has said, that she complied with the “spirit and letter” of federal law?

Is this yet another hurdle the ex-Republican governor will have to clear — along with that felony indictment alleging abuse of power — if he intends to seek the presidency once more?