Sunday sampler, transparency edition

Today begins a few weeks of slim pickings as newspapers — reporting staff already depleted gears up for two weeks of vacations and little news. It sort of shows on today’s front pages, too.

Asheville: I’m used to politicians talking about the importance of transparency in government and then ignoring it whenever they truly need to be transparent. That’s why this story about the DA in Buncombe County caught my attention. The man is walking the walk. And good for him and good government. “Todd Williams also made an unprecedented move during his press conference, in which he walked through the state’s investigation with great detail, giving the media a summary of the facts of the investigation, reading testimonies from key witnesses and displaying a series of a dozen images that support his decision. SBI reports, or even basic facts provided in them, have rarely been released to the public, as sole discretion lies with the district attorneys to make those records public.”

Winston-Salem: Here, for example, is the new head of the State Department of Public Instruction claiming that a law passed by the General Assembly last week “will help usher in an era of greater transparency at DPI by eliminating the more confusing aspects of the relationship between the N.C. superintendent and the N.C. Board of Education.” The best thing you can say about that is, well, we’ll see. What it most assuredly would do — the governor hasn’t signed it yet — is give the new state superintendent more power. He doesn’t mention that.

Raleigh: Then, of course, you have the state legislature, a place where transparency isn’t in the lexicon. The News & Observer looks back on the week in which the General Assembly decided to change the rules when it didn’t like the outcome of the election. The paper examines the strength of a court case challenging the legislators’ actions. “But Cooper could have a hard time making the case that the legislature has improperly intruded on his turf, constitutional experts said. Former state Supreme Court Justice Burley Mitchell said Cooper would have trouble claiming that reducing his appointments is unconstitutional, because those were written into state law, not the constitution.”

 

 

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