Let the Sunshine In!

Posted on March 19, 2010

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I bet you didn’t know that March 14-20 is National Sunshine Week. I didn’t before yesterday. National Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the issues of open government and freedom of information. It is led by the American Society of News Editors.

I couldn’t help thinking how fitting this was as I read Corey Jackson’s blog, Downtown Lynn.  We’ve come a long way, baby. Only recently in 2007 did the city council vote to televise their meetings on cable, finally catching up to almost every other town in Massachusetts. And when they did, they attached a long list of stipulations just to make sure they retained an inordinate amount of control on the broadcast. If it wasn’t for Lynn Happens, we would be unable to witness these sessions unedited.

This little step in the right direction took years to take against much resistance, with many concerned citizens making it possible. I remember asking a certain Lynn activist to sign a petition to get the council to do the right thing. He wrote to me in disdain. “You’re a little late in the game. People have been fighting for this for years.” He assured me it was inevitable.

The major drivers behind this last push for more open and accessible government were our current mayor then councilor Judy Flanagan-Kenneedy and Paul Crowley. One of the first things the new mayor did was to make feedback forms available on the city website. Now, I see that Corey is taking up the fight to get council minutes and the city budget posted. Judging from the number of comments he gets on his blog and who’s reading it, he may very well be a player in getting this to happen.

So let the sunshine in! It’s the best disinfectant.

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Posted in: local government