Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Didn't Get the April Fools' Joke

Actually, I didn't read the Picayune's April Fools' Day editorial all the way through when it was published,but this is a little more subtlety than people usually expect in April Fools' humor:
In a city with gargantuan needs in other infrastructure and crucial services, such as public safety, Mayor Nagin and other city officials need to be transparent about every step of the effort and be prepared to justify the selection of specific projects.

Yeah, like that's gonna happen. The mayor and his recovery czar about as likely to start justifying their decisions as the Picayune is to call them to account for their stonewalling.

To be sure, a Picayune story will occasionally contain a passage like:
Though The Times-Picayune has filed three public-records requests with City Hall for information about technology contracts, it took more than a month for city officials to produce a response.

The first request was filed more than a month ago, and the law requires a response within three days. On Friday, the Nagin administration said the records are being compiled and "as soon as (they) are available, we will contact you immediately."

But that was buried deep in Section B. If the Picayune were serious about transparency, it would make the stonewalling the subject of an editorial. Better yet, it would run a front page article on the number of demands for written FOIA requests that its reporters have received since Nagin and Rob Couhig both promised transparency at the start of the 100 days. They promised transparency at the end of the 100 days, but was more than a little absurd. A newly-elected mayor might need to sort the previous administration's contracting process to make things transparent, but an incumbent mayor should be able to make things transparent with the stroke of a pen. At any rate, the paper needs to stop burying its calls for transparency and give us a report on how FOIA requests its filed with the Nagin administration and how many have been honored.

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