Let the Sun Shine
It seems ironic that at this month’s City Council meeting Monday, March 7th, the council considered approval of the proposed City ballot measure: Shall the City of Rugby publish the minutes of its meetings in the official city newspaper for the next four years?
It’s ironic because it happens to be “Sunshine Week”. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law on July 4, 1966, the Freedom of Information Act- a law that served to make government accessible and accountable to the citizens. It is almost 50 years later and we are still often in the “dark.”
Sunshine Week is a national celebration of access to public information. The newspaper is here to inform and enlighten the public about their right to government information and strengthen the community. It is completely harmful to keep secrets and we are here to make sure the public knows of their rights and to hold government offices and officials accountable.
In an election year, we hear lies after lies on tv and in ads. Often times you don’t know who or what to believe. Our government has proven itself again and again to be dysfunctional and corrupt. No level of officials should keep information from the public because it may make them look bad or protect them for a personal reason or personal profit. However, it happens regularly.
This freedom is not meant for journalists alone, this if for anyone looking for government documents and information. We all know it now takes longer and longer to receive documents from the government. Sometimes we are even told they can’t find them.
I truly hope that the city minutes will continue to be printed in the official city newspaper, which happens to be the Pierce County Tribune so we may help provide transparency to the community. Also for history purposes as all newspapers are recorded with the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
If we are ever to trust our government we need to let the Sun Shine!
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