Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Yours truly remembers that when Democrat Bill Clinton was president, former Stark County Democratic chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. made a trip to Washington at the invitation of Clinton (can't remember the exact reason for the invite; perhaps, the second inauguration?)

Maier came back to Stark County absolutely starstruck on the 42nd president who served from 1993 through 2001.

The SCPR is hoping that Maier is consistent on  being enamored of Democratic presidents and is also
starstruck with President Barack Obama.

Why's that?

Because Obama just came out with a presidential directive on transparency and open government.


Well, the SCPR has been trying to nudge the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) into using its fancy new copy/scanning machine (on which the BOE took delivery in January) to enhance the Stark County public's access to public information online.

No success, so far.

In an April 12, 2010 e-mail to Director Jeannette Mullane (BOE), yours truly asked for a copy of the "draft" videotaping of board meetings standards and also for an update on the status of The Report's request that the BOE begin scanning in candidate petitions filed and local candidate finance reports filed.

Originally, The Report made the request last fall.  However, the BOE members have refused to put the request on their agenda for consideration formally made back in February.

Mullane, in response to the SCPR e-mail, did provide the requested draft, but was SILENT on the asked for status report on the scanning.

The SCPR just loves it when public officials answer what they want and just ignore what they do not wish to deal with.  Kind of a strange position for a "public" official, no? 

And these folks wonder why voters think twice, three or four times about voting for county tax issues?  Hmm?

Back to Obama and Maier.

As the SCPR sees the situation at the Stark BOE, Democrat Maier is the de facto chairman.   Republican William Cline is the de jure chairman

Not only is Maier, in the opinion of the SCPR,  the de facto chairman, The Report believes that - internally at the BOE all eyes are on him - as to how the BOE should run its operations.  His only resistance from Republican members Cline and Braden (former Stark County Republican Party chairman) seem to be on partisan Republican/Democratic issues.

To repeat so as to underscore, The Report's take is that Maier runs the show at the BOE.

This is where Obama comes in.

On his Transparency and Open Government website, President Obama has this to say on a topic that The Report thinks bears on yours truly's tiff with Maier and the Stark BOE, to wit:
Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public. (text font changed and bolding done for emphasis)
Now if consummate Stark County Democrat Maier is starstruck (let's hope he is) with Democrat Obama, he could honor Obama's wisdom and wishes with regard to easy public access to government by prevailing on his fellows who make up the  BOE to issue its own directive to Director Mullane, to wit:

Implement the request! 

But will the BOE?

Probably in time. And this is a terrific opportunity in terms of timing for Maier to take the lead.

Surely, Democrat to Democrat standing up for more democratic access for the information in the hands of local government is a way for Maier to honor his Democratic president.

No comments: