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  • jonippolito 4:09 am on November 21, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , organizers   

    Thanks to all… 

    …who made this “hyperblog” for the 2010 Cohen Forum on transparency a success! Special thanks to Sunny Hughes for live-blogging the conference and feeding questions to the panelists, to Desiree Butterfield-Nagy for organizing the forum, and to Joline Blais for suggesting this interactive accompaniment to the live event.

    Registration is now closed, but all the posts are archived here for future reference. Please contact Still Water for more information.

     
  • xoxoamypierce 9:19 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    Those interested in this might like this doc plying tonight in bangor. The makers also have discussed the ethics involved with transparency during their filmmaking

    http://www.rivercitycinema.com/Marwencol.html

     
    • jonippolito 9:23 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting comparison! It seems odd to me that this movie is touted as uniting people who never talk about the war. Virginia Woolf famously refused to write about war so as not to validate it with more attention than it already received. But I wonder if valuing transparency wouldn’t suggest it would be better if the movie catalyzed more discussion about our wars in the Middle East…

      • jonippolito 9:33 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Aron replied to this question by claiming that someone looking for that could always find another documentary that took a strong political stance on the war. He described how the rule of troop greeters is to leave politics at the door, so he tried to follow the same principle in the movie.

  • jonippolito 8:45 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , economics, film, life, , television,   

    Trust and Truth in Documentary Filmmaking 

    Aron Gaudet, Director, and Gita Pullapilly, Producer, of The Way We Get By are describing their experience with broadcast news’ lack of transparency and their motivation for creating a documentary film.

     
    • jonippolito 8:48 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Aron is describing a news reporter doing a story on a certain company leaving a small town. A survey of people on the street found a majority of people (like 48 out of 50) who were happy a certain company was leaving, and only two who thought it was “devastating.” Because the majority opinion wasn’t “newsworthy,” the station only aired a report featuring the views of the minority that the company’s loss was devastating.

    • jonippolito 8:53 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Gita is describing the surprising openness of the troop greeters she and Aron portrayed in this documentary film.

      • Katherine 9:00 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I wonder how they felt when they saw it the first time?

    • jonippolito 9:02 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Aron is describing how the film created over the course of three years a sense of relationship between the filmmakers and their subjects, and how the filmmakers created reciprocal, long-term relationships, spending time with and without cameras. Aron and Gita are contrasting this approach with the typical reporter who drops in on a person during the worst time of her life–say, when her house just burned down–asks to reveal her most intimate personal feelings, and then never sees her again.

      It’s a bit of a surprise to me that the greeters didn’t see the film until it was finished, and I’m curious like Katherine how they felt about it in its finished form. In other respects, however, I do see their story as another version of Joline Blais’ claim that transparency is already “built-in” to local relationships and communities.

      • Katherine 9:07 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        It must be a surreal experience to watch an interpretation of you own life….

  • Katherine 8:12 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    I wonder what that sort of ethic or logic might look like? Would we have to get together and vote on an ethic and a logic? :)

     
    • sunny_hughes 8:21 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      We, as a nation, engage collectively in other activities without a vote on what our national direction should be (ex: War). We trust our leaders to take us into these situations and use their best judgment. We give them feedback when it is election time. Perhaps the logic behind “reasoned transparency” should be approached the same way. Of course, I’ll acknowledge the paradox in this model… we might not be able to hold our government accountable if they engaged in secret activities (locked box vs. Fish Bowl). My statement is very “off the cuff” but in my own studies of national security documents I know that there is very much an organizational culture in deciding what should be shared with the public.

      • jonippolito 9:13 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        One of the typical arguments made for trusting leaders to make decisions in (say) wartime is that there isn’t always time to decide according to a transparent, democratic process. This perceived necessity for executive decision-making “in a matter of minutes” was only reinforced by the advent of intercontinental technologies such as jets and ICBMs. According to this logic, the president and military leaders need to be able to act independently and swiftly in response to a national threat.

        Elaine Scarry writes a persuasive rebuttal to this argument in her essay “Democracy in Emergency,” which looks at the way the Pentagon was unable to defend itself in the battle of 9/11, but the civilian passengers on United 93 chose to vote before acting to bring down the plane–the only battle of the day that was actually won by American forces.

        http://bostonreview.net/BR27.5/scarry.html

    • Katherine 8:33 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      yes, I think there is an organizational culture……..

      There are other organizational models (like this speaker is discussing) but I wonder if there is a degree to how well models work depending on organizational size? For example, the town meeting works well in ….a town. Probably not as effective at a level that incorporates many more people. I do think there is LOTS of room for improvement at all levels.

  • sunny_hughes 8:04 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: fish bowl, reasoned transparency   

    Fish Bowl vs. Reasoned Transparency 

    Do you think our government should be run like a “fish bowl” with complete transparency or do you think that there should be a ethic or logic to reasoning what information should be disclosed. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

     
  • xoxoamypierce 8:00 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    If policy making is like sausage making and transparency in gov is likened to a condom-what does it say for the future of our government?

     
  • Katherine 7:54 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    Just a quick observation about gender…..I am interested that the informed citizen is a white man….very Norman Rockwell looking and the sausage makers are factory women

     
  • Katherine 7:46 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    I am thinking about transparency over time…these are unconnected thoughts in my head right now:
    1. can we read transparency backwards into history?
    2. if accountability and transparency are separate or at lease not synonyms is it possible to be a historian of transpsrency?
    3. can you have a transparent government in an era pre-internet?
    4. thinking back to the keynote…..fish bowl transparency and reasoned transparency…in a post-internet age is reasoned transparency possible.

     
    • sunny_hughes 8:00 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      @ pre-Internet transparency

      I think that pre-Internet transparency was possible and more importantly was realized. The federal Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1966 and made significant differences in government transparency. That said, it was so much more difficult to go to a FOIA reading room at a government agency. Often, FOIA requests could take months–or even years–to complete. When the Electronic Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1996, it acknowledged how the Internet is like a steroid that enables bigger and faster dumps of government information. I guess my question is how open does government need to be to be considered transparent?

  • Katherine 7:24 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    What was Lincoln’s middle name?

     
  • xoxoamypierce 7:23 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    Wouldn’t it be great if the admin access was transparent :)

     
    • sunny_hughes 8:01 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      To be transparent… I’m an admin. :)

  • Katherine 7:22 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    Yes, we like to have lots of info but I think sometimes we don’t go to the trouble of learning how to interpret, critique and assess data.

     
    • sunny_hughes 8:11 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I agree. In academia, we often interpret data, but for the average citizen this can prove to be a cumbersome and unrealistic task. We–as a society–rely upon non-profits, academics, journalists and citizen advocates to interpret the information for us. When you think about it, this means that data–perhaps released through reasoned transparency–or maybe through the “fish bowl”–is passed through another level of reasoning before it reaches the people. This further complicates the entire point of open government: To provide the public a checking device for monitoring and evaluating the government they elected.

  • sunny_hughes 7:17 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    Coming up at 3:30…. Trust and Truth in Documentary Filmmaking: The Transparent Qualities of The Way We Get 

    Trust and Truth in Documentary Filmmaking: The Transparent Qualities of The Way We Get
    Moderator: Ben Fowlie, founder of the Camden International Film Festival, moderator
    Aron Gaudet, Director, Gita Pullapilly, Producer, and cast members of The Way We Get By

    Please post your questions by replying to this thread.

     
  • Katherine 7:16 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    This is an interesting point…transparent is a context specific word. The only thing we can all agree on I think is that it is not quantifiable….but there can always be more.

     
  • sunny_hughes 7:13 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: buzzword, ,   

    Transparency Trends: Getting Beyond the Buzzword (Panel) 

    Moderator: Irwin Gratz, MPBN

    Carolyn Ball, Ph.D., Public Administration, University of Maine
    Amy Fried, Ph.D., Political Science, University of Maine
    Joline Blais, Ph.D., New Media, University of Maine
    Jon Ippolito, M.F.A., New Media, University of Maine

    Please post questions for this panel by replying to this thread.

     
    • sunny_hughes 7:24 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Carolyn showed a video that related to buzzwords in transparency. You can watch it again on YouTube.

  • sunny_hughes 5:21 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: FOIA, information, jim campbell, luncheon, presentation   

    Luncheon Presentation: The Democratization of Information 

    Our speaker will be Jim Campbell, Board Member of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition and
    Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, Maine Library Association. Campbell is also host of “Notes from the Electronic Cottage,” a program that deals with information technology and its effects on our everyday lives. If you have questions, please reply to this post and we will share them with Jim.

     
    • jonippolito 6:31 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Jim’s claim that the Maine state Web site exposes social security numbers is scary. Again, it seems like a key issue regarding transparency is whether the information being disclosed is by the powerful about the powerless or vice versa.

    • sunny_hughes 6:44 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      QUESTION FROM JOLINE BLAIS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF NEW MEDIA: Who is using information in Maine and what meanings are being constructed? Where do we need to go? Trends? Issues?

      Jim Campbell:

      -”One of the biggest issues emerging in the state is the balance point between access to information and privacy… It’s a very difficult problem.”

      -Identity theft is big issue.

      -The Maine Freedom of Access law has so many more exemptions than you can imagine. The federal FOIA law only has 9. The state law focuses on particulars.

      -Aggregation has complicated the balance between privacy and access.

    • sunny_hughes 6:48 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      If you would like to see how the Marion Brechner Citizen Access Project rated Maine’s FOIA laws, you can visit the site by clicking here.

    • Katherine 7:11 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Sometimes we forget just how much information is out there in the world….I am a historian and sometimes I examine old books from various libraries….every so often I come across an old book with names and social security numbers listed in the back. Not that long ago, one’s library ID number (social security number) was written on a physical card for records purposes. When the book was returned the card was placed back in the book.

  • sunny_hughes 3:57 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: amanda wood, kelly hokkanen, mark woodward, moderator, , tarren bragdon   

    Meeting the Mandate: National and Statewide Perspectives

    Our moderator will be Mark Woodward, former Editor-in-Chief, Bangor Daily News

    Panelists:

    Amanda Wood, Director of Governmental Affairs, the office of U.S. Senator Susan Collins

    Kelly Hokkanen, General Manager, InforME, a partner of Maine.gov

    Tarren Bragdon, Chief Executive Officer, The Maine Heritage Policy Center

    Reply to this post with questions for our panelists.

     
    • sunny_hughes 4:11 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Kelly Hokkanen is the General Manager of InforMe, the public-private partnership entity operating the award-winning website of the State of Maine, Maine.gov.

      • sunny_hughes 4:16 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hokkanen says that there are many steps in Transparency… Putting information online is a first step. Maine.gov has over 300,000 pages of content with over 15 million hits per month.

      • sunny_hughes 5:07 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: Maine.gov is self funded?

        Hokkanen says “yes” that they may for example receive an agent fee for issuing a hunting license. This fee can go towards funding the site. Statutory fees can also be used to cover expenses. There is an oversight board to make sure InforMe has sufficient funding and the funding model is adequate to fund the service over time. “We don’t receive any appropriations.”

        QUESTION: How do you measure your cost effectiveness?

        Hokkanen: There are a lot of ways we accomplish oversight: 1) Our board makes sure our fees and levels of service are appropriate. We contract with an Augusta company to provide the service; 2) We look at return on investment for agencies.

    • sunny_hughes 4:29 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Amanda Wood currently serves as Director of Governmental Affairs on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for Ranking Member, the Honorable Susan M. Collins (R-ME). She supervises federal agency oversight including programs at the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

    • sunny_hughes 4:39 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Tarren R. Bragdon served for five years as the Director of Health Reform Initiatives prior to becoming CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center in 2008. He is also a graduate of the University of Maine.

      • sunny_hughes 4:41 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Want to know how much a Maine public employee makes? You can find that at maineopengov.org

        • jonippolito 4:54 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          One of my students created a Web site meant to expose these data more publicly, particularly about professors’ salaries at UMaine. But most of the buzz after his launch centered on the hockey coach’s salary :)

      • jolineblais 5:20 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Question for Tarren: You just stated that you fundraise for your $1 million budget in order to help disclose money trails and payroll. Do you self-disclose this data? Do you provide information especially on who funds Maine Heritage Policy Center and who most uses the data? And what ‘meaning’ might be derived from this data? I’d be curious about this for InfoME as well.

    • sunny_hughes 4:52 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Mark Woodward asks panelists where most of the traffic is on their sites.

      • sunny_hughes 4:54 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hokkanen says on Maine.gov the state agency directory is consistently a top hit. The weather is also very popular, as is job information. As far as online services: renewing your vehicle registration, the sex offender search, hunting and fishing licenses, etc. Citizen services are popular, but business services are heavily used.

      • sunny_hughes 4:55 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Bragdon says that on maineopengov.org payroll information is most popular. Bragdon says that search capacity and database limitations prevent site users from knowing they can search for individual people within the records. The Maine Heritage Policy Center has created a blog to help users understand what kind of information is available.

    • sunny_hughes 5:01 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      COMMENT FROM GEORGE MARKOWSKY: He says he is trying to sensitize his students to the fact they have social responsibilities. “In the future transparency will involve many technical challenges and it’s important the new crop of students understand these responsibilities.”

    • sunny_hughes 5:18 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      QUESTION FROM VIRGINIA NEES HATLEN, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF THE UMO COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES : There are enormous amounts of information and data, but there is a relatively small use of the sites for complex policy information. Users seem to be going for bits of data or “foxes in the hen house”… How do we get to information that is useful for citizens and taxpayers when we discuss policy issues? On one hand we have all this information and on the other hand we have soundbites. Is there a way to move more towards “meaning from data” in transparency?

      Bragdon: We maintain a data set on how much government spends to companies. There is an independent group that also maintains this data. This allows users to compare data sets. It requires a sophisticated tool to allow users to perform searches. For us, it is a $100K project that has only been technologically possible in the last 18 months. It’s up to the users to create the information, we just want to give them a tool to extract that information beyond a tabular search.

  • sunny_hughes 2:40 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: coglianese, keynote, questions on keynote   

    Cary Coglianese, Ph.D., Deputy Dean and Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania Law School, is delivering the keynote address. Post your questions and we can pass them on to Dr. Coglianese during the Q&A session.

     
    • sunny_hughes 2:43 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      If you would like to check out the site Dr. Coglianese mentioned, transparency-gov.com, here’s the link: http://www.transparent-gov.com/Pages/default.aspx

    • sunny_hughes 2:48 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Want to read more about government transparency reports? Here are some links: http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=government+transparency+reports

    • sunny_hughes 2:53 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    • sunny_hughes 2:55 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      To see the original documents that Dr. Coglianese is discussing:

      Reno’s Memo on FOIA (Link)
      http://www.justice.gov/oip/foia_updates/Vol_XIV_3/page3.htm

      Ashcroft’s Memo on FOIA (PDF)
      http://www.doi.gov/foia/foia.pdf

      Holder’s Memo on FOIA (PDF)
      http://www.justice.gov/ag/foia-memo-march2009.pdf

      To see a complete list of documents related to FOIA (maintained by the National Security Archive at George Washing University): http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/foia/govfoia.html

    • MacKenzie Rawcliffe 3:11 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The suggestion for moving towards a reasoned transparency is an interesting one. I was wondering to what extent or in what way Mr. Coglianese believes this would be expressed. Would agencies start writing Supreme Court like decisions for every regulation? Or would it just be a memo outlining the highlights?

      • sunny_hughes 3:38 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        We currently have reasoned transparency (The Administrative Procedures Act of 1946) allowing for review under the arbitrary and capricious standard. The courts can reject the agency’s rule in order to provide an incentive for reasoned transparency. The preamble in Federal Agency documents is the place where the agency can explain its rationale for the rule.

    • MacKenzie Rawcliffe 3:12 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Where does wikileaks fit into this picture?

      • sunny_hughes 3:16 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        MacKenzie, WikiLeaks is a great contemporary example.
        http://wikileaks.org/

        • Anonymous 3:26 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          So the framing of transparency as the expanded release of information is too narrow. If we are going to talk about moving towards a more transparent and functional democracy, shouldn’t we be expanding the conversation to discuss better funding of public schools, the proposed cuts of the corporation for public broadcasting, and other issues that deal with real ways of fostering an informed and engaged public? How is the public to question or measure the reason behind ‘reasoned transparency’?

          • jonippolito 3:28 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

            Excellent question. This is related to the “conflicts of interest” thread below that Martin started.

      • sunny_hughes 3:46 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Coglianese on WikiLeaks: “I don’t know if the official trumpeting of transparency is needed when we have this robust culture of transparency as WikiLeaks has demonstrated.”

    • MacKenzie Rawcliffe 3:14 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Do you believe that there are places where transparency already has gone too far? And other than the damage to the President’s popularity has there been any documentation of damages to decision making or is it just a logical conclusion or sense?

    • sunny_hughes 3:14 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The Administration’s Press Censorship
      Published: September 17, 2010
      The New York Times

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/18/opinion/18sat3.html

    • sunny_hughes 3:23 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: University of Maine History Professor Howard Segal would like Dr. Coglianese to discuss the term “transparency” in general. He would also like to know specifically about the connections between transparency and American voter participation.

      • Martin 3:25 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        The term ‘transparency” has been used in Europe for a long time. I think the US is just starting to use the term, although the concept of transparency is clear in the Constitution. (no pun intended)

      • sunny_hughes 3:26 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Coglianese : The question is a good one. “It’s clear the message has gotten out from the top that that is one of the priorities.” Transparency is much like Democracy. Who wouldn’t be in favor of it? Transparency is also becoming part of foreign policy (ex. President Obama attended an open government meeting in India).

        Concerns about transparency can be traced all the way back to the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act….. The Federal Register Act passed 75 years ago…

    • sunny_hughes 3:29 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: To what degree are FOIA requests being used politically? To what degree has transparency been examined to see if FOIA requests can be a “political sledge hammer” that discourages the openness that the government is trying to promote?

      • sunny_hughes 3:32 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        There are some limits that should be placed on transparency… some preference for secrecy in government communications with regulatory industry that sounds like regulatory capture, but it is an example of how we might carve out a space where the “fishbowl” is a little bit obscured but we can counteract the risk of regulatory capture in those cases by demanding better reasoned transparency.

    • sunny_hughes 3:48 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: University of Maine Computer Science Professor George Markowsky makes a point about IBM data and efficacy of storing certain types of materials.

      • sunny_hughes 3:52 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Coglianese says he once asked about 20 Harvard graduate students to search for four agency rule-making documents mentioned in the media. This was meant to recreate the experience of citizens who might be interested in further exploring certain issues. The average number of correct regulatory documents found was TWO. Only 26% of the subjects in the study were able to identify at least THREE of the documents. Maybe today regulation.gov and its search capacity has simplified this, but all that being said…. Public policy must be something the public is interested in and the issue (ex. EPA rules) must also be of interest to the public. Information is out there and it is on the web, but it remains to be seen if as a practical matter we have less transparency rather than more if people can’t penetrate and find the information they desire. “Transparency is clearly the buzzword of the day.”

  • Martin 2:28 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    Comment and Question about Conflicts of Interest 

    My comment has to do with conflict of interest in government. In Coglianese’s paper, he explains that the administrations of Clinton, Bush, and now Obama are all guilty of facilitating secretive meetings and that each in turn have been reproached by the public for their secrecy.

    While on the surface the public outcry seems reasonable and valid, but Coglianese seem to ignore the role that conflicts of interests played in the Bush administration that led to the outcry against Dick Cheney’s secretive energy meetings. One could reasonably argue that the Clinton and Obama examples of secrecy are justified, for the reasons Coglianese explains in his paper, but I don’t believe that the same can be said in the Bush administration example can because of the obvious conflicts of interest inherent in that administration to be secretly setting energy policy.

    My question is, is there a policy that recuses elected officials and their appointees from participating in secretive meetings where there are conflicts of interest, and if not, would such a policy help to build the public trust in government and allow these officials to hold secret meetings without so much public outcry?

     
    • jonippolito 2:35 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      This seems like a legitimate question. Steve Mann has suggested that transparency should be required especially for those who wield the most power, and conflicts of interest make a clear case for this.

    • Martin 2:50 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Here is the paper “The Transparency President? The Obama Administration and Open Government”

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0491.2009.01451.x/abstract

      It appears to be available for free download.

      • jonippolito 3:08 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        A quote from that article that summarizes what Cary’s talking about now: “reasoned transparency can still discipline governmental decision making—serving the same goals as fishbowl transparency—if officials know they must provide sound reasons for their decisions. Unfortunately, the current fascination with the Internet appears to make it easy to lose sight of the value of reasoned transparency…Modern information technology may give us more noise, when what we really need is better music.”

        I’m concerned that not demanding more of politicians than that they supply “good reasons” for their actions will help conceal conflicts of interest behind closed doors.

    • sunny_hughes 3:44 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      (Coglianese response paraphrased when not quoted) This administration has engaged in a number of reform efforts (lobbying reform). This administration has put in place what amounts to a “ban” on having former lobbyist serve in the administration. There was then an exception made which raises many issues. It is often more than perceived conflict of interest when people have come from an industry in the past. “The Obama administration has tried to accommodate this. I think the challenge is endemic and it can’t be simply papered away with a rule change very easily without creating again some real potential for public backlash.”

    • Martin 3:46 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think he understood what I was asking, this answer didn’t address the specific points I was making. Oh well.

      • sunny_hughes 4:34 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Martin, perhaps Dr. Coglianese will participate in this forum to clarify his response. I’m curious, are you suggesting that public officials should say (a) I don’t want to participate in this meeting or (b) I don’t want to participate in this meeting unless it is open… it should be public. I don’t understand your question fully, but do you think that they should be allowed to publicize their refusal to participate in either case? I know in some instances they might be barred from disclosing the existence of secret meetings.

        • Martin 6:31 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          I think there should be a policy that addresses conflicts of interest directly. If that had been the case in 1999, Dick Cheney probably would not have been selected Bush’s running mate and even if he had, he most certainly would not have been allowed closed-door meetings to draft energy policy. If such a policy were in place, individual officials or appointees would have to disclose any conflicts of interests that they have, and recuse themselves from participation on committees or in meetings where secrecy is paramount and where their conflict of interest is relevant to the committee/meeting. If this were the case, the public could place more trust that the business taking place in these secret meetings are in fact being deliberated in the public interests, not in the interests of oil companies and their contractors.

          Dr. Coglianese discussed very broadly Obama’s ban on lobbyists (which I think is also very important) but did not specifically address the problems of conflicting interests and why those cause such public outcry.

  • sunny_hughes 2:24 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: participants, welcome   

    The Cohen Forum is under way. Joyce Rumery, Dean of University Libraries, is welcoming participants. If you’re participating electronically, please introduce yourself and let us know why this topic is of interest to you in your professional life.

     
  • jonippolito 7:57 pm on November 11, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , questions   

    Welcome to this site! 

    We’re looking forward to a stimulating discussion on open governance, and hoping this blog will help by gathering comments and questions from people in the audience. Just hit Reply next to any comment to add your own.

    You can also ask questions about how the blog works. Don’t worry–it’s really easy!

    In the meantime, thanks to everyone who made this conference and Web site possible.

     
    • Martin 1:52 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Will questions posted here be answered by the presenters?

      • sunny_hughes 2:08 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yes. We will pass questions on to the moderators.

    • Martin 3:58 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      How do I add my photo? I don’t think I have apprpriate permissions in the system, or at least I can’t find the option.

      • sunny_hughes 4:08 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        To upload a photo for the blog, use the gravatar site:
        http://en.gravatar.com/

        use your login and password for the wordpress blog to log in.

        then upload a photo.

        you will get a confirmation notice in your email which you need to confirm to activate it; in a few minutes the photo/gravatar will appear on the blog.

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