I am proud of this editorial from the January 21, 2010 News Graphic. Time and again, both as an alderman and subsequently as a committee member, I have opposed closed meetings. Government should be open to the public.
Everyone (except those in government) agrees that government should not make decisions behind closed doors. Yet, government officials on all levels keeping shutting the public out.
There are a few things that local government is allowed to do outside of the public eye. Most have to do with ensuring that government is not put at a disadvantage when negotiating with others. That makes sense, to a point. But it should be the exception, not the rule.
Yet, government officials use these very narrow legal exceptions to justify all kinds of closed meetings. How do they get away with it? Easy. The meetings are closed. The public never knows.
Most elected officials do not know better. They assume, when staff tells them that something properly should be in closed session, that it should.
I firmly believe that most elected officials are good people and want to do good things. However, if we want to make government better and fairer, we need to elect people who will effectively challenge the status quo. Not many candidates will do that.
As your alderman, I will challenge inappropriate closed meetings. I will insist on transparency. I will err on the side of open meetings. I have done it before. If reelected, I will do it again. I ask for your vote on April 5.