Saturday, August 15, 2009

Open Meetings

On August 12th, the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce invited US Reps Judy Biggert and Mark Kirk to attend a town hall meeting about health care reform. The Chamber sent out a press release inviting local TV to attend the public forum. But when the debate began, the cameramen were asked to leave.

My understanding is that the Chamber paid for the hotel ball room so they certainly had the right to include or exclude anyone they wish. Of course they also have the right to stand atop the Moser Tower in downtown Naperville and declare that the Chamber renounces the First Amendment to the Constitution, but I wouldn't recommend they exercise that right. Oh wait. That's pretty much what they did, isn't it?

What is the point of inviting the broadcast media to your meeting only to bar their cameras from the main event? What was the Chamber thinking? Mostly they weren't thinking I suspect. They were just acting like scared children afraid of the dark. They saw the cameras as the boogey men who might draw out more vocal opposition in their prim and proper meeting.

Grow up.

According to the CBS2 reports, there was vocal opposition at the meeting anyway. The public just weren't able to see or hear it.

And what of the politicians who accepted this arrangement? Shame on them. When the cameras were kicked out, they should have followed them out the door in protest.

There is a cancer growing on the body politic in Illinois: it's the notion that there ever was or ever should be such a thing as a private meeting with a public official. Balderdash! That's a dangerous notion advanced by evil doers. To quote Mark Levin. "There! I said it!"

When a public official is discussing a public issue, no matter what the venue and no matter who is present, that is a public meeting. Unfortunately, the Illinois Open Meetings Act is a toothless piece of legislation with so many exemptions that only a few government meetings in Illinois are truly open.

The lack of government transparency is a threat to our republic. It's a threat precisely because we are a republic. If we were a pure democracy and every citizen voted directly on every measure, there would be little need for open meetings. However, in a republic we elect representatives to vote on the individual measures. A congressman, for example, is casting a vote for 693,000 citizens in his/her district. Such a concentration of power requires the highest degree of transparency and integrity.

If I had my way, every member of congress would wear a recording device whenever conducting public business and the transcripts would be posted daily to their web site. Any violations of my open meetings act would be grounds for impeachment. I assure you that government corruption would immediately be reduced by 95%.

Shame on the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. Shame on Judy Biggert. Shame on Mark Kirk. And shame on us for putting up with their secretive ways.


  1. Excellent post! Shame on these manipulative userptive statists!

    Illinois Patriot
    (From Illinois Review)

  2. Wow. Userptive statists. Now that's a phrase I wish I had coined!

  3. "Userptive Statists
    Mark Levin...Liberty And Tyranny: A conservitive manifesto

    Ah ain't dat shmart!