Transparency?

In the latest issue of the Jefferson Journal, Liam Moriarty discusses public officials refusing to provide public information to requesters.

He details his difficulty with attempted interviews at the federal level. Then he talks about the same problem with the State of Oregon. It seems our public employees and elected officials are deciding that if the public learns what they are doing we will cause problems.

Right here in Ashland, this same process is occurring. The Citizens Budget Committee is meeting to determine the city budget for the next two years.

In the past the proposed budget was presented with significant detail. This allowed the committee to completely understand where the funds were coming from and how they were being spent. This year staff and the council have decided that the committee does not need to know those details and presented a budget that gives the major amounts without many of the details.

The citizen members of the committee are told that individual requests for further information will not be answered. Wait, these are citizens of Ashland. Are not citizens entitled to know exactly how our money is being spent? As the Tidings pointed out in its editorial, this is all public information and under the law we have a right to access it. Transparency, what is that?

By the way, your cost of living in Ashland could go up more than $20 each month if all the taxes, fees and budget additions currently being discussed are approved.

William Heimann

Ashland