Secret Democracy

            Gannet presented (and contributed to) a Cincinnati Enquirer article dated 6-8-13 by Chrissie Thompson entitled “Secret meeting provision for local officials passes Senate. Reporting for radioactive fracking waste also added”.  Quick quotes from that article:


“[Bill] Seitz, R-Green Township, this week sponsored an amendment to the state budget that would create an exception to the Open Meetings Law, allowing local governments to call closed sessions to consider tax breaks for new or growing businesses.”

“Local governments should be allowed to discuss economic development in secret because state governing bodies already have that freedom, said Sen. Bill Seitz, who sponsored such legislation as part of the budget that passed Ohio’s Senate on Thursday.”

“Municipalities often compete with other neighboring areas over new businesses and the new jobs they bring, Seitz said. Local governments should have freedom to make tax-break offers privately to keep their competitive edge over nearby localities.”

““Practically everything (JobsOhio does) can be conducted without adherence to the Open Meetings Law. Your local elected officials, who are also laboring in the vineyard of economic development, ought to have the same flexibility for negotiating purposes,” Seitz told The Enquirer. “The public, of course, will know of every decision once it is made.””


            The last line, of course, is quite memorable since this is likewise the case within any totalitarian regime (nominally “democratic” or not). Yes, Mr. Seitz, there is no provision in the federal or state constitution granting citizens the right to look. That freedom was overlooked by our founding fathers. And yes again, Mr. Seitz, the public eventually does become informed “of every decision once it is made.”

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