Transparency begins with each one of us

Print Article

This month in the United States, 3,007 county commissions will hold meetings. Thousands more cities will hold their own council meetings. Tens of thousands more meetings of county and city boards will take place. Most of these public bodies meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly. By law, they are open to the public. By law, their agendas must be published beforehand so officials cannot simply kill initiatives or pass tax hikes without public participation. Many of these public bodies post their agendas, minutes, meeting times and locations, and stream their meetings online.

What all this means is that American governments are straightjacketed into transparency. The DNA of our governments compels them to be of, by, and for the people. Thanks to technology, even if youíre not able to physically attend the meetings, you can stay informed and be involved. They all have phone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, and contact forms by which the citizenry can attempt to sway their decisions.

Of all those tens of thousands of meetings that will take place this month, do you know how many private citizens will show up? Do you know how many will vote in local elections? Do you know how many will read their local papers to stay abreast of the issues affecting them?

You couldnít field a basketball team with the number of people that attend most meetings. Unless itís their job to be there, or they represent a contractor doing business with the government, people almost never show up to local government meetings until they get extremely agitated about something.

Enter HiTest. Hello, agitation.

Governments such as Pend Oreille County and media outlets such as the Priest River Times have been communicating with the people for many, many months now. The reason why some people hadnít heard about HiTest until recently is because they didnít take the time to attend the meetings, read the agendas, read the newspaper articles, or even talk to their elected officials when they ran into them at Safeway.

Weíve all got busy lives and most of the time the goings-on of local government are really, really boring. True story. But then something like HiTest comes up, and we say, why didnít somebody tell me? Why didnít I hear about this until now?

As if itís somebody elseís job to be a citizen for you.

Unless there have been violations of open meeting laws, and unless there is proof of actual corruption, there is no question about where all the outrage about transparency needs to be directed.

The mirror.

Judd Wilson is a reporter with the Priest River Times/Bonner County Daily Bee. He can be reached at

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Be in the know at the polls

April 29, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee What you need to know about the May 15, 2018, primary election! The following contests will be on the May 15 ballot: • Bonner County: coroner, treasurer, assessor, clerk, commissioners for di...


Read More

Mayorís Roundtable: In complete gratitude

April 26, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee I hope everyone had a happy Earth Day. Thanks to 350Sandpoint for bringing the community together to celebrate this home we call earth. Thank you to all that fight every day to protect our environm...


Read More

Spring brings challenges for countyís roads

April 08, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee For those of us who live and drive on rural Bonner County roads, this is an interesting season of weight limits, potholes and mud, soon to be followed by dust. For the Bonner County Road & Brid...


Read More

Educated participation is key to democracy

April 01, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee Let me begin by wishing you all Happy Resurrection Day! This is the most important historical holiday that we have, and without it the world would be in a dreadful state. 2018 was a very productive,...


Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2018 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy