Forum: Importance of FOI law
July 4, 2013 7:18PM
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:26AM
This Independence Day marked 47 years since the landmark freedom of information law took effect, yet Americans still are distrustful of government. A 2013 Pew Research Center poll showed that only 26 percent of Americans surveyed say they can trust the federal government “almost always or most of the time” — among the lowest ratings in the half-century since pollsters have been asking the question.
The FOI law established our right to access government records and to know what our government is doing — both its successes and failures. Exercising our right to know gives us, the public, power. It allows us to contribute to our government and hold government accountable.
From food and transportation safety to the use and disposal of chemicals, the law has enabled the public to ensure the health of our democracy and our well-being.
The federal FOI law (and related state and local laws) are only as good as we demand that they be. For decades, members of the League of Women Voters have acted as government watchdogs at the federal, state and local levels — observing government meetings, conducting document audits and empowering citizens, but more work needs to be done.
The key to a healthy, open and trusted government is public participation. On this anniversary of this important law, exercise your right to know by attending a government meeting, contacting an elected official or visiting a government website.
Homewood-Flossmoor Area League of Women Voters
Targeting public employees
In his June 25 column, Scott Reeder asks the wrong question. It should be, “Why are so many people employed in the private sector unable to earn a living wage and benefits?”
Corporations, joined by our government officials, continue to try and convince the private work force that it is wrong for public employees to earn a decent wage and benefits. Their goal is to level all employees to a point where families cannot live a comfortable life.
Corporations and their leaders continue to become wealthier while the middle class disappears. This concentration of wealth is a house of cards. It will eventually collapse to the detriment of all, both rich and poor.
As a die-hard Blackhawks fan, I would like to thank Rocky Wirtz for taking out an ad in the Boston Globe, letting all of Boston know what a classy town and organization that Boston and its team truly are.
Letting the Bostonians know that they were excellent to the visiting Chicago fans during the Stanley Cup Final and telling the Bruins that they played a hard-fought but fair series is an awesome gesture .
This act of kindness will always be remembered by Blackhawks and Bruins fans. Thank you for showing everyone what true sportsmanship is.