Transparency News, 9/17/20


 September 17, 2020
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state & local news stories
Several dozen Manassas-area residents whose homes could be impacted by a proposed Va. 28 bypass attempted to speak out against the project during a Prince William Board of County Supervisors work session Tuesday held just one week after the board endorsed the project before hearing public comment. The 2 p.m. work session, called to discuss the county budget, was held in a conference room at the county’s development services building. Because of social distancing, seating was limited to four members of the public. The unexpected turnout caught county staff and supervisors off guard, leading to a chaotic scene as residents jostled to gain entry to the room and crowded the doorway to watch the session.
Prince William Times
stories of national interest
Text messages between a state agency director and vendor's representative are public under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and the representative's name "should be disclosed," a Pulaski County circuit judge ruled Monday. "The messages reflect the performance or lack of performance of official functions because they inextricably intertwine personal and public-business matters such that there is a substantial nexus between the two," according to the order from Judge Chris Piazza. The messages, requested under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, are at the center of a personal relationship between former Department of Information Systems Director Mark Myers and a vendor's representative that raised questions a few years ago about three state projects with that vendor, totaling $8.2 million.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Governors, mayors and other elected officials are left facing the fact that some voters are no longer content to wait until the next regularly scheduled election to try to remove them from office, especially during a time of widespread fear, anger and discontent.

editorials & columns
As of Monday morning, JMU had the ninth-highest number of COVID-19 cases per college in the country, according to The New York Times. Let’s go, Dukes?  It isn’t a secret that this semester is unlike any other, and with a university that prides itself on civic engagement, The Breeze calls on JMU to open its Friday Board of Visitors meeting for live public comment. In the past, questions have been accepted at these meetings and by prohibiting the public from commenting live this Friday, the university is insinuating that it has something to hide.  JMU is one of the leaders of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., which should prompt the university to be more transparent than it has ever been. By not allowing live public comment in the Board of Visitors’ meeting, JMU is proving that authenticity was never on the table.
The Breeze

Drum roll, please. It’s Constitution Day. “Our rock and redeemer,” the late columnist Anthony Lewis called it. The written word of a civil religion “that has no state church,” he said.
The Virginian-Pilot