Public scrutiny crucial to governing
We in Delaware County are often asked by Otsego County residents why there is not a stronger county-wide response to fracking or pipelines or the closing of county homes.
After an unpleasant if brief Delaware County Planning Board meeting on May 1, at which several citizens expressed outrage, it struck me that the reasons for the anger (which go deep and are based in sad experience) were neither addressed nor understood by board members.
It was only after becoming active in the struggle against fracking that I became fully aware of the lack of transparency and responsiveness in Delaware County government, which is, in my view, inbred, opaque and secretive. The result is a breakdown in public confidence in government, in turn leading to misunderstanding, suspicion and hostility between citizenry, legislators and officials, and, consequently, public resignation and apathy.
There is only one way to open up government and make it responsive.
That is public scrutiny. Citizens may take this upon themselves, as a few do, but what is needed to help us we lack: a county-wide daily newspaper such as you here in Otsego County are reading now. And thus the huge issues which affect everyone have not been investigated, discussed or debated in one place we all can turn to, contribute to and learn from.
So today I wish to celebrate the front-page article in the May 2 issue of the Walton Reporter.
A struggling weekly like all our papers, this report of the tumultous last meeting of our disfunctional Board of Supervisors has fallen on us like manna from heaven. Democracy cannot survive without a fearless, free and vocal press, a fact that the Founders fully understood. May the Walton Reporter prosper, thrive and keep up the good, essential work.