Cariddi Calls for Greater Transparency in State Government
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A March 2010 poll conducted by the nonpartisan Clarus Research Group found that 92 percent of voters believe that "government agencies should make better use of new technologies to cut costs and improve efficiency."
With the goal of using technology to open up the legislative process to voters, 1st Berkshire District candidate Gailanne Cariddi has proposed a number of reforms aimed at providing more transparency and increased accountability in state government.
"It was President Thomas Jefferson who said 'an informed populace makes wise decisions,' but today, all too often, people have a hard time finding out exactly what is happening on Beacon Hill. That has to change. We need to do a much better job of providing online tools to give citizens access to state government data with ease, speed and at no cost," she said.
Cariddi's proposals for greater oversight include:
• Creation of a searchable website detailing costs, recipients and purposes for all appropriations, providing the public with access to a checkbook-level of detail regarding state spending, investments, tax reductions, tax credits, subsidies and direct grants;
• Upgrading the Legislature's website to provide more information in a timely manner;
• Requiring committee votes cast by legislators to be posted online;
• Banning committee votes by e-mail, telephone or wireless devices such as Blackberry;
• Opening the Legislature's budget accounts to annual review by the state auditor and repealing the Legislature's exemption from the state Freedom of Information Act, allowing citizens to inspect government records; and
• Improving television coverage of House floor sessions and committee hearings to Western Massachusetts local access cable stations.
"It is unacceptable that it can take days for House journals to be posted online so the public can view the roll-call votes of their elected representatives," Cariddi said, adding that she would push for a system by which residents can view each legislator's votes by bill number or subject matter. "Judge Louis Brandeis' famous statement that 'sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants' certainly applies more than ever today."
As a leader in the effort to create Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp., Cariddi pledged to continue to push for the airing of legislative committee hearings and House floor debates on "Gavel to Gavel" in order to reach the far northwest corner of the commonwealth.“
"Given that we are located in the Albany (N.Y.) media market, North County folks often know more about what is going on with the elected officials in the Empire State than in our own capital in Boston. I want to shorten the disconnect between the State House and the 11 communities of the 1st Berkshire District," Cariddi said.
Cariddi's views on technology and access to government are available on her website.