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LJWorld.com weblogs In Simple Words

Show Me the Money

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On Friday, Nov. 9th, Drake University played a basketball game at 4:30 P.M. (ET) against California-San Diego. The game was played at California-San Diego. Drake won, 81-63. One of the Drake players, Bill Eaddy, played for one minute. He had no free throw or field goal attempts. You can find all the box scores for that game online.Sometime ago, I don't know exactly when, the city of Lawrence built a roundabout at the intersection of 19th St. and Barker Avenue. I strongly suspect the construction involved a number of workers and took several weeks,, maybe more. I would also guess that it cost over a hundred thousand dollars. With some effort, I'm sure I could find out more about this project.I can find minutes from a city commission meeting in 2000 where the the roundabout was mentioned. I can also find information about the city budget process. The city budget for 2007 is available online. I don't see the 19th & Barker roundabout mentioned so it must have been built before then.To be honest, I don't really care that much about when the roundabout was built. I would be interested to see how much it cost.Am I the only one who thinks it ironic that detailed information about a basketball game is so readily available, yet informtaion about our local government and the millions ($67 million if I read the budget correctly) it spends is so much more difficult to obtain?I do commend the city commission in making the budget available online. The school board should follow suit.Show me the money, where it goes, and that it is used effectively, or don't ask me for more. We are each responsible for overseeing the actions and decisions of those we elect. Those elected officials should make it as easy as possible for us to do that.Even if the city and school district each needed to add a person who's only responsibility is to make the budget and financial information available to us, I think it would be money well spent.

Comments

Claire Williams 6 years, 11 months ago

Dave:

Transparency in our local, state, and national governments is something that I think we all would like a little more of. Unfortunately, you probably won't see more of it unless there is a demand for it. People watch a lot of sports games, so there is a demand for those statistics, resulting in websites and television stations devoted to nothing else.

If you want to get more facts from our local policymakers, get involved. Go to city commissioner meetings or school board meetings and ask for the information to be released or made publicly available. Get 5 people to go with you and also ask, and you might get somewhere. :)

Alia Ahmed 6 years, 11 months ago

David,

You bring up a good point, so much information is readily available on-line, it is surprising this information isn't more easily found. It seems more transparency might serve to restore public trust in light of misuse of public funds at many levels of government.

David Klamet 6 years, 11 months ago

Ronda, I cold not disagree more. Curiosity about the many city departments and projects is not something that should utilize city resources on random queries such as the one I use as an example.

As the school board prepares to ask for even more money (see the link before), it is they who should demonstrate that the current budget is not adequate and is already being spent in a reasonable and efficient way.

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/jan/26/school_board_may_request_election/?city_local

Ronda Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

I am agreeing with you David - I am talking about a complaint from each citizen.

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