Nutter flunks transparency
The good news: This is a great story by my Daily News colleague, Bill Bender. The bad news? This sums up the lost promise of the Nutter administration:
And Philly had elected as mayor a reform-minded councilman, Michael Nutter, who was wrapping up his first year in Room 215. Open government is his thing. New day, new way.
"There is nothing that government does that cannot be done ethically and transparently," Nutter proclaimed at his inauguration in 2008. "Nothing."
Except, we now know, pitching municipal bonds to investors. And settling lawsuits. And, sometimes, budget briefings with City Council. Also, sheriff's sales and pension payments aren't entirely transparent. Neither are zoning appeals. Nor, in some cases, the way taxpayer-funded grants are doled out. And the mayor's past daily calendars are a closely guarded secret. Even elevator records have been deemed off-limits to the public. Yes, elevators.
We live in the worst era for transparency and open government since Watergate -- and the Obama administration is almost as bad as the Nutter administration. The only solutions -- a more powerful media and a more engaged citizenry -- don't seem to be on the horizon.