It flies in the face of the much ballyhooed Republican promise in its "Pledge to America:" that “We will fight to ensure transparency and accountability ... throughout government."
Below are sample letters which I have sent- one to my representative, one (shorter, and sweeter) to the Toledo Blade. Feel free to copy and modify for your own letter to your representative.
To find who your representative is, go to http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/search.cfm#reps_zip
Sample Letter to Representative
The Honorable [your rep]
Ohio House of Representatives
Re: House Bill 1 of the 129th General Assembly Regular Session,
Formation of the publicly funded private company "JobsOhio"
Dear Representative _________;
As a constituent and voter, I urge you to oppose HB 1.
Creation of an almost entirely private institution with extremely limited public oversight flies in the face of (1) the principles of open government, (2) good stewardship of our government by our elected representatives, and (3) the people’s right to know what our government is doing.
Last year, Republicans made a “Pledge to America.” In that Pledge, Republicans promised that “We will fight to ensure transparency and accountability ... throughout government.”
HB 1 breaks that promise. I urge you to keep that promise in the “Pledge to America” by opposing HB 1.
I value honesty and integrity in government and in politicians and especially in elected officials. Like many Americans, I believe my elected officials should and will keep their promises.
The proponents of HB 1 have argued that it is necessary because “allowing public access will weaken the ability of the new entity to negotiate.”
HB 1 goes far beyond protecting details in negotiations which need to be kept private. That concern can best be met through carefully crafted, narrow exceptions to the Ohio Open Records Law , Ohio Revised Code, Title 1, Section 149, http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/149 , and the Ohio Open Meetings Law, ORC, Title 1, Chapter 121, http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/121
Those Ohio laws already contain a well designed scheme of exceptions to the general principle of open government. If that scheme exposes too much detail of negotiations, then amend those specific provisions.
I believe that hiding all aspects of an entire government agency doing the public’s business from public scrutiny breaches the stewardship of government we so rightly and naturally expect of our elected officials, especially where public funds, tax payer funds, will be used.
Some people argue that we, the taxpayers, know how to spend our money better than the government. HB 1 would deny us the knowledge of how our money is spent and thus to know if our elected officials are spending our money well.
“The motivating idea behind Ohio's right-to-know laws was expressed by an Ohio court in 1994 when it wrote ‘public records are the people's records, and officials in whose custody they happen to be are merely trustees for the people.’"
Be sure to include your address, legislators always pay more attention to voters in their district.
Sample Newspaper Letter
Ohio Governor John Kasich has proposed privatizing the Ohio Department of Development, creating a private corporation, using our tax dollars, which would act almost entirely in secret and have little transparency or oversight. His proposal is embodied in House Bill 1
Americans value open and transparent government
This proposal flies in the face of that value, and especially in the face of the Republican promise in its "Pledge to America:" that “We will fight to ensure transparency and accountability ... throughout government."
If there is a need for some secrecy in negotiations, which is a reasonable need, those needs can be better met by adding to the exceptions in the Ohio Open Records and Open Meetings laws.
Cloaking an entire agency behind a veil of secrecy simply does not conform with the obligations of our elected officials to represent we the people.