Letter to the editor: McGahey column is nothing more than a propaganda piece | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: McGahey column is nothing more than a propaganda piece

Bruce Menzel

Kim McGahey’s June 15 conservative opinion column concerned government transparency, a quality generally associated with openness, accountability and honesty. McGahey used his column to lambaste Summit government entities as lacking in that quality.

Fortunately, standardized methods to evaluate government performance exist and can elevate the discussion from opinion to fact-based reality. Such techniques employ objective analysis of relevant criteria. In regard to transparency, examples of appropriate criteria are meeting protocols, citizen involvement opportunities and public information policies. The criteria and procedures need not be complicated. Ballotpedia.org offers a simple website-based 10-point model of transparency practices applicable to local and state governments. To conduct an evaluation, practices visible on an agency’s website are simply scored as either “yes, present” or “no, not present.” The proportion of yes answers is an indication of transparency achievement. As a personal exercise, I created a 20-point transparency test based on that model. I then applied it for the Breckenridge Town Council, Summit Board of County Commissioners and Summit School District Board of Education using information from their website postings. By these analyses, each agency is presently performing admirably with regard to transparency.

Some deeply suspicious citizens may challenge this conclusion, as exemplified by McGahey’s recent column. Reliance on that column, however, for fair and balanced opinion of government performance would be ill placed. Review of the column’s history shows that it is basically a propaganda piece that routinely employs innuendo, falsehood, name-calling and other traditional ploys to support McGahey’s belief system. I’ve now learned everything I need to know about “conservative common sense” and hereafter I’m retired from McGahey’s personal culture war.


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