Friday, February 25, 2005

Ethics gets a jump-start

When Zack Stalberg was appointed to the Committee of Seventy, Philly's election oversight organization, there was much speculation about intentions to make the organization more aggressive, broaden its scope to more between-elections issues, etc. Looks like that's the way things will play out, given the tone of the news conference at which Stalberg was introduced:
"We've got to overcome Philadelphia's culture that says: 'That's the way things are done around here, you can't change it anyway, get over it,'" said Ned Dunham, a lawyer who is the committee's board chairman. "We say: 'Nuts.' We can do better."

The committee's agenda will now include pressuring City Council to curtail no-bid contracts, enact ethics legislation and put teeth in campaign-finance limits, according to Dunham and Stalberg. Another focus: opening up public records and meetings.
Looks like the Board intends to majorly increase the group's budget and hire more staff, presumably in response to the culture of corruption on display in the City Hall investigations, and perhaps in preparation for the new challenges and temptations that casino gambling will bring to the region. Certainly, their list of goals sound hard to argue with!


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