Without full transparency and openness in the government’s decision making processes we, as legislators, cannot and should not expect to have the public’s confidence and trust in the policies we create and the decisions we make.
Delaware’s government has consistently and repeatedly resisted efforts to ensure that the public is totally informed of decisions and policies being made. Despite state FOIA laws, the Governor, his Executive Branch, and other agencies have repeatedly resisted and impeded public access to records and private meetings that have taken place, leading to some of those decisions that are not in the best interests of the public taxpayer.
In a letter I authored with John Flaherty, we wrote that, “The decision to dismantle the Rodney Square bus hub was made long before the ‘proposal’ was announced to the public through closed-door meetings with business leaders that were never made public by the Governor’s office.”
The Coalition to Return Bus Service to Rodney Square recently sent a letter of formal complaint to the Attorney General over the censorship of emails from Governor Carney regarding the decision to remove the Rodney Square bus hub. As News Journal recently reported:
“Governor Carney’s action in blacking out over 100 pages of emails regarding bus stops at Rodney Square does not promote governmental transparency, does not inform the electorate and deprives the public the ability to observe and monitor the decisions made by the Governor,” the coalition wrote in an email on Monday.
The letter was signed by over 55 advocates including state Rep. John Kowalko; New Castle County Recorder of Deeds Michael Kozikowski; Paula A Maiorano, chair of the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow DE; members of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, and others.
This abuse of transparency must stop immediately, and the trust and confidence of the public should be restored if we are to expect that same public’s support.
Please join the Coalition to Return Bus Service to Rodney Square tomorrow to personally register your objections to the secrecy agenda being promoted by our State government.
Coalition to Return Bus Service to Rodney Square
For Immediate Release:
August 8, 2018
Let’s Be Fair – Share the Square
Rally and March to Restore the Rodney Square Bus Hub
The Coalition to Return Bus Service to Rodney Square invites the public to join them for a rally and march to highlight reaching the milestone of over 2,000 citizens who have signed petitions urging Governor Carney to restore the Rodney Square bus hub which was dismantled on December 17, 2017.
The rally is scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2018, 1:30 PM at Rodney Square, 10th & King Streets in Wilmington.
Participants will then march two blocks to the Carvel State Building to submit the petitions to Governor John Carney and legislative leaders.
The marchers will be met at 2:00 PM by the Governor’s Communications Director Jonathan Starkey.
The Rodney Square bus hub was an essential part of the economic fabric of Wilmington and New Castle County as workers, businesses, and shoppers benefited from the ease and convenience of making bus connections in one central location.
DART’s former bus stops on Rodney Square provided a safe, secure and convenient transit hub for bus passengers to transfer between DART bus routes serving points throughout the city, county, and the state and has been essential to the freedom of mobility for those who cannot afford a car such as single parents, students, senior citizens, and disabled citizens.
Bus ridership nearly doubled since the Rodney Square bus hub was established by then Gov. Mike Castle’s administration in 1992.
According to emails published in the Wilmington News Journal on March 7, 2018, it appears that secret meetings were held, prior to the start of the public comment period, between Governor John Carney and private business special interests, to dismantle this safe, secure and convenient transit hub, the Rodney Square bus hub.
The preamble to Delaware’s FOIA states, in part, “It is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that our citizens shall have the opportunity to observe the performance of public officials and to monitor the decisions that are made by such officials in formulating and executing public policy.”
In this case, public business seemed to be conducted in secret where citizens could not monitor how decisions were made in formulating and executing policies that dismantled the Rodney Square bus hub on December 17, 2017.
Scott R. Spencer