EDITORIAL

No transparency here

Posted

Net neutrality became the latest victim of President Trump’s revamping of Washington, creating an online environment some critics fear will allow internet companies to decide what users can look at on the World Wide Web, and how fast it gets to them.

Yet, net neutrality is hardly a new topic. It’s been debated for years, with proponents saying its elimination is necessary in order to truly open up the online marketplace.

The Federal Communications Commission, which makes the final decision on net neutrality, has been discussing the issue for months since Trump took office. But last May, the FCC ended up in some hot water after the group allegedly tossed out a reporter who simply was seeking a comment on the net neutrality vote.

Almost immediately, fellow reporters stood up for John Donnelly. But they were joined by the most unlikely of allies — some of the very lawmakers Donnelly and others cover. People like Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. 

Sure, both are Democrats and would probably welcome any chance to poke at the current Republican administration. But as rare as such a show of support is for the media, imagine the bravery it took for Community Board 8 chair Rosemary Ginty to stand up and walk out of a meeting designed to keep the community informed about the transitional facility at 5731 Broadway.

“As soon as I learned The Press was barred from the meeting, I decided not to attend,” Ginty told the reporter denied access to the meeting soon after departing.

The city’s homeless services department claimed the media can’t attend because sometimes specific residents at the facility are discussed, and they don’t want their privacy violated.

Yet, the whole idea of transparency is to conduct business in public. And if there are indeed parts that need to be kept behind closed doors, do it. Just leave the rest open to the public.

It’s like shutting down the Major Deegan Expressway out of fear a few cars might speed. No, you pull over the speeders and give them tickets, but you keep the rest of the road open so that drivers can get where they need to go.

For all the claims DHS has made about transparency, the agency has proven in the last few months that it’s really not. This “open” but not opened community advisory meeting is just the latest in a string of events that include near-impossible access to read the contract setting up 5731 Broadway to the actual selection of the site itself.

DHS desperately wants the community — especially Kingsbridge — to embrace 5731 Broadway. But that can’t happen so long as the city agency slips into the shadows, making it appear they really do have something to hide.

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