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Posted at 6:26 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

The D.C. Council's move toward sunshine

By Thomas M. Susman, Washington

The Dec. 4 editorial "The D.C. Council, above the law?" criticized the approach of council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) to drafting the Open Meetings Amendment Act of 2010 without recognizing that the legislation starts by including the council as a public body covered by the new law and only then allows the council to develop its own rules, including provisions for enforcement, that are consistent with the act's openness policy.

While full coverage of the council (and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions) is the preferred option, the legislation overall constitutes an important and necessary step forward, bringing more sunshine to bodies of great importance to the community, including those that handle land-use issues.

The council refused to move the issue forward four years ago, and it seems unlikely that the council would revert to its old ways under this new mandate. The council can and should strengthen the bill; it has no excuse for failing to enact it quickly. Ms. Cheh's championing of open government should be applauded, not undermined.

The writer is president of the D.C. Open Government Coalition. The views expressed here are his own.

By Thomas M. Susman, Washington  | December 8, 2010; 6:26 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, Fenty, HotTopic  
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