Writer Kent Paterson writes an interesting opinion piece in the Albuquerque Tribune that kind of got to me.
He spits and hisses about Corruption in America, starting broadly and including corporate corruption in his generalizations. Then he abruptly boils it down to local government appointments, open meetings, information and salaries. What about Enron? What about Halliburton? We're not going there apparently.
Halt the trend toward centralization of authority and promote the democratization of decision-making. Corruption thrives in dictatorships and centralized governments. At the state level, New Mexicans can begin by opposing any more power grabs by the governor, mayor, university presidents or other executive officials.
Honestly, I've often thought that opposing Marty's and Bill's power grabs would be a good thing. But defending APS school board elections won't dent the 'ol corruption Cadillac, you know what I mean? The whole political hiring and cronyism thing is not exactly good government, but hardly the center of the cesspool. More like the asshole down the hall.
Strengthen freedom of information and Sunshine laws. Secrecy is another fertile ingredient that grows the culture of corruption. Corrupt officials like to hide behind layers of dung they call national security, personnel matters, management purview, executive privilege and so on.
And so on. I'm hopeful he's talking about the federal government here. I'm hopeful he's going to mention lobbying reform or campaign reform or Abramoff or Yucca Mountain. Something. But no. I think he wants to go to more meetings. Then this:
Limit the salaries of high public officials. Arguments that high salaries are needed to attract people who otherwise might be recruited by the private sector make the point. Anyone who will turn down a public service position for a better-paying private one should be encouraged to do so. Chances are the would-be official doesn't have the public interest in mind, anyway.
Yeah. Low salaries for public service. That oughta' put a stake in the heart of Corruption in America, Kent.
Just for grins, have you read how much a PNM executive makes? In a way, we pay for that too ya know. And it's about as relevant. Coco