Monday, April 07, 2008

The Secret Assembly Within The Public Assembly

Congestion Pricing is dead according to City Room, the New York Times blog that covers local topics. While we’ll reserve full comment until the actual deadline passes, the midnight hour upon which the plan turns into a pumpkin, Nicolas Confessore’s reporting had one interesting—and troubling—note.

Apparently, the members of the Assembly Democratic conference voted in secret against the plan. This comes after several reports of behind-closed-doors extended discussion of the proposal, most recently today’s New York Post, which wrote: “Assembly Democrats privately discussed the issue for seven hours over two days last week, with just 17 of the 71 who spoke favoring the idea and almost all agreeing that amendments were needed.”

The secrecy surrounding the debate of congestion pricing, as well as other major legislation, goes against the spirit of an open and democratic process. The public has a right to know how their elected representatives voted—in public or private. Are we to assume the aforementioned vote was held in secret to avoid that type of accountability?

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