making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Gifts to local governments have become an issue recently in Sacramento, CA and Richland Hills, TX. I wrote about various aspects of this issue over two years ago. It's time to raise it with respect to concrete examples.

Basically, gifts to local governments by businesses and individuals with a business relationship to the local government carry a strong appearance of impropriety. However, they are generally not...
Robert Wechsler
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It's refreshing to feel good after reading a mayor's statement in response to a warrant for his arrest. According to an article in today's Hartford Courant, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez...
Robert Wechsler
Here's a more interesting story out of Massachusetts, this one from the state Senate. Former state senator Dianne Wilkerson admits having accepted up to $70,000 from friends and supporters in what is being called personal fundraising, that is, raising money to pay off personal debts. She says that the gifts were approved by the state ethics commission and by lawyers. She...
Robert Wechsler
As I wrote in a blog entry nearly two years ago, Memphis has broken records in terms of convicted public officials. But its mayor of seventeen years, Willie Herenton, has stood above it all. At least until now.

One result of the many convictions in Memphis was a new ethics ordinance in 2007 (not directly accessible via the city website search mechanism)...
Robert Wechsler
I hate to harp so often on the problem of ethics matters being handled by criminal authorities, but when I read an article in the Nogales (AZ) International that begins as follows, I get angry.
    While there was “ample evidence of incompetence,” it took more than two years for Nils Urman, former Santa Cruz County Commerce and Economic Development Director, to...
Robert Wechsler
A year ago, I wrote about New York City Council's earmark funds and the ways they were being abused. Atlanta's council members have a different sort of fund, not intended to help their constituents, but intended to help themselves. They too are open to abuse and, according to an article in yesterday's...