Opinion: When government draws the shades

Several recent events in North Georgia involving government transparency — or the lack thereof — prompted friends and colleagues in other parts of the country to ask whether I am living in some 18th century time warp, as they frequently perceive this portion of the country, where absolutists reign with absolute disregard for their subjects.

After more than 30 years of defending my adopted state against the verbal depredations of outsiders, I must admit that these latest efforts at government secrecy make me wonder the same thing. One or two such events can be sloughed off as mistakes or bad judgment. But when their numbers begin to mount, a pattern emerges that gives rise to questions about the dedication of these “public servants” to the people that they are supposed to serve and the taxpayer dollars to which they are entrusted.

Perhaps the most egregious example involves the Atlanta Braves, a private corporation, and Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee, an elected official. The Braves and Lee worked for several months in absolute secrecy to develop a plan that will end up costing the taxpayers of the county nearly $400 million so the team can move to the suburbs and make more money. While it may be a good business deal for the Braves, the actions of Lee demonstrate not only a lack of government transparency, but downright contempt for the taxpayers of Cobb County. Continue>>>