Minnesota government corruption
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Nearly 5,000 households in Minneapolis public housing high rises would benefit from this proposal. The provision is working to fill the gap created because these people are unable to receive the city's own public WiFi service without devices.
The proposal's summary states that residents of these public housing neighborhoods who graduate from the first level of the city's Broadband University "will be eligible to receive their choice of wifi-enabled devices--laptops or handheld iPod Touches," effecting an estimated 6,300.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan provides $7.2 billion to expand access to and adoption of broadband services nationwide and "help bridge the technological divide and create jobs building Internet infrastructure."
In the first round of spending this money, $4 billion will be dispersed in the form of loans and grants. It remains unclear how many projects will be funded per state.
"The presumption of Minnesota’s Data Practices Act, the state’s open records law, that all government data should be public, unless state or federal statute holds otherwise, is a sound and important one. But privacy advocates are incorrectly eroding the spirit of that presumption with two bills in the state’s Capitol protecting what they call the privacy of state employees and private companies over the public’s right to know whether those employees and companies are benefiting from their ties with the state or misusing state money respectively. The benefits of landing on the side of transparency far outweigh that of landing on the side of privacy."
"A bill pending in the Minnesota Legislature would restrict public access to some financial decisions regarding the University of Minnesota's public endowment.
University officials say the proposal would make it easier for the university to find smart investments and could help increase the endowment, which is about $910 million. But critics say the bill is too restrictive."
"Have you ever had trouble accessing public information?
Sometimes, the government clerk working the counter errs on the side of keeping public records from the public. You know you should be able to see that court case or that police report or that property transaction or whatever item it is, yet that person is denying you access, often because he or she has had a lack of training on open-records — or worse, faulty training."
"A city seeks bids for road maintenance. A township announces its election and annual meeting. A county publishes its annual list of delinquent taxes.
All three items are of public interest, and all are prominently displayed under the “public notices” sections in Minnesota newspapers.
Yet, certain groups are lobbying the Minnesota Legislature to eliminate the requirement for cities, counties and schools to disperse this information in newspapers – an avenue that provides order, accuracy and reliability in the dissemination of information important to citizens’ everyday lives. Reminding citizens and public officials about the public’s right of access to government information is the focus of “Sunshine Week: Your Right to Know,” March 15-21."
"A nonprofit group that fights for the public's right to government information is honoring a St. Paul man for doing exactly that.
Rich Neumeister was named Wednesday as the winner of the John R. Finnegan Award, given each year by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.
The group said Neumeister has worked for 25 years as a citizen lobbyist. He's appeared before numerous legislative committees and worked with legislators on issues such as freedom of information, privacy rights and government accountability."
Keith Nelson of Eveleth raised the issue Tuesday at the board’s meeting in Duluth, saying he was concerned that he and other commissioners had been recorded at their Jan. 20 board workshop in Pike Lake.
"The disclosure of financial relationships between doctors and drug and medical device companies has become an issue of fevered debate.
That debate hasn't escaped the University of Minnesota's medical school, which is wrestling with a proposed new policy governing those relationships -- and the embarrassing revelation that Dr. Leo Furcht, co-chairman of the task force crafting the new rules, was disciplined for a violating the U's current policies."
"We discovered an (another!) alarming little loophole in the state's open records law this week when we requested the letters sent in by the applicants for Noah Cashman's open council seat.
Turns out that if an individual is an applicant to an appointed seat in local government, much less information is made public about them, according to an amendment to the state open records law, made this year."
"When he’s looking to justify deleting his emails, Gov. Tim Pawlenty tastes run to the retro. The 40-year-old Minnesota Supreme Court case that the governor cites to support his position is a “legal antique,” says a local communications attorney. But that doesn’t mean it’s illegal for government officials to maintain scant public records. And email in particular, in wide use for a decade, is only now drawing the attention of lawmakers. Meanwhile, rules on what data is public and what must be kept aren’t in sync: One law lets officials decide to delete what another law says the public has the right to see."
In 2008, with a new county attorney and a rejuvenated oversight committee, attempts are being made to get it back on track from a budgeting view. One now former member, an attorney, estimates the previous county attorney misdirected $125,000 from 2003 to 2007 for use by his department.
Allegedly the funds were used by the previous county attorney for reference materials for his department, not the public. Talks have begun to get the county attorney to repay the funds but because of the amount, the current county attorney doesn't know when complete repayment will occur.
However minutes of the oversight committee show that no effort was going to be made to bring in law enforcement to investigate actually what happened. This isn't a question the oversight committee has chosen to deal with despite their ethical obligations as judges and attorneys.
State of Minnesota
St. Paul (capital)
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