At Witt's End
New York City WikiLeaks I’d like to see…
If Julian Assange ever gets out of jail, I would be the first journalist to invite him to work some magic on the Big Apple.
Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, which has obtained and released hundreds of thousands of international classified documents causing an uproar in governments around the world. He’s currently in jail on questionable rape charges. He claims governments around the world – including the U.S. – are out to get him.
Maybe he’s a little paranoid but as the old joke goes: Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean people are not out to get him.
Assange, according to Wikopedia, advocates a “transparent” and “scientific” approach to journalism, saying that “you can’t publish a paper on physics without the full experimental data and results; that should be the standard in journalism,”
Anyway if he did come to the city with his computer know how, here are some of the city governmnet WikiLeaks I would like to see:
All correspondence between Mayor Bloomberg and Rupter Murdoch concerning Cathie Black’s appointment as the new chancelor of the Departmnet of Education (DOE).
There is far too much chicanery between these two “businessmen” when it comes to the DOE. You have Murdoch’s hiring outgoing chanceloor Joel Klein and his buying Wireless Generation, a new education teaching and data technology company.
Upon buying the firm for $360 million, Murdoch was quoted as saying, “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone.”
I wonder if there has been any discussuin on what portion of that $500 billion will ultimaetly come from city schools.
Then there is both Bloomberg and Murdoch being very close to Black. For instance, there is Murdoch giving $5.5 million to the charter school Harlem Village Academy last year. It’s the same school in which Black sat on the board and listed on her proverbial resume in becoming chancellor.
I’d also like to see WikiLeaks on all deals between vendors and the city including consultant services. From serving Snapple in the schools to what books are supplied to our children, I’d love to see the internal memos and communications between the Bloomberg Administration and companies that do business with the city. A leaked e-mail or two might throw some light on cozy relationships between the city and Murdoch. Then there’s the water rate tax hikes, which I call the gulp of water tax.
The Bloomberg Adminstration has hiked the water rates nearly 50 percent over the past four years and some homeowners are now paying over $1,000 a year in water bills. While the adminstartion says the increrases are due to new infrastructure costs, others say it will put $200 million in the general revenue fund. Nothing like sticking middle-class property owners with another hidden tax hike. Some WikiLeaks between Bloomberg and his Water Board appointees and others involved in this hike would prove valuable. It would be interesting to get some WikiLeaks into how the Water Board decided on the increases.
I’d also like to see WikiLeaks on the city’s plan to lay off some 10,000 workers to balance the budget. Specifically, it would be interesting to hear how city agency heads will determine who gets laid off.
In a city run by a mayor who often opines that government would be better off run like a business, WikiLeaks would provide for some real transparency.
It may not fit into the “smoke and mirror” vacuum of how business works, but it’s crucial to good government and one that prides itself on democracy.
Tidbits: A shout out goes to the Independent Film New York (IFNY) Monologue Slam held at Long Island University’s Kumble Theater in Downtown Brooklyn. The slam, which is hosted by renown actor Malik Yoba of New York Undercover puts up and coming actors and actresses through a series of challenges and boot camp-like exercises in front of industry judges and a cheering audience. I attended the slam last week and it was great fun.