Monday, January 27, 2014

Black boxes and black holes

Blair Horner has recently described JJOKE as a black box.  That mythical creation that one deposits items in and they are never seen again.

I'm hearing rumors from inside the JOKE that it is much worse than a black box it is actually a black hole.  Complaints, correspondence and data are provided to staff and just like a black hole they never see the light of day again.

I've been hearing rumblings for years that staff was not providing the commissioners with information, or was selectively picking those commissioners who would be in the know and those they would treat like mushrooms (you remember Marvin how much in the dark you are kept and after watching Gary Levine shut down dissent at the October meeting how much manure is being heaped on the legislative appointees).  Now it appears under Chairman Dan Horwitz the censorship has reached new heights with only certain commissioners being shown complaints and even fewer commissioners deciding what matters staff will be allowed to pursue and how. 

My insiders tell me certain commissioners have had enough of being bullied by Dan and his minions and fireworks may be in store at the next commission meeting.  Of course with this bunch that may just mean someone will have the temerity to actually ask if they can see their own mail.

And remember Dan now has a secret ally, his new law partner and fellow commissioner Renee Roth.  You see Dan has left the law firm with his name on the door to join Ms. Roth's firm.  Not since the days of Andrew Celli and Richard Emery have two partners in the same firm been on New York's ethics commission (and everyone remembers how well that turned out).  There must be a story behind the move and I'll do my best to find out the why but it does explain why Ms. Roth has seemed so helpful to Dan when the other legislative appointees are getting mouthy about how Dan is running JJOKE, and make no mistake Dan Horwitz is running JJOKE. 

We may get a sneak peak at the divisions in JJOKE tomorrow during the first attempt to go into executive session.  And I say first because JJOKE has scheduled two executive sessions for tomorrow's meeting.  I've never seen that before.  Why two?  My guess is they want to get behind closed doors to talk about granting exemptions to pro choice and pro life groups from the source of funding disclosures contained in the Lobby Act.  Now remember the commission is subject to Open Meetings Law for any business they transact under the Lobby Act with the exceptions of those topics that the Open Meetings Law allows to be done in executive session.  Discussing exemptions to the disclosure requirements is not one of the subjects you are allowed to discuss in executive session.  Of course a tree only makes noise in the forest when it falls if someone is there to hear it.  Will anyone complain tomorrow when they move to go into executive session?  Not me its not my issue and not my clients.  Will anyone ask the JOKE to specify why they are going into executive session?  I hope the media does but if they don't I might just to see Dan's reaction.  I would hope the commissioners that have been trying to make JJOKE "more transparent" can muster the moral outrage to insist this topic be discussed in public,

The JJOKE executive sessions are a long way from transparent and there is no way to really know if the gravitational pull of JJOKE's black hole will reach that far.

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