Use Internet to increase transparency

To the editor:

Tuesday’s editorial on the need for transparency in Nevada (“Favoring disclosure: Court strengthens state public records law”) hit on many key issues that have come to light in recent years. Open public records are a good start, but budget transparency is an important issue that has great potential to empower the public and ensure a more efficient and responsive government.

The growth and development of the Internet should be utilized to provide the average citizen with the ability to monitor the way money is spent at all levels of government. The people need to trust their elected officials, especially with their tax dollars. Government websites that allow visitors to see who receives state money and for what purposes have now become an essential part of many states’ online presence.

In “Following the Money 2011,” a report on state transparency websites released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Nevada obtained a C grade, which shows there is much room for improvement. Increasing transparency in the state government would check corruption, bolster public confidence and promote fiscal responsibility.

Joe Donnellan

Wakefield, Mass.

The writer is an intern with U.S. PIRG, a public interest advocacy group.

Bullying tactics

To the editor:

Richard Bryan wrote a commentary for Tuesday’s Review-Journal presenting a case that Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko is being treated unfairly by Congress. Unfortunately, Mr. Bryan misses the point entirely.

It is not that Mr. Jaczko is not qualified to head up the NRC. Four of Mr. Jaczko’s equally qualified commissioners have gone on the record — first in a letter to the White House and then before Congress — that Mr. Jaczko’s leadership style includes bullying, intimidation and harassment.

According to Commissioner William Magwood, one of his female staffers refused to be alone in the same room with Mr. Jaczko.

Mr. Jaczko’s management style may be illegal, constituting a hostile work environment. If any manager or supervisor in the private sector conducted business this way, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would be all over him. Do EEOC laws not pertain to the NRC?

How effective can he be leading an organization that requires teamwork and mutual respect?

Skip Blough

North Las Vegas

Chilling environment

To the editor:

I respect former Sen. Richard Bryan’s concerns for nuclear safety, as expressed in his commentary “Nuclear chief under fire just for doing his job,” in Tuesday’s Review Journal. I believe, however, he misses an important element of the problems that have been raised with Gregory Jaczko’s behavior.

Mr. Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been found by his own inspector general as well as his fellow commissioners, to create a “chilled” working environment where NRC scientists and engineers feel intimidated and fear retaliation if they reach conclusions that differ from his.

This is absolutely not the working environment this country wants in the agency that is responsible for ensuring safe use of nuclear materials.

If Sen. Bryan believed Mr. Jaczko created an environment of intimidation and fear, I cannot believe he would conclude the chairman is “just doing his job.”

Jean Younker

Las Vegas

Insider deals

To the editor:

I would like to commend the Review-Journal for calling for the passage of the STOCK Act, which would require that insider trading laws apply also to members of Congress (Monday editorial). At least that is what I think you were saying.

The headline for your editorial was very direct and clear — “Insider trading laws should apply to Congress.” But the body of the editorial was very evasive. What I got out of the actual editorial was the message that you think insider trading laws are unnecessary, but if we are going to have them, Congress should probably abide by them also.

You wrote: “If investing private capital in other people’s business ventures is meant to be a straight-up game of chance, like throwing darts while blindfolded, why not ban investors from telling brokers which stocks they want to buy?” That’s the most idiotic statement I’ve ever read. Insider trading, for your information, is buying or selling stocks based on information that has not been made available to the public. It makes sure that “insiders” do not have an unfair advantage over the general public by being able to trade on information that other people don’t have. For you to insinuate that not being able to buy or sell stocks based on inside information is akin to throwing darts while blindfolded just goes to show your ignorance in financial affairs.

By the way, I noticed that you just couldn’t pass on a chance to score a political point by taking a shot at Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Yes, Rep. Pelosi was called out on “60 Minutes” for trading based on inside information. But so were Speaker John Boehner and Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus, then the ranking Republican member on the House Financial Services Committee and now its chairman, a fact that you conveniently left out of the editorial.

Richard Pratt

Las Vegas

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