Our Opinion: Let the light shine in
Douglas County’s grand jury members didn’t have to disclose their names, but they did.
District Judge Dave Gamble said the jury’s decision was rooted in a desire to let Douglas County residents know who is doing their business – in this case, business that will result in a report card on county operations. The jury may find much to improve or nothing at all, but for now, the members want to share what they can with the public.
Maybe Carson Valley business man Don Bently and the Bureau of Land Management should take a cue.
Rumors have swirled since word got out nearly two months ago that Bently was interested in a land swap involving 25,000 acres on the Carson Valley’s east side. Residents are already anticipating that the exchange will happen and are rallying furiously against it.
BLM manager John Singlaub said in a letter this week that the protests are “premature,” that no land swaps are imminent and that if one is developed, residents will have a chance to comment.
This is all fine and good, but there’s a reason so many residents are so upset. Promises about public comment and review processes are nice, but they aren’t stopping the petitions or the perception that this is a done deal.
The Douglas County commission, which received the BLM letter and also has lots of experience with skeptical people and perceptions of done deals, suggested Bently and the BLM try a completely open process, with chances for the public to observe what’s happening from start to finish.
Yes, Bently is a private business man and the BLM has its own rules to go by. But just because you can keep things confidential doesn’t always mean you should. Opening this process would probably save a lot of suspicion, rumor-mongering and ill will.