In a poll recently conducted by The Dallas Express, residents of Dallas overwhelmingly supported more transparency from their city government.
In the survey, participants were asked whether they supported “more transparency for the City of Dallas.”
Of those who responded, 60% answered “yes,” 19% said “no,” and 21% said that they were “unsure.”
Transparency is a regular topic among policymakers and interested groups or individuals in the general public.
The International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) describes transparency as “the principle of allowing those affected by administrative decisions to know about results and about the process that led to decisions.”
Calling transparency “a fundamental element of abolishing corruption,” ICMA stated, “Transparent governance means that government officials act openly, with citizens’ knowledge of the decisions the officials are making.”
When governing entities are transparent, they ensure the “availability of information on government policies and actions, a clear sense of organizational responsibility, and an assurance that governments are efficiently administered and free of systemic corruption.”
Among those who participated in the poll, the self-identified “center-left” and “centrist” groups were both strongly in support of greater transparency from the City of Dallas, with 73% of each group answering “yes.” Of those who self-identified as “far-left,” 59% responded “yes.”
In fact, self-identified center-left and far-left respondents as a whole supported more transparency, with 66% responding “yes.”
“Center-right” participants responded similarly to those identifying as far-left, with 56% supporting greater transparency. “Far-right” respondents were among the least likely to desire greater transparency from city government (27%).
The Dallas Express asked each city council member and Mayor Eric Johnson a number of questions regarding these findings.
For example, we asked whether any Dallas residents had ever raised a potential transparency issue that the city official felt was valid and was willing to champion, and whether they could share an instance in which the City of Dallas exceeds federal or state transparency requirements.
No city council member responded to our inquiry; however, a spokesman for the mayor, Tristan Hallman, did respond to ask for clarity about what we meant by “transparency” in our poll question.
After replying again with more information and readdressing our broad questions, Hallman pointed us elsewhere.
“Based on your questions, I think you need to reach out to the city attorney’s office and the city secretary’s office, which deal with the release of information and FOIA requests,” he wrote.
Jake Colglazier, who heads Keep Dallas Safe, remarked that the poll “clearly shows that the agenda of the mayor, city council and district attorney is at odds with what Dallas residents want for their city.”
Colglazier further opined, “These officials and their allies in the media work very hard to keep Dallas residents in the dark.”