| Opinion/The Review

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Saturday essay: The real power

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, March 28, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

Once said esteemed Revolutionary Era pamphleteer Patrick Henry: “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

How ironic it is that in this day and age of ever more electronic records and state and federal government transparency laws, our “rulers” seem to work overtime to shield the record of the public's business from public view.

Think of the local municipality that lags in its response to information requests (sometimes even openly deriding them); think of others attempting to charge excessive rates for copies of records.

Think of the local county that hides the public business behind the rubric of “executive sessions,” sometimes even deciding issues behind closed doors, then play-acting with “official votes” in public.

Think of the state agency that might comply with a request for public information, even in a timely fashion, but egregiously and nonsensically employs the black marker of redaction, laughably hiding even public information readily available elsewhere.

And think of the federal government that repeatedly defends its ad hoc rewriting of open-records laws, never mind that the illegality is so obvious, it resembles an ancient palimpsest.

The public cannot consider what it cannot see. But as Mr. Henry also reminded, it is the people who truly do have the power to force transparency and accountability: “(T)he battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”

— Colin McNickle

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. EPA diktats: Pushing back
  2. Medicare @ 50: Sick, getting sicker
  3. Sunday pops
  4. The Box
  5. Kittanning Laurels & Lances
  6. Jamestown revealed: History comes alive
  7. Yes, the IRS targeted conservatives
  8. Intrepid salute
  9. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  10. Greensburg Laurels & Lances
  11. Regional growth