See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Sunny days 

Forget the strange bedfellows, some truly unholy alliances are going on in politics this year.

They were set up by one particular line in President Barack Obama's inaugural address: "Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."

OK, we live in the real world, and we know that units of government everywhere are not suddenly going to begin freely handing out all the info we have a right to. But here in Michigan something's just happened that portends to be a big step in the right direction: Michigan Republicans have introduced three bills in the state House and another planned for the Senate that would, together, require all state agencies to develop and maintain searchable websites disclosing expenditures of state funds. That includes all spending related to state purchases, contracts and grants. And we all could access them as easily as we get Snuggie parodies on YouTube.

Dare we dream? No more paper Freedom of Information requests handed off to surly secretaries who act like we're asking for state secrets when we want to know how money is spent? No more unwarranted extensions of time to comply with FOIA requests? No more fees that, in our experience, have ranged from none to hundreds of dollars for the same information requested from different public agencies?

News Hits in bed with the Republicans? We feel drunk and slutty.

Then came a media advisory from the Americans for Prosperity thanking the 42 state representatives who have uploaded their office expenses to their official websites. AFP, by the way, is a national anti-tax, anti-government group with affiliates in 23 states including Michigan. Not exactly a likely News Hits drinkingbuddy.

Regardless, AFP's Michigan leaders were celebrating Sunshine Week, which began March 15. Led nationally by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the week seeks attention and support for openness in government and public access to records. As part of AFP's recognition of the week, the Michigan chapter is calling on House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Township) to bring the house bills for a passage vote.

News Hits is happy to be part of that party.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit