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CORRUPTION: Make accounting transparent

| December 5, 2010 11:55 AM

Most people are aware of a corruptive atmosphere and many are suffering from it. And yet nobody talks about the decadent root of it, muddy, murky, concealing and misleading financial accounting and accountability. There can be no question, without complete and total transparency of accounting from all sides any related efforts can be lost.

For this reason cleaning up accounting must be priority number one. And it should be the subject of most public discussions, especially by officials and election candidates, instead of their degrading mudslinging. A successful cleanup of accounting methods will miraculously also improve the bulk of our other problems.

Through convergence on this one item, overall success will be greatly enhanced. Of course there are other elements deserving our attention after this cleansing. They are partially: meaningful audits; strict identification of any private money in public accounts, to control integrity; a voter's no-vote for candidates; elimination of direct contacts between lobbyists and legislators, candidates' signed lists stating their legislative intentions, because candidate changes without it are simple ineffective; public reports of at least twice a year about milestones and costs for all projects lasting more than three months; assurances that candidates have an understanding of financial "present value" calculations (pension obligations); detailed accounting information about all "need" or "goal" requirements; and banning corrupt officials permanently from all and any public business.

Improvements do not happen automatically. Only when enough citizens insist that such subjects as above will be discussed thoroughly in public can we expect the urgently needed changes.

GUNTER MILOW

Coeur d'Alene

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