Provides a blueprint for more effective government and greater citizen participation. Transparency has become the new mantra of politicians and pundits alike. But what does it mean in practice? In this informative, clearly written book community activist Donald Gordon defines the essential features of a transparent government and makes a convincing case that it is critical for a healthy and maturing democracy and the basic liberties we all take for granted. Gordon first presents a clear definition of transparency in government and why we should pursue it, followed by a review of the history of transparency in American politics. He then makes the case for how transparency serves as the foundation for active civic engagement. The heart of the book is Gordon's Transparency Index. The author examines best practices in measuring transparency and then isolates the critical factors that can be used to assess any type of government and its commitment to transparency. In addition, a scoring system is presented that allows for comparison of government entities. For anyone who wishes that government were more effective and responsive, this book shows how these goals can be achieved.
Donald Gordon teaches political history, civic engagement, and political reform at Northwestern University. Gordon, a community activist for over thirty years in the Chicago area, is planning his second run for alderman. He is the author of Piss 'Em All Off: And Other Practices of the Effective Citizen, which discusses civic engagement based on his years as an activist.