Chad Nodland is a one-person accountability factory in North Dakota. He regularly writes posts like these that educate and inform his readers. I hope that his readers include the state’s paid political journalists.
Many political blogs are about holding politicians accountable, or holding the media accountable. It’s harder to actually hold the government accountable. By “the government”, I mean a unit of government as exemplified in the day-to-day decisions made and enacted by a state agency, city or county administration, or the managers of a school district. Are they careful with expenditures? Do they carry out the will of the people as enacted by legislation governing their particular purview? Are their employees treated well? Do they provide a high level of customer service when interacting with the public? Etc.
How a unit of government acts on a day-to-day basis is where the rubber hits the road, though. It matters how well an office is managed and run. People are hurt or helped depending on how these tasks are carried out.
It’s important, and it’s very important that someone watches the shop. It isn’t as glamorous or exciting as chronicling the misdeeds of well-known politicians or waxing wroth at various manifestations of media bias.
Arguably, though, it is more important and, for sure, it is harder work. If there were several bloggers like Chad in every state, I believe this would lead to better outcomes, perhaps slowly, but surely.
Meanwhile, Charles E. Kupchella has written a letter to the Fargo newspaper suggesting that there is too much openness in North Dakota. North Dakota ranks #38 out of 50 states (where 50 is the worst) on the open records scale. The Chad Nodlands of the world labor in virtually thankless obscurity.