Twitter is a poor substitute for transparency (even for the social media mayor)

promoted by Rosi

UPDATE 6:10pm: @CoryBooker just answered @bluejersey’s Tweet: “All grants of Zuckerberg $ have been made public. New grant announcements coming in Sept RT @bluejersey Update public on Zuckerberg’s gift”

So, ACLU, want to dispute that? – – Rosi

Where’s the Facebook money? Tweet that question to Mayor Booker right now if you’re curious.

Laura Baker, a grandmother of a Newark public school student and a member of the Secondary Parent Council (which sued Newark today), explained why she wanted to go to court for the details of Facebook’s $100 million donation to Newark Public Schools.

“The city talks a lot about transparency, but we haven’t seen a thing,” said Baker.  

She is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed today by the Secondary Parent Council and ACLU-NJ seeking information about the donation Mark Zuckerberg announced alongside Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the Oprah Winfrey Show in Sept. 2010, intending to transform Newark Public Schools with the money.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker defended his transparency in the Huffington Post this June, ironically around the same time the city denied public requests for records concerning the gift.

Transparency works by showing, not telling. Blogs and Twitter posts quoting great leaders on great ideals aren’t enough;, we need those big ideals fulfilled. Being the Mayor of Social Media is a poor substitute when the basic obligations of government aren’t met: it’s dessert in place of dinner, sprinkles in place of ice cream, gravy in place of potatoes, extra credit in place of homework, PR in place of leadership.

So let Mayor Booker know now, via Twitter, that his traditional responsibilities won’t be fulfilled just by using new media.

This is what transparency looks like: letting the public know exactly how the money will be (and has been) spent, the terms of the gift, the role the city will play and the relationship between private and public leaders in implementation. Whenever that information has come to light since the donation was announced, it’s because it was leaked to the press.

This donation truly has the potential to give Newark students new opportunities that could transform their lives. But no amount of money entitles a benefactor to buy out the public’s stake in a public institution. For decisions that affect the public, sharing information isn’t determined by generosity: it’s determined by the public’s legal right to know.

If the money is going to the public schools, the public has a right to records and information.

I’m gonna nag you till you tweet it! Contact Newark Mayor Cory Booker in a medium where you know he’ll listen. Tweet @CoryBooker right now with this message:

Update the public on Zuckerberg’s gift, @CoryBooker. Please release all records on the Facebook emails; the public has a right to know.

And, just in case you didn’t know (or couldn’t tell), I do communications for the ACLU-NJ.

Comments (3)

  1. Hopeful

    I read the official statements carefully at the time, and I am confident there is no $100 million for Newark schools. That is why they are engaged in a coverup. The decisions to overhype the gift will also be in the records.

  2. Jersey Jazzman

    If the people of Newark aren’t even allowed to run their own schools, at least they should be able to see where the money goes.

  3. Rosi Efthim

    on @bluejersey‘s account. Now going to tweet it from my own @Rosi_Efthim.  


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