“Members of the Keene City Council Friday were invited to join a national advocacy operation that international newsman and columnist Bill Moyers describes as a corporate bill mill which advances the interests of corporate backers by wining and dining friendly elected officials.
“An email invitation from the American City Council Exchange (ACCE), a sister organization to the Koch brother’s-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), was sent Friday to Keene City Council members’ city email addresses offering them a complimentary one-year membership in the organization.
“ALEC has been sending uniformly-drafted rightwing legislation to member state legislators since 1973, who in turn introduce the legislation in their respective state legislatures.”
I sent this to WMUR, WBCN-Boston, The Union Leader, The Keene Sentinel, and The Nashua Telegraph and others thinking that I was doing a public service by telling the media in my market that national partisan politics was being injected into a non-partisan, local city council process. Guess what? Not one media outlet replied or even made mention of it.
The latest Justin Bieber faux pas gets breaking news coverage, but a take over attempt of local government by the Koch brother’s-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) think tank gets nothing. Not a mention.
Let’s look at what these people say in their offer.
“The American City County Exchange is America’s only free market forum for local policymakers. In municipalities across America, people debate to find the best policy solutions, but the free market perspective is often left by the wayside. Working together, ACCE members learn from others’ challenges and evaluate how free market policies work when applied to local governments.
ACCE members receive academic research and analysis from policy experts who work with issues, processes and problem-solving strategies upon which local officials vote. Provided with important policy education, lawmakers become more informed and better equipped to serve the needs of their communities.”
They have invited members of the Keene City Council to join, free of charge for one year (a fifty dollar value), and to attend a convention that includes policy workshops in Public/Private Partnerships in Transportation, Priority Based Budgeting, Local Labor Issues (Right to Work, Collective Bargaining, Pensions, and Minimum Wage), Emergency Services, Community Development, Finance and Public Works.
Ask yourself, do you really want so-called free market policymakers deciding whether or not to fill pot holes on your street? You know what the answer will be, don’t you? Can you guess what the solutions to labor issues will be?
The legislative equivalent, ALEC, wines and dines legislators at the conventions – free of charge – then sends them home with an armload of prepackaged bills like “Stand Your Ground” laws. The ACCE aims to do the same with local issues.
Bottom line: why isn’t the media interested in a corporate takeover of local, non-partisan government? Where is the outrage? Which of your councilors will join, or have already joined the legislative branch, ALEC?
Or is Justin Bieber simply more interesting than the future of democracy?