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Tag Archive: Corporate accountability

OpenGov Voices: “Don’t get mad. Get data!”


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog. Brad Lichtenstein is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and president of 371 Productions, a Milwaukee-based company that makes media and technology projects for the common good. BizVizz is a corporate accountability mobile app inspired by his latest film, As Goes Janesville, which premiered on the PBS series, Independent Lens. He can be reached at @bradleylbar In 1973, I got into a fight with an older, big, mean 8 year old because he (or more likely his parents) loved Nixon. In my squeaky kid-rage voice I screamed that Nixon was a criminal who lied to us. He pushed me down then promptly kicked me out of our neighborhood car city. I fought back by sneaking out that night to sabotage his area. I remember this story vividly some 30 years later because it reminds me of how intense the feeling of rage can be and how useless it is to vent it in destructive ways. BizVizzBizVizz, our corporate accountability app, was born by a similar rage. Toward the end of As Goes Janesville, my PBS/Independent Lens documentary about a GM town trying to recover from their century-old plant’s shutdown, the city council votes to approve a $9 million incentive package for Shine Medical Technologies. That’s 20% of the town’s budget for a medical isotope startup that has pitted cities against each other to leverage tax breaks in exchange for the promise of jobs. The risk wasn’t what made me seethe so much as the way the city council and town leaders acted in the dark, subverting transparency by never disclosing the results of a third party audit of the company nor holding a public hearing despite the fact that taxpayers were footing the bill. Score another defeat for democracy.

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