Government Accountability

Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.

<p>Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.</p>

When I arrived at the Goldwater Institute more than 10 years ago as 29-year-old political neophyte, I was dispatched by the board of directors to meet with then-Speaker of the House Jane Hull. I was surprised at how happy she was to meet someone she didn't know.

I soon realized she would have been happy to meet anyone who was about to replace the first president of the Goldwater Institute, Michael Sanera. Sanera had proved to be a constant irritant to Speaker Hull and many other public officials.

Guest Opinion

Tucson's city officials are having second thoughts about building an aquarium as part of the Rio Nuevo downtown development project. Given the shaky financial state of aquariums nationwide, second thoughts are in order.

The aquarium boom has cost more than $1 billion and resulted in many bankruptcies. Now that they've got their thinking caps on, city officials should have another look at Rio Nuevo itself.

Rio Nuevo is an ambitious example of the Downtown Disneyland theory of urban redevelopment.

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. - Thomas Jefferson

There are more than 87,000 local governments in the nation (639 of them in Arizona). Therefore, the average voter and even the most dedicated researcher might be forgiven for not knowing what many governments are doing. Without more open government, voters will remain uninformed and government unaccountable.

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

In February, Congress overwhelmingly passed and President Clinton quickly signed into law the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (called TA96 in this report). The Act amends the Communications Act of 1934. Under the philosophy of the 1934 Act, telecommunications was considered a "natural monopoly" that needed to be regulated. The 1934 Act created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do the regulating at the federal level, leaving state regulation to State regulatory commissions.


There are two strategies public agencies may use to ensure private contractors perform as desired.  The first is to focus on inputs and include in the contract specifications how a job is to be performed and with what inputs.  The second strategy is to focus on outcomes.  Performance-based contracting is a contracting system that concentrates on intended results and incorporates incentives for the contractor to achieve them.

Phoenix--Congress is considering whether to expand the reach of the federal Clean Water Act. But is expanding a law designed for water-rich environments like Florida good for the drought-stricken deserts of Arizona? A new report from the Goldwater Institute says no.

Phoenix--More than 100 candidates running for office in Arizona this year are committed to making government more transparent. 116 incumbents and challengers running for almost every office, from every county, and from across the political spectrum, signed a pledge to prove their commitment to open government.

Phoenix--Tom Preston has owned and operated Virtual Reality, a tattoo studio in Mesa, for 14 years, with no consumer complaints or legal infractions. But when he and his wife, Elizabeth, sought to open a new studio in a vacant storefront in a strip mall on Scottsdale Road in Tempe, the City Council gave him a resounding no.

Phoenix's debate is brewing in Arizona over a voter initiative aimed at ending racial and gender preferences in government employment, contracting, and at universities. Opponents of the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative say there are no preference programs in Arizona to end and the initiative is a solution in search of a problem.