The US government was created by, for and of the people and operates at the ‘consent’ of the governed. Governments provide and maintain infrastructure and services for the public benefit and are also charged with maintaining order and enforcing public safety. The US Constitution is designed to ensure government serve the people for the public good without also violating certain inalienable rights of the individual.

Coequal branches of government, legislative, judicial and executive were established to protect our civil liberties from abuses of power by any one branch. Oversight is a responsibility and right of the public. In order to participate in their governance and ensure against abuses of power the public are provided access to public information and given opportunity to testify and exercise their rights.

Elected officials are sworn to uphold the constitution before entering office nevertheless Congress recently passed a bill that eviscerates the fourth amendment, relinquishes its legislative authority and eliminates court oversight of wiretapping. If that wasn’t enough, Congress removed, retroactively, any rights of the citizen to seek judicial remedy for warrant less snooping. Congress passed this bill when 70% of the Senate, those not on the Intelligence Committee, did not even know what they were granting immunity for.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “They that can give up essential liberty for a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”. Americans are expected to accept on faith, absent any and all transparency and under the guise of national security that the violation of our individual privacy is for the public good.

Without judicial or other oversight we are expected to believe on faith that those administering policies that affect citizens are both competent and qualified and any results beneficial to the public good. This is true at the local level as well where lack of transparency or difficulty in obtaining public information limit oversight as well.

Recently, an applicant for the position of police chief in Coquille who took the time to research the city took an interest in the Leah Freeman case. After reading the limited files available online, the applicant, a seasoned investigator from Georgia believed he could bring some resolution to this eight year old case.

The investigator, anxious to bring resolution to the family was willing to fly out and work the case for nothing more than expenses. To that end, he wrote DA, Paul Frasier, cited his credentials and requested an opportunity to view the case files to assist in solving this murder. Frasier denied his request citing secrecy in the case.

Sadly, locally just as nationally, the public are prohibited from assessing the competence and progress of their paid public servants. We are all too often expected to accept on faith that the jobs we are paying for are being administered correctly, competently and to the benefit of the public at large despite a lack of results or supporting evidence.