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Original post made
on Apr 17, 2009
"A Well-Informed Populace Is Vital To The Operation Of A Democracy." I don't know who said that, or if I remember the quotation correctly, but that's what this issue is really about.
We have been dealing with this problem for some time. We are headed in the wrong direction. There are appropriate budget management, cost cutting measures to be taken by our administration. This isn't one of them. We want more information, not less. We want the transparency and openness that we are promised in each and every campaign speech our council candidates make, and then forget when they take office.
There needs to be a public outcry here. City Council, we demand that you restore our "summary" minutes. Failure to do so puts you on the side of those who would erode Democracy, not build it. Cut the budget elsewhere.
What's the city clerk going to do with all her free time?
My support for this council could be rated at about 9.5 early in its tenure, gradually (painfully) dropping to 5 in recent times, then plunging to a 0 with this short-sighted, unenlightened decision.
I don't want to accuse anyone of bad faith -- deliberately trying to sabotage the mechanism by which the public can stay informed -- but the alternative conclusion, to my mind, is that they lack thinking skills and a commitment to transparency.
Thank you Andy Cohen for your vote opposing this irresponsible action, and thank you Martin for your thoughtful words. Louie, you should take your snark to another forum -- one that reflects your lack of seriousness.
I add my voice to the outcry. Council, make your cost cuts elsewhere and don't mess with my ability to stay informed. Have you ever tried to follow the meeting on the webcast or video? What a joke.
Come on, council members, put your brains in gear and think this through. Act as if you believe in transparency, and understand that the people must be informed to sustain a democracy. Don't put more barriers in the way of an already time-constrained public. Let us have practical access to the public record of council meetings.
And thank you, Mr. Cohen, for your willingness to resist this action.
I agree with those who demand transparency in government. As a Member of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors, I am familiar with the problem. I would go the next step by demanding all meetings be recorded and posted on the Internet. Video is not out of the question. Hosts for such records are plentiful and within the budget of any government agency,(how does "free" sound?).
I occasionally post audio recordings of my board meetings on my website. My District refuses to provide me with free copies of these recordings on DVD , but allows me to listen to, and record them.
Many times, listening to the recordings and comparing them to revisionist interpretations of the minutes provided by the agency is enlightening. I urge members of the public to hold the council's feet to the fire by challenging those minutes when they come up for approval(usually on the consent calendar).
My District changes it's policy procedure for minutes similar to what your City Council is doing. This has resulted in critical information being overlooked.
But, let me assure you, we have a $350/hr attorney present to ensure that the "letter of the law" is followed, "spirit of the law" be damned!
I invite concerned citizens to join me in establishing a web-based oversight network for monitoring the People's agencies(school districts, city councils, etc.)
Visit my Political Advocacy Watch website at: www.PAWMeister.com
Rumor is Glen Rojas wants to hire an assistant for the city clerk.
Funny, I heard the same rumor about needing an ass't clerk.--- probably true then. So now we have a full time ass't city manager, when a part time person was more then adequate, 2 people in business development, community outreach person, 3 people in transportation, all of which have been added within the last few years. This council and manager are really on a spending binge.
Yet no money for minutes. Amazing.
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