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Council members Cline and Cohen call for "Open Government Initiative"

Original post made by Rory Brown, Almanac staff writer, on Feb 21, 2007

Menlo Park City Council members Richard Cline and Andy Cohen sent a letter to the rest of the council calling for more transparency in how the city does its business. They've created a list of objectives to help make that happen, and labeled the goals an "Open Government Initiative." The first objective is to establish an Audit/Finance Committee which would review the city's fiscal situation on a monthly basis.

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Comments (7)

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Posted by Responsible Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 22, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Thank you, Andy and Rich. Cohen and Cline are to be commended for their position regarding open government and the establishment of an Audit/Finance Committee. What they are addressing is both the council process and critical issues like budget. This is the foot in the door we have been waiting for. Let’s see if the entire Council participates in negotiating their proposals and let’s see who on the Council supports these and other reforms. Then, let's see which of these proposals become reality. Now, more than ever, it behooves all of us in Menlo Park to let the Council know what we believe, what we want, and what we expect.

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Posted by Thrilled
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 22, 2007 at 12:40 pm

This is a huge step on the part of the new council, not only demonstrating unprecedented (at least in recent years) regard for the public and for concerns expressed by many but also showing leadership by Mssrs Cline and Cohen.

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Posted by ElectionWatcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 22, 2007 at 3:33 pm

The best news to come out of this new council so far - kudos to Cline and Cohen!

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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 22, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Let me add my appreciation to Council Members Cline and Cohen for taking the leadership in the much needed effort. Surely all Menlo Park residents should applaud these objectives.

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Posted by Gadfly
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Feb 22, 2007 at 4:59 pm

I'd suggest anyone interested in joining the audit/finance committee take a look at some of Woodside's past budgets for ideas on how Menlo Park could do a better job of organizing its financial information.

A municipal budget is never a fun read, but out of all the local towns, Woodside stands out for having sensible budgets that are thorough AND easy to read, qualities that Menlo Park's budgets have been sadly lacking.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 26, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Some good ideas that I support in principle.

However, before any new reforms are adopted, I'd like to see the two council members proposing the OGI "walk-the-talk" and ask for reconsideration of the council's decision to shield our Green Ribbon Panel from the Brown Act at tomorrow's city council meeting.

If the council is not willing to enforce the spirit of our existing open government laws on such a high profile example, then why bother passing any new ones.

On the other hand, being willing to stand up for the principles of the “Open Government Initiative” – with or without any new laws – will have a profound impact on the behavior of staff and council.

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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 5, 2007 at 6:17 am

I think that Rich is still finding his way on council and has followed Kelly on some pretty bad policy decisions. I hope that he starts voting his conscious and the views of those of us who got him elected. If he does, I think he could be a powerful moderate voice on the council.

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