GREENSBORO, NC -- I'm inclined to agree with Rhino Times editor John Hammer when he writes: "Council seems fine with building a huge wall between government and the people."
Why? Because of council's actions—or rather, their inaction. They are taking no action to participate in or make the public partners in the changes underway to the City's public records procedures. It's just not that important to this Council.
Trees are important. Council formed a subcommittee to examine the tree cutting ordinance.
Substandard housing is important. There is a subcommittee for housing.
There is a subcommittee for economic development and one for downtown entertainment facilities.
Mayor Robbie Perkins now wants to form a subcommittee to accommodate the interest of "young professionals" in influencing downtown.
When an important issue needs a sustained effort with everybody at the table, council forms a subcommittee.
They will not do so for public records. Transparency and openness—and the accountability they bring—are bedrocks, fundamentals without which everything else is in jeopardy, yet City staff have been behind closed doors for seven weeks crafting new policies that clamp down on access to public records that they only now want to "explain" to the public with a day of meetings. These meetings are not to collaborate, but to give the imprimatur of legitimacy to a one-way, top down, exclusive process.
By their inaction, Council approves.
As the Bible says, "Ye shall know them by their fruits," and lip service on transparency and openness are not going to cut it in the next election.