Saturday, June 17, 2006

There Seems to be a CYA Memo Going Around

A memo that says something about just barely meeting the minimum requirements of the state and city public meetings laws. There seems to be a little more than mere carelessness followed by CYA realization, in the case of the big story, the one that people are talking about (started to link any blogger that mentioned it, but I'll just point out Markus' comment on Adrastos' post). The salient point is that so few people even know about the meeting to talk about it. Schroeder's colleague may well be correct about good faith:
1) That you didn't know about this meeting or the development of the CSO suggests that, while it is a good faith effort in moving forward, there remains a serious breakdown in public communication.

But this is far from being the first such breakdown in public communication. And no matter what your opinion about the decisions that led to the city's move to charter schools, you have to admit that there was very little communication about the decision making process. There may have been communication, just very few people around to receive it:
Today, Thursday, September 15, the Orleans Parish School Board voted to make Lusher School a charter school!

Frankly, I have mixed feelings about the move to charter schools. I'd probably be more open to it if most of the decisions hadn't been made in September. Not that I cared about going to school board meetings in September, I cared more about getting into my own neighborhood.

At least in those cases, one can imagine greed or other ulterior motive being behind the desire to to steamroll the decision making process. However, I found a flyer (in the staff lounge of a quasi-public building) yesterday morning announcing a public meeting to discuss possible cuts in RTA service. The flyer didn't give a date, but referred to the RTA website. It appears that a flyer was placed on June 16 (in a not very public place) to announce a June 16 meeting--it's possible that it was there earlier in the week, but highly unlikely that I'd have missed it. Moreover, a second glance at the flyer showed no date, but a reference to "tonight's (sic) meeting."

Although I can understand the desire of RTA officials to avoid potentially embarrassing questions, it would be hard to argue that greed or some other nefarious motive was behind the the desire to limit public input. It's probably just too much bother to give enough notice to have a large turnout for these (legally mandated) public meetings, and large public meetings can just get so noisy. Anyway, our public officials really already do know what's best, so it's not like they're actually going to learn anything from the people they represent. Why should they bother giving more than pro forma notice for the meetings that they're required to hold?

I can certainly understand the mindset. Speaking as someone who always knows what's best, I often wonder why I bother to listen to other people's opinions myself. Of course, I'm just a self-appointed asshole, not a publicly appointed one.

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