Thursday, July 9, 2009

Transparency in City Government?

Surely you jest? In San Diego; with this mayor? I have to laugh every time I read an article from a political reporter, pundit or editor lauding the mayor for his lack of "Transparency." If you have kept up with the fight the Voice of San Diego has had for the last three and one half months with the mayor's office over a "Public Records Request" (PRR) it has been somewhat amusing. The VOSD was seeking information on a plan to cut water use employed by an orange county city. The Director of the City's Water Department had made some statements shown to be false (I wouldn't lie to you) and the VOSD was looking for information as to why he lied and what was being hidden about this plan that the mayor's office did not want to see the light of day.

The mayor's office is also, at the same time, in a struggle with the Union Tribune (Like anyone cares) over similar issues. In an editorial today, the Union Tribune complains of the tactics of the mayor in refusing PRR's. The editorial said in part; "It often appears when requested documents are more likely to embarrass the mayor, the tougher it is to get them. Explanations of why certain information is withheld is inconsistent – sometimes draft e-mails are mysteriously held to be privileged communication, sometimes not. Reporter's messages requesting access to public records are sometimes simply ignored." Why this comes as a surprise is a mystery to me. I can only assume, the Union Tribune thought, by endorsing the mayor, they somehow are owed better treatment from the mayor. Gosh, how could that be? I was always under the assumption the Union Tribune despised politicians who plied favor to supporters or those who supported politicians from receiving some perceived favor? I must have been mistaken or maybe it just applies to unions, city employees or lobbyists'; not the Union Tribune.

I have to laugh at the absurd ranting of the Union Tribune about the mayor's lack of "Transparency." Where have these people been during his reign as chief or head of the Red Cross or United Way? The Union Tribune is wrong on this account. The mayor IS as "Transparent" as they come. If you can't see through him, you are either blind or looking in the wrong direction.

In the coming months we will see a vote put forth by the mayor asking SDCERS members to vote to change the entry age for DROP. How he is going to pull this one off is going to be one hell of a show. He has contracts with Fire, MEA and City Attorney's. They agreed to leave the age entry alone for this period of time. This will be a fun show to watch as the mayor and city attorney spin this move. When this fails; the mayor will ask for an initiative to have taxpayers (voters) to remove the part of Charter Section 143.1 that requires a vote of the members of SDCERS to make these types of changes. The mayor is hell bent on eliminating DROP and reducing benefits as much as possible. He will not stop until this is done. This roller coaster is not finished; it has many more runs left.

While the mayor continues his assault on employee wages and benefits, he is planning and plotting the expansion of the Convention Center to the tune of ONE BILLION DOLLARS. He is not stopping there; he is planning and plotting a new "Taj Mahal City Hall" that will cost another ONE
BILLION DOLLARS. Then there is the Downtown Library or "Schoolbrary" that the city council and mayor are trying to pass off as a joint venture with the San Diego City School District. Where is this money coming from? I thought the city was broke?

The mayor is as transparent as a window missing its glass. If it makes him look good find a way to do it no matter what it takes (Break the law? Sure). On the other hand if it makes him look bad; hide it; lie about it; stonewall; or deny, deny, deny. Then there is the "Ignore" buttons on the phones in the mayor's office. If the reporter, labor leader, citizen, taxpayer or whomever is seeking answers to questions; if it might cause the mayor to look bad; put them on hold and go out for coffee. "Transparency in Government" is alive and well in the mayor's office. It is just the mayor who is transparent.


Just Wondering said...

I read in today's Voice of San Diego, the Mayor's office released 374 of the nearly 700 emails. What is our Mayor hiding from the people. He is suppose to be conducting the peoples business in our best interests but is not. We also learn from the some of the withheld emails there is a concerted effort to stymie investigations into inappropriate activities by the Mayor and his administration.

I hope the voice pursues the litigation to retrieve the remaining missing emails. To force Sanders and his cronies to drop the cloak of secrecy. He campaigned and promised openness and transparency in working of our city government. This has not been case. To use our Mayor's own words,... the city does not exist to support the Mayor's agenda or his desire for political gains. If there is nothing to hide from the public, if transparency and openness is a promise you intend to keep then it's time to release the remaining emails Jerry. Otherwise you're merely a liar.

To read about the ongoing saga by VoSD reporter Rob Davis follow this link: READ the Voice Article on Sanders withholding public records!

Anonymous said...

Sure is guilty of "delay, deny and deceive" = something he said he would change at City Hall...