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Oct 10

Good-bye Transparency

Comments (0) 12:00 AM posted by admin |

Every time the City of Ypsilanti takes a step forward towards transparency in government, they take two steps back.

Foolishly I sent a note to one of my elected City Council members congratulating him on getting the Council Meeting packets online prior to Council Meetings. Now the people can see what the members of Council see. It sounds so simple (Ann Arbor has been doing it for years), but it feels so Democratic.

I said I foolishly sent this note because about ten minutes after I sent it, I noticed in the meeting minutes that the City Clerk will no longer put in the record what citizens say during the audience participation portion of Council Meetings. If you are out of town or unable to attend a meeting, you can no longer read the minutes and find out what normal, everyday residents feel and think. Had this new policy been in effect back in August, a person reading the minutes would have never learned about the outrage residents felt over the resolution to implement an income tax. Had this policy been in effect in September, a person reading the minutes would have never learned about the outrage downtown business owners felt over the debacle that has become the North Huron Street parking resurfacing.

Instead of publishing the audience participation notes, the City Clerk will make the cassette tapes available for 60 days after the meeting in question. To be fair, the City is not required by law to publish audience participation, but you have to wonder what their motives are in ending the policy of publishing said notes considering they have been publishing this information since before my time. It’s all pretty sad. And pathetic. But goddamn if it isn’t genius too.

Ypsilanti isn’t your City. It’s theirs.

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