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Monday, November 14, 2011

Citizen Voice Pie...

Tasty morsels of assembly pie are sometimes buried down near the bottom and in some cases items won't make it in until right before the final crust is tucked on with those fancy edges and popped in the oven. On tomorrow night's assembly agenda is Resolution 11-153 that is presented as a bit of housekeeping brought forward from legislation passed earlier this year regarding policy and procedures of the assembly and mayor.  

The resolution is using the assembly whisk broom to sweep up and insert another "whereas clause" because we know resolutions can never have enough of those. This one makes it clear that this current resolution supersedes all prior resolutions until well ...the next time to supersede. Another item to go in the dustpan is removal of language from a time when audience participation occurred after the consent agenda and with the new sheriff and posse in town that pretty much occurs now before the consent agenda with no set time so there is no reason to keep any unneeded public comment clogging up the assembly water wheel. 

Couple of bouncing balls to keep your eye on tomorrow night.  Assembly member Keogh has introduced an amendment to be added to the legislation (D) During meetings, use of laptop computers, cell phones or other mobile communication devices by assembly members and the mayor to communicate with a person or entity is prohibited.  And it's not because the assemblyman isn't a fan of technology.  

Right before Alaska was wrapped tight around the wheel of the Veco scandal there was a now famous speech from former House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz  that said in part  "this is our floor. No telephone call is supposed to change what we're doing.  No lobbyist is suppose to peer over the railing and tell us to change our mind.  It never should happen"  and oh boy was he right. The light came on and a few legislators ended up with new   undesirable forwarding address.   

In the borough we are without the rail and a few less lobbyists but there was an assembly meeting not long ago that might have spurred assembly member Keogh to attempt to include this amendment now.  That meeting during an at ease called by the mayor one assembly member from his seat in China asked another member seated at the table to "return his text". Unfortunately for him but fortunately for the public his teleconferenced call was still coming in loud and clear. It gave everyone pause then and should now. So just what was going on beyond the public venue? It became abundantly clear that technology has rushed past legislation and this amendment is an attempt to correct that. It is to ensure that all communication, to, from Assembly members while the Assembly members are sitting at the table is known to the public. Hopefully even the most ethically challenged will see the sense in adopting this policy for the mayor and assembly.  If it does give a member pause well then that should give voters pause. Surely we can put down our electronic leashes long enough to do the people's business in a transparent way.  

What else might be added to the "pie" before its popped in the oven in the name of house-keeping or efficiency we won't know until tomorrow night.  Providing opportunity for the public to weigh in doesn't seem to be a big priority for some members of this assembly and it might make some "boiling mad". It is also possible some additional language cranking down on that pesky public comment period even more might be introduced.  Not allowing the public to weigh in might work well to further political or ideological agendas, but its a costly mistake in so many ways.  We'll save that soap box for another post.  Pretty clear that opportunity will present itself all too frequently. 

If you can't convince yourself that throwing on your warmest puffy jacket to attend tomorrow's MSB assembly meeting starting at 6pm you can always tune in to Radio Free Palmer who will be streaming it. At least you will be able to hear what's going in the pie.


  1. I just started reading this blog...great stuff...keep it going! You watch the Assembly so the rest of us don't have to ;))

    THANK you...

  2. Thanks but there is entirely more fun that one person can handle. Tell your valley friends!

  3. Well done. Word will spread thanks to this blog. Looks like a bit more light shines through each day on the shenanigans of the Matsu Borough back room deal makers.