Council fails scorecard... so farWhat with the court ruling that they committed illegal electioneering, and their poor attempts to fix it in a special session on Monday (except for Danny Thomas!), I know that the City Council has been busy.
No one has filled out the Open Government Scorecard.
Last week, I sent out the Open Government Scorecard by fax, email, and regular mail to all members of City Council to see how they respond. The Scorecard is an easy, step-by-step, walk through each specific reform asked for by the Open Government Online Amendment. It was designed to put aside some of the Council’s arguments that they support open government but that they do not support this amendment and to get each one to commit to reforming our city government.
The lone official response that I have received so far is from Lee Leffingwell, and he declined to fill out the Scorecard.
Mr. Leffingwell almost immediately sent back a response by email. He actually refused to answer the Open Government Scorecard because he wants to keep his open government ordinances secret. I am not kidding. This was said without one single shred of irony.
Here is the exact language he used, when asked if he would answer which open government reforms laid out in the Open Government Online Amendment he supports:
I AM STILL IN THE DISCUSSION STAGE WITH REGARD TO WRITING THE ORDINANCE, AND SO CAN'T COMMENT ON ANY ASPECT OF YOUR SCORECARD AT THIS TIME.You can read it for yourself here.
Apparently, it is important to keep discussions on open government a secret. Sounds more than a little funny to me. Secrecy must be a requirement of the job.
He wouldn’t commit to a timeframe for his plan to introduce his set of reforms either, leaving the voters with serious doubts as to whether he is just offering this possibility as yet another way to (ab)use his power as an elected official to try to dissuade the voters. When specifically asked about whether he would commit to opening up the City’s AMANDA system, which he seemed to say at the press conference, he declined to answer directly. He instead used a looser phrasing, saying only that this information “should” be posted online. Too bad he didn’t take the opportunity to address the more practical “how” and “when” rather than giving a bland wish to open up this process. The Open Government Online Amendment, however, does require this system to be open.
Leffingwell also seemed to acknowledge that the City's cost estimate is too high and their interpretation too broad when he stated he referred to the cost "potentially required" by the amendment. Now if he would just take the next step and realize what the OGO actually requires to be placed online and what THAT would cost, we would be approaching a rational debate on the topic. If he would fill it out, the Open Government Scorecard might help clarify things for him.
I went to check the mail this morning to see if anyone else had bothered to respond, but no Scorecards were waiting in the box. I called each Council member’s office to ask if they were planning on responding, but either got voicemail or a staffer saying that they will check on it. I am still holding out some hope that one of them will take a small amount of time to answer the simple questions I asked. But since I said April 3rd for a deadline, this is your update.
Email the council and tell them you want them to answer the scorecard.