Watson misrepresents OGOThe letter was recently sent by Karin Ascot to Kirk Watson
Dear former Mayor Watson,
I was disturbed to hear your misrepresentations on the robocall I received today with your voice recording. Opponents of the charter amendments (Props 1 and 2) have been using ridiculous tactics to scare people away from voting for open government, and it’s sad to know you have jumped on the bandwagon. I was particularly annoyed at two particular assertions you made.
In the first place, you are surely aware that the Open Government Online amendment would not invade people’s privacy. It would merely give citizens more insight into business at city hall. Yes, it might slow things down a bit and get a little messy, not what the mayor really wants when he’s in the midst of a big deal; but this is our government and our money, and the public process is important, even when inconvenient for elected officials.
Contrary to frequent assertions, the amendment does not require emails to go online instantly. The language reads, “The City must, as expeditiously as possible and to the greatest extent practical, make all public information available online in real time and accessible to the public.” It requires email to be archived. There is no Big Brother provision to bug phone calls of citizens to city hall. There is no requirement for a stenographer to be present when a council member meets with a developer, only a provision that the public is entitled to know that such a meeting occurred. The hysterical and exaggerated claims of your side certainly make a person wonder what there is to hide, as you all continue to distort the truth even in the face of Judge Yelenosky’s ruling.
Even more offensive, however, is your claim about the amendments being drafted in secret by a small group of people. -- Of course this objection is rather disingenuous, considering that SOSA and other non-profits do not, like the government, collect taxes and make laws, so it is really not the same thing at all as when council makes decisions without public input. -- But the real point is that you personally were contacted by SOS well before the petition drive began and were asked for your input; but you never took time to respond. It might be fair for you now to say you don’t support the amendments, but to complain about their being written in secret when you yourself were contacted multiple times is outrageous. For a seasoned attorney and council member like yourself, it should have been a matter of a couple of hours to analyze them and offer an opinion at a time when your comments could have been usefully incorporated. Instead you refused to participate. Your actions certainly throw your motives into question.