No Transparency With Downtown Parking Committee
By Anna Marie Gott
Madam Mayor and City Council Members,
I attended the Downtown Parking's Finance Sub-Committee meeting on Wednesday. I was SHOCKED and DISTURBED that the FIRST thing that Victor Garza, the Downtown Parking Superintendent, sought to do BEFORE the meeting started was to DEMAND that the meeting NOT BE RECORDED by requesting that the recording in progress be "turned OFF." No sensitive matters were discussed and prior to this ALL meetings had been recorded to ensure that Minutes were accurate.
I believe that this DEMAND was requested to ensure that a recording of this meeting NOT be available to the Public or any interested party. I mention this because a number of Public Records Requests were made recently by an acquaintance of mine for this reviewing body. As required, the City provided these recordings because they had NOT been destroyed prior to the request. - One can only speculate that someone at the City did not want this or future recodings released to the Public.
Victor Garza's action, at the start of the meeting where Rob Dayton was in attendance, precluded ANY recording to take place. This is VERY disturbing and it begs the following questions:
Why is anyone on the City Staff DEMANDING that Public Meetings NOT be recorded?
What is the City or the Downtown Parking Committee hiding or afraid of?
What does this say about the City's desire to be open and transparent?
One can only hope that the City Council puts an immediate STOP to this practice by Staff and that it ensures that the Public can hear how each Board, Commission or Committee conducts it's meetings.
If the City Council does nothing it becomes an inescapable fact that the City allows secrecy, is allergic to transparency, is ethically compromised and it is hostile to residents who desire to understand what happens during Public Meetings. - In essence the City will be following Trump's lead to prevent open records and their role in democracy.
I urge you to ensure that all Public Meetings be recorded and made available to the Public beginning immediately. Thank you in advance for your attention to this very urgent matter.