Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Alamedans Demand More Access at Planning Board meeting

Activists for open government campaigned for the next generation in open meetings at the Alameda City Planning Board meeting last night. The so-called “Reverend Al Green Act” will strengthen the Ralph M. Brown Act, known also as California’s sunshine law.

The act is named after revered gospel/R&B singer Al Green who has taken to supporting openness in and through media. http://www.uspirg.org/html/consumer/archives/consumer_champions/index.html (January 14, 2007)

The Green Act will require that “all meetings that are scheduled to plan, discuss or think about public meetings must be open to the public and broadcast on television.” Speaker Brenda Tomlin spoke truth to power last night, when she took the mike and demanded that Alamedans be given greater access to the tedium and bureaucratic planning. Alamedans have been demanding to see how agendas are created and who is making the decisions on the formatting of city documents.

Under the Green Act, all meetings with city staff will be televised on AP&T Ch. 15 and warehoused on the city’s website. City Staff will wear wireless lapel microphones to make sure that cameras pick up every nuance of their discussions. Details for the plan, including what department will the expected 500 camera operators work for. The operators will be needed to follow all 685 city staff members around.

Alameda City Manager has released a statement saying “if The Amazing Race can send 11 teams of two people racing around the world with emmy-winning camera crews and create a dynamic viewing experience, I don’t see why the City of Alameda can’t do it.” City administrators were closed lipped as to whether they were in discussions with Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan.

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