As background for the readers of this blog, I am an agnostic concerning the proposed new charter. Chris Mathiesen has put forward what I think are some compelling arguments for a new charter while my wife, Jane Weihe, has made a strong case against the change.
I do have some thoughts, though, on the latest amendment adopted by the Charter Review Commission on Monday night.
The Commission offered the following additional language to their charter’s ethics section.
“B. It is the policy of the City that the activities of City government should be conducted in public to the greatest extent feasible in order to assure public participation and enhance public accountability.”
This amendment seems to suffer from the same oversell that has afflicted the whole charter change process.
I simply cannot restrain myself on this amendment. Ok, here are my snarky questions. How did this city manage to operate for so many years without this amendment requiring transparency and what will happen to the ethics of this city if the charter fails and this amendment is therefore not adopted? Why don’t we add to the charter’s section on ethics that our elected officials shall be required to tell the truth in their professional capacities? Let’s also require that the elected officials always be courteous to each other.
How, one might ask, will the admonition on transparency be enforced? Who will judge the city government on its adherence to this section of the charter? Who knows?
What does it say about the commission that they believe that the adoption of this amendment has some sort of significance?