Open City

Mayor Supports Open Public Access to City Information

By RTH Staff
Published June 10, 2011

In an email response to Larry Pattison Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina clarified his position on public access to city information. The Mayor also copied his message to the original signatories to last week's Joint Statement on Media Access at City Hall.

Here is the text of his message:

One of my priorities as Mayor has been to bring more information to the public, not less. I was asked the day after the election what my first priority was, and answered "live streaming of all committee and Council meetings". That was accomplished within two months of my taking office.

This is important because media often picks and chooses what stories to cover and what angle to take. The closer the public can get to the daily business of their Council, whether by streaming, requests for information, broader and more thorough coverage through media, including blogs, etc., the better.

The offices of Mayor and City Manager were the first to publicly support the concept of "Open Data". We are now reviewing all matters related to communications and public information. The public will have an opportunity to give input, and final decisions will be in the hands of Council.

Yesterday, City Manager Chris Murray outlined the process to be followed in reviewing the City's media relations and social media policies.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:56:06

Win-win?

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By Kate (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2011 at 14:36:36

They haven't exactly advertised this.

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By Bruce Springsteen (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2011 at 14:40:08

So do Bob and Peggy disagree on the whole "if you have a boss" thing, or what?

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted June 10, 2011 at 18:50:33

I'm glad Bob Bratina has finally expressed an opinion on the matter of transparency at City Hall, and specifically the role of new media.

I agree with him when he says:

"The closer the public can get to the daily business of their Council, whether by streaming, requests for information, broader and more thorough coverage through media, including blogs, etc., the better."

Funny thing is, his Chief of Staff, Peggy Chapman, did not seem to communicate the same belief when she was on the Bill Kelly Show. If Bob is letting the public know his position, presumably he has had a chat with Peggy about their differing views, or certainly their very different ways of expressing what I suspect they will say was a common view.

As for Bob's push for live streaming as a top priority after taking office, the renovation of City Hall always included new technology for live streaming. If Bob wants to take credit for something on which he was one vote of 15, I can let that go. Lloyd Ferguson was singing the praises of the new streaming equipment long before I ever heard Bob Bratina mention it. Let's all give Bob 100 out of 100 for media spin.

As long as we have access to information just as soon as it is available to the public, I can overlook a certain level of revisionism.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted June 12, 2011 at 13:16:28

The closer the public can get to the daily business of their Council, whether by streaming, requests for information, broader and more thorough coverage through media, including blogs, etc., the better.

I'll take the Mayor at his word. However...

However, I seem to be wearing a cynicism patch where genuine and authentically positive regard is expressed for the public becoming more and more involved with what goes on in their local governance. I feel substantial doubt that just about ANYONE who has a job to do...whether elected or appointed...regards the changing of process with anything other than a cringe...and a hunkering-down.

Sorry for this negativity, but my -admittedly small- scope of what the standard response tend to be to 'public involvement' leaves me feeling that territory is not ceded willingly. Especially by 'City Staff'.

Yeah, that 'Culture of Obstructionism' I've referred to previously is far more deeply -and widely- entrenched than even some of the articles here would suggest.

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