Portland City Council: "We like hiding stuff"

I see that the Portland City Council has trashed a proposal to have an ombudsman at City Hall to make sure the city isn't jerking people around when they want to see public records. It's no wonder. The politicians and bureaucrats in this town make a mockery of freedom of information on daily basis. And so of course they'll vote no on having to change their ways. It's rushed, it's not well thought-out, you didn't clear it with our staffs, it needs more public involvement, blah blah blah.

OPB has the story here.

During Wednesday’s council meeting, Atlanta’s city transparency officer, Kristen Denius, shared details of her position, which is very similar to Portland’s proposal....

She was joined by former City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade, former City Ombudsman Michael Mills and former Oregon Public Records Advocate Ginger McCall in testifying in support of the proposal. Former Secretary of State Phil Keisling also submitted testimony in support of the position. He said that the proposal pairs well with the planned overhaul of the city’s government structure in 2024.

“At this critical moment in city history… I believe creating this Transparency Advocate position would assist our dedicated public servants better do the public’s work,” Keisling wrote, “and serve to engender greater public trust in that work.”

Yet, commissioners weren’t convinced.

Of course they weren't. Because they hate having the light of day fall on their precious handiwork. 

“Over the past years, Portland has unfortunately developed a reputation for secrecy,” said Jude al-Ghazal Stone, representing the ACLU of Oregon during council testimony Wednesday. “There are several issues that emphasize our city’s need for a transparency advocate within the auditor’s office: lack of community trust, lack of transparency, inefficacy, and inequity.”...

The proposal initially came from the city’s charter review commission, a group tasked with suggesting improvements to the city’s founding document every 10 years... The group proposed a second — and final — round of recommendations in December. That included the idea of adding a transparency advocate to City Hall, a suggestion pitched by government watchdog advocates Open Oregon, the ACLU of Oregon, the League of Women Voters, and the Oregon chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Shame especially on Mapps and Gonzalez, who ought to know better. Oh well. It's like everything else around here, from putting body cams on the cops to getting the junkies off the sidewalks. The voters make clear what they want, but this crew can't, and won't, get the job done.


  1. You know who I smell all over this? That awful city attorney's office.

  2. Wooden stake? Silver bullets?


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