IS IT TRUE? PART 2 June 27, 2011 Freedom of Information for the City Council???


President James Madison

IS IT TRUE? PART 2 June 27, 2011 Freedom of Information for the City Council???

IT IS TRUE that two members of the Evansville City Council have been requesting information that is pertinent to their capacity to serve as informed members of Council for three months now?…that the information that they have requested is very much under the control of the Office of Mayor Weinzapfel, Arena project manager John Kish, and/or the Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development?…that the two Evansville City Councilman whose requests have been denied by silence are 5th Ward City Councilman John Friend in 1st Ward City Councilman Dan McGinn?…that the City County Observer officially offers to write Freedom of Information Act requests fee gratis for both of these gentlemen for any request that they would like to make?…that elected officials who are the selected stewards of the City of Evansville should never ever be denied access to information that will help them do their sworn duties better?

IS IT TRUE that James Madison observed, “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both?”…that for the City of Evansville to deny information to members of the Evansville City Council has indeed been prologue to a farce or two or three or four right here in River City?…that the Executive Inn Dilemma, the quagmire down at the McCurdy Hotel, the Homestead Tax Grab, and the convoluted method in which Tom Barnett was paid his deserved and market rate salary are all products of what at times appears to be a secret society of city government?…that we truly hope that this prologue to farce does not prove Madison fully correct by becoming tragedy?…that the next 34 days will go a long way in determining if Evansville’s farces become tragedies with respect to the Executive Inn and the McCurdy as the Bells of the Day of Reckoning are poised to ring once again?

IS IT TRUE that federal government efforts to evade the constraints of separation of powers, judicial review, checks and balances and democratic accountability, has hidden its actions from public view for many years and over several administrations now?…that our federal government developed and executed its policies in secret, denied information to Congress, abused the process for classifying information, and narrowly interpreted the Freedom of Information Act all for our collective benefit?…that it seems as though the Evansville City Council is being treated with the same contempt that the Congress must be getting used to?…that those who think this is wrong on the federal level should certainly see similar actions from local government to be just as undermining of one of the tenets of good public policy?…that transparency is and should forever be expected of all governments especially local ones that deal with local issues?

IS IT TRUE that it has now been 1,518 days since the announcement was made on May 14, 2007 that the McCurdy Hotel was to be refurbished into luxury apartments?…that it has now been 1,371 days since the Evansville Redevelopment Commission at the request of Mayor Weinzapfel approved the spending of $603,000 to purchase the parking lot?…that City Centre Properties and Scott Kosene the developers of the McCurdy project are both listed as contributors to the Weinzapfel for Mayor committee for 2010?

IS IT TRUE that there are now 491 days remaining in the two years that the EPA had given the City of Evansville to present an acceptable solution to the Combined Sewer Overflow problem?…..that this plan is an expensive and complex endeavor that needs immediate attention to avoid the embarrassment and expense of another round of fines?

IS IT TRUE that we are very curious to see just how much money is allocated in the 2012 City of Evansville budget to design a solution to the CSO problem that will hopefully meet with EPA approval?…that the design fees associated with a $500 Million construction project are not trivial and need to be budgeted for?



    ” Of what he said,” says M. Constant, ” I shall only give what I consider indispensable; but in what I do give, it will be his real words that I shall report. He did not attempt to deceive me ; neither as to his views, nor in regard to the state of things. He did not at all present himself as corrected by the lessons of adversity. He showed no wish to take to himself the merit of returning to liberty through inclination. He coldly examined, with reference to his own interest, and with an impartiality too akin to indifference, what was practicable, and what ought to be preferred. ‘ The nation,’ said he to me,* has reposed twelve years from all political agitation : during one year it has rested also from war: this double quiet has given it a need for fresh activity. It accordingly demands a tribune, and popular assemblies. It has not always wished for these. Did it not throw itself at my feet when I first came to the government ? You ought to recollect this, for you are one who then attempted opposition. Where was your support, where your strength ? Nowhere. I took less authority than I was invited to take:— but to-day all is changed in this respect. A feeble government, at variance with the national interests, has given to these interests the habit of holding themselves on the defensive, and has permitted the questioning and teasing of authority. The taste for constitutions, debates, and harangues appears to be revived:—and yet, don’t deceive yourself,—it is only the minority that has this taste. The people,— or if you like it better, the multitude,—has no wish but for me. You were not there to see the crowd pressing around my steps, precipitating itself from the tops of mountains,—calling to me, seeking me, saluting me! In my journey from Cannes to Paris, here, 1 had no need to conquer—I reigned.—I am not the emperor of the soldiers only, as has been said of me,—but of the peasants, the plebeians of France. You accordingly see, in spite of all the past, that the people return to me. There is a sympathy between us. It is not the same thing with the privileged orders. The nobles have served me, it is true; they poured by crowds into my antechambers. There was not a place at my disposal, which they did not accept, solicit, demand! I have had the Montmorencis, the Noailles, the Rohans, the Beauvais, the Mortemarts;—but there never was a fellow feeling between us: the steed pranced gallantly,

  2. “First ask yourselves, Gentlemen, what an Englishman, a Frenchman, and a citizen of the United States of America understand today by the word ‘liberty’. For each of them it is the right to be subjected only to the laws, and to be neither arrested, detained, put to death nor maltreated in any way by the arbitrary will of one or more individuals. It is the right of everyone to express their opinion, choose a profession and practice it, to dispose of property, and even to abuse it; to come and go without permission, and without having to account for their motives or undertakings. It is everyone’s right to associate with other individuals, either to discuss their interests, or to profess the religion which they or their associates prefer, or even simply to occupy their days or hours in a way which is more compatible with their inclinations or whims. Finally, it is everyone’s right to exercise some influence on the administration of the government, either by electing all or particular officials, or through representations, petitions, demands to which the authorities are more or less compelled to pay heed. Now compare this liberty with that of the ancients. The latter consisted in exercising collectively, but directly, several parts of the complete sovereignty; in deliberating, in the public square, over war and peace; in forming alliances with foreign governments; in voting laws, in pronouncing judgments; in examining the accounts, the acts, the stewardship of the magistrates; in calling them to appear in front of the assembled people, in accusing, condemning or absolving them. But if this was what the ancients called liberty, they admitted as compatible with this collective freedom the complete subjection of the individual to the authority of the community.” (Benjamin Constant 1767-1830)

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