To the average citizen most agency transparency efforts are clear as mud.
While federal, state, county and city agencies profess to have robust public transparency policies, it is a very difficult process to navigate. The key is getting discernable information that is useful. It is almost a full time job to extract information that makes sense. Unless you are a numbers geek or have unlimited time and resources, this is a discouraging proposition. And we think the agencies want it that way.
Public agencies play the transparency game but the general public typically loses, especially black people. Agency politicians and bureaucrats are busy protecting their positions and performance in an effort to get re-elected or make the next pay raise. We found this to be particularly true when trying to extract information about the Sellwood Bridge construction project.
The other exasperating phenomenon is that even when black folks know the truth about their sure demise, they are sadly quiet. JoAnn Hardesty always quotes Dr. King. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our white friends also must definitely speak up and champion the cause of true transparency and equity.
We are asking the public (YOU) to weigh in by letting the politicians know you support our efforts to tell the truth about who is benefiting from public expenditures. Do that now by sending the Coalition of Black Men a donation designated for the Equity Scoreboard project http://cobmportland.org/and a letter and/or email to Governor Kitzhaber, Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, Tri-Met’s Neil McFarlane, Tom Hughes at Metro, and Bill Wyatt at the Port of Portland. Please cc me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a reference link that might help guide you in making personal request: http://www.doj.state.or.us/pdf/public_records_and_meetings_manual.pdf