This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Cities shying away from the public
Over the last two years of writing the Duel, the lack of accountability in government at every level has come up often. But as prior City Hall writers have discovered, there’s never a lack of material when it comes to civic politics.
So why are so many people asleep at the wheel?
The people you elected last fall are now serving four-year terms and the decisions made by mayors and councils often impact our lives directly — and not always for the best. You’re doing yourself a disservice when you don’t pay attention to civic decisions.
I suspect that lack of attention is just fine with some civic politicians because the less you are paying attention, the easier their jobs are. And perhaps that’s part of why getting accountability on their actions (or inaction) and what should be public information is increasingly difficult.
Between websites that are difficult to use, councils that eliminate question periods, and a lack of meaningful public consultation, there’s a strong sense of disconnect among many residents across Metro Vancouver.
Compounding the problem is the lack of knowledge many people have of how city halls process development applications and stage public hearings, or how to speak at a council meeting work. While the onus falls on each of us to keep informed, the process needs to be a two-way street.
For example, cities like White Rock that have removed public question period at council meetings justify the decision by saying residents can apply to speak as a delegation. But they fail to tell the public they don’t have to approve those requests.
That small question period is, for many, the only unfettered access to civic politicians that people have…
READ the rest of this weeks column, comment or share at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2015/05/27/cities-shying-away-from-the-public
It’s been a very busy week which accounts for the lack of posts but having just caught up on the mornings breaking news of the deleted emails FOI scandal of the BC Liberals, I’ll try to have a post up on that soon. Good grief.