Thursday, October 04, 2012

Chanting "Mayor Berry is quite contrary"

protestors outside the Dixon Award ceremonies challenged the decision of the NM FOG to give Mayor Richard Berry a Dixon.

Being a Hero of Transparency is not about how much low hanging fruit can be hung on a website, it is about how hard you make it to get to the records and meetings, they don't want you to see.  Records and meetings that enjoy no ethical exception under the NM IPRA or Open Meetings Act.

Those records should be easily and immediately available.  If you make them so, you're a hero, maybe.  If you don't; you are no hero and there is no doubt about it.

The last time a couple of NM FOG board members got together, Marty Esquivel and Kent Walz,  gave APS Supt Winston Brooks a Dixon Award for bunch a data dump; data that doesn't include spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd, or the findings of any of several independent audits of their character and competence.

Brooks, Esquivel and Walz are covering up a cover up of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.  And using a Dixon Award for cover.  There seems to be more than a little evidence that the Award is being given to people who don't deserve it.

In principle, there are only two kinds of public records and meetings, those the IPRA and Open Meetings Act explicitly and specifically shield from public knowledge, and those they don't.  In practice there is a third; records and meetings that are not excepted from transparency laws, but that politicians and public servants want to hide.  Again back to APS, for an illustrative example;
APS, Brooks, Esquivel, Maes, et al are holding in their hands, findings of three investigations of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.  The findings are public records and ethical redactions of them enjoy no exception under the law, yet they refuse to surrender them to public knowledge.
In his acceptance of the Dixon, Berry acknowledged the protestors and the importance of the First Amendment; specifically in regard to freedom of speech and the press.

Yet when push comes to shove, Berry has no problem denying  the free exercise of press rights of modern day political pamphleteers; bloggers.

I hold Richard Berry personally responsible for my city government's refusal to recognize our First Amendment right to be the press.  The right was articulated with the political pamphleteers of the day in mind.  Berry either cannot or will not see that bloggers are the political pamphleteers of the digital age and fully deserving of Constitutional protection of their human right to be the press; even the pain in the ass press.  Especially the pain in the ass press.

And yet, Berry, according to an unidentified handful of FOG Directors, is a Hero of Transparency.

I know a Hero of Transparency.

Richard Berry is no hero.

During her part of the ceremony, Diane Diamond argued that members of the media sometimes tell "the inconvenient truth".  They do, sometimes.  And when they do, they become the "inconvenient" press and their access is restricted.

Berry thinks he can restrict the access of bloggers because as a rule, they tend towards in-convenience.

Richard Berry is no hero.

photo Mark Bralley

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