Local activists’ requests are form of harassment | Letters | Aug. 7
August 6, 2009 · 3:26 PM
The actions of three of our local activists are stifling progress. They have submitted literally hundreds of requests for information from our city.
On the one hand, they decry the performance of our city’s administration, and then further impede that performance by throwing it all kinds of public document requests (PDR).
Most of us have no idea what it costs us taxpayers to comply with these requests. Just imagine if you had to comply with an estimated 1,700 requests – based on the city’s PDRs the previous year.
The city staff (the equivalent of one full-time employee, which we pay for) of those few people we have left to do this job is very time consuming and costly. This means that other important work cannot be accomplished.
Just imagine if you had to search your cell phone and computer records over a period of several years for myriad specified items and list them, editing out any personal information.
How much would it cost you? Would you have time for anything else?
This latest unfair, and in my view self-driven request, by Dennis Vogt, is for 14 subject items stored on city-owned computers and cell phones the past 19 months.
He’s also singling out four of our city councilors for the same record of their personal computers and cell phones – apparently because these four voted for issues concerning repairing our failing sewer system and the Strawberry Plant Park, which he opposes.
This “fishing expedition” is not only unfair but is a vicious personal and very costly form of harassment. Further, it is politically divisive.
In all fairness, why weren’t the other three councilors – Debbie Vancil, Kim Bracket, and Bill Knobloch – included?
In order to level the playing field I considered asking for an identical PDR that would include those three councilors, but realized it would only increase the city’s burden and that two wrongs wouldn’t make it right.
We voted, overwhelmingly (69 percent) for change, yet the same problems persist.
The same people are raising hell, frustrating that change. Don’t they have something better to do? As Pogo said, “I have met the enemy and he is us”.
Unfortunately, until we all learn to listen to one another and apply the art of civility, compromise and compassion, the problems will continue. We can do better.
Bob L. Burkholder