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Making local government more accountable

Bloomington Herald-Times, February 5, 2010

To the Editor:

The H-T editorial of January 22 was well done. When city council meetings last until 2 am, it effectively means the decisions are being made in secret because so few are able to observe that late. Yes, the meetings are all archived on Channel 12, but the votes should not be taken in the dead of night.

The agenda for the 20th was too ambitious, especially given the controversial nature of the on-street parking.

One of the best things the city can do to show respect for citizens is to move "reports from council members" to the end of the meeting. There have been times where the City Council did not actually get to the agenda until an hour or more into the meeting, because councilors were blathering on about things not on the agenda such as I-69. That is simply unacceptable.

City government is far more open than county government, where the County Commissioners hide their meetings at 9:00 am so that few can attend. The 5:00 p.m. start time for County Council meetings is better. Democrats should embrace the openness that Barack Obama has spoken of, and move the meetings to a time when working people can attend.

Scott Tibbs.