Yesterday I got an email from the Port Authority about the Special Meeting on Monday, their second strategic planning session. It runs from 1-5 pm at the GE Aviation Learning Centre. They’ve cancelled the regular meeting downtown normally held on the third Wednesday of the month.
If you want to go to the special meeting you must do the following:
1. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 3pm today. Which means you have to have signed-up for the email list in order to have received notification at all.
2. Bring a picture ID for admittance.
3. Have a car. I just called Metro and they confirmed that they do not offer service anywhere close to this location. The best they could do was get me to the other side of the highway where I would have to take a cab as it was not walk-able.
I understand that the board members of the Port Authority are probably not excluding the public from their meetings intentionally. These events are scheduled according to the needs of the 9 politically-appointed members of this powerful agency. But in light of growing public interest about development matters in general and Port Authority operations specifically, this is extraordinarily insensitive behavior at best.
I started asking citizens to go with me to the monthly board meetings in February. 4 of us attended the 35 minute presentation.
The March meeting was cancelled.
12 Citizens got up in time to attend the 8 am meeting in April, not counting Enquirer reporter Jason Williams who had to sit on the floor when he arrived a few minutes late.
Now they’ve cancelled the May meeting and rolled it into a 4 hour marathon 15 miles from their normal location without access to any public transportation, are requiring pre-registration and a picture ID to get into a private facility.
While the Port Authority has complied with the letter of the Ohio Sunshine law regarding public meetings, again I have to repeat to the individuals who have voluntarily undertaken a fiduciary responsibility to represent the public interest: Legal doesn’t make it right.