In the last 6 months I have written at least 5 posts read by thousands of people specifically about how I want to attend Port Authority Board meetings and encouraging others to do the same.
On February 6, 2015 I wrote, Mark Your Calendars for the Port Authority Citizen Brigade.
On March 10, 2015 I wrote You Can Sleep In Tomorrow, Port Authority Citizens Brigade about a conversation I had with a member of the Port Authority staff about the last minute cancellation of their regularly scheduled meeting.
On April 8, 2015 I posted The Power to Bear Witness about how important it is for citizens to get involved and attend these meetings with me. This post also documents yet another conversation about my desire to attend meetings with a high-level staff member at the Port.
On May 15, 2015 I posted Port Authority Citizens Brigade, You’ve Got 3 Hours to RSVP about the ridiculously short notice for the special strategic planning meeting in Evendale and the absurd requirements for photo id and reservations.
On June 8, 2015 I wrote It’s that Time of the Month, Port Authority Citizens Brigade and a Bit about Failure.
I also signed-up for the Port Authority email list and had been receiving meeting notices from the assistant to the Executive Director about meetings. So I thought – especially after multiple one-on-one conversations with Port employees and board members – that they knew.
But, surprise, surprise. When I questioned why I hadn’t been informed about two special meetings quietly scheduled in July and August – why none of the other citizens who had attended meetings and tried to sign-up for notification had been included in the email notices either, a list that targeted other members of the press, elected officials and random interested parties – now their legal counsel informs me:
You are correct that Chapter 121.22(F) of the Ohio Revised Code does require that any person who has specifically requested notification should be included. However, we have no record of you ever making such a request. In light of your recent communications, we appreciate that your desire is to be included on all future meeting notifications. For our records, please confirm by reply to this email that you wish to receive such notice of future meetings.
No record. The Port Authority has NO RECORD of my desire to attend their meetings. No FRIGGIN’ RECORD. They have changed their web site since cincyopolis started to write about them and one of the changes is the move of the sign-up box to request to be put on the email list from the home page to the contact page and it now reads “To receive our newsletter.” Now that list just gets their puff-piece public relations material. So they have no record of my request, implying that if I were to enter into a legal proceeding I would have to produce a written copy of a specific request to be notified.
This year the Port Authority has held more Special Meetings than they have held regularly scheduled meetings. A public record request reveals that the board is holding regular bi-weekly teleconferences – which probably explains a lot about why their public discussions are so disappointingly lackluster. Is all this legal? That’s something that can only be decided by a judge. But whether or not the Port is successful in using legal technicalities to circumvent the intent of the Ohio Sunshine law, this absolutely, positively is not right and the public has to wonder what it is that their 9 person, politically-appointed board is so determined we not know.
We’ve got another chance to stand up for a fundamental principle of democracy on Wednesday, September 16 at 8 a.m. Please join me at the Taft Center at Fountain Square, 425 Walnut St., 2nd Floor Atrium.