I know that Nisha generally covers the local Sunlight topics, but I was quite touched by an email sent by a small-town former Mayor, now turned transparency activist — Darrell Flood. Here are some excerpts from it:
My name is Darrell Flood. I was elected Mayor of Lafayette, Oregon in 2006. It was the first time I had ever run for office. I took office in January 2007. I had a lot of grand plans to make the city better by involving citizens and businesses to work together for a great little city…..After just a few months of being in office, I resigned because the council refused to make the city administrator get a surety bond. It is required by our city charter. I felt that if the council wanted to break the charter I wanted no part of it.
Turns out, resigning was not such a bad thing. I had met with a group of citizens just before leaving office. They were seeing some of the issues that I was running into and wanted me to explain how they could help. Shortly after I resigned, the citizens formed a group. We have been working in our city since April 2007 and we have made some pretty great progress….
My wife and I felt that it was important to continue in our efforts to work towards an open government. We have started a web site and we have just finished a project that I am sure will cause some problems. We have downloaded all the messages on the list serv for the Oregon City / County Manager’s Association. My wife was able to become a member through the structure they had set up allowing for cooperative members (they have since changed those rules) and for $50.00, she was given access to the listserv messages. The membership was granted in protest of many of the members. Full membership access was never allowed. We have posted ALL of their messages posted on their list serv since they began in 2003. Shortly after they found out that we had posted the messages, my wife was asked to resign from their group. We are still making progress and trying to make all levels of government open and transparent. Our next project are legislation to make all public documents free and fixing our city charter. From what I can tell from here it seems like an uphill battle….
Fascinating report from the front-lines of citizens’ battles to get more openness from our government.