Almanac

Viewpoint - January 12, 2011

Letter: Hard to find transparency in a closed session

Am I the only one to see the humor in the opening paragraphs of the Dec. 29 article, "Menlo Park council forms labor subcommittee?"

Paragraph one says the new group's goal is, "increasing the transparency of the bargaining process in Menlo Park." Paragraph two starts with, "the decision came during a closed session meeting. ..." Then paragraph three reiterates the goal as, "finding ways to make labor negotiations more transparent."

Then Mayor Rich Cline talks about, "looking at the process leading up to negotiations ... putting in place a timeline that allows the public to get more involved ... perhaps a study session ... open time to gather input. ..." And then, yes, we're getting there ... "negotiations!"

I guess what's good enough for Sacramento and Washington is good enough for Menlo Park. And dealing with organized labor has to be the third rail of every politician's life.

But wouldn't it be refreshing, just once, to cut through the vamping, the time-consuming "processes," and all the BS, and just have some good old, town hall, sit-down meetings with city management, labor — and the public — all in the same room, at the same time?

Isn't that what "transparency" means?

Dan Dippery, Santa Margarita, Menlo Park

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