Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mayor's Gone Wild

Mayor Dan Coody had two entries posted on his Mayor's Blog last week, a veritable surge of information after total silence since last September. It includes nifty photos from his recent Grand Tour of Paris, Germany, and Amsterdam, and visits to Washington, DC and Seattle, where he says he was "championing the many attributes of Fayetteville and learning from local, national, and international leaders how we can improve as a community."

The Mayor's Blog was launched last May 4th when Coody promised, "I’ll be posting regularly to this site beginning later this week," and "I intend to use this space to discuss current issues that I believe will be of interest to our citizens." He had a total of only 13 additional posts the rest of the entire year. A majority of the photographs posted showed Mayor Coody with Bill Ramsey or other Chamber of Cowbird employees breaking ground or cutting ribbons for public works projects paid for with taxpayer money.

One might have hoped for discussion of more important matters. Like maybe an explanation of the $63 million sewer cost overruns, what he plans to do about road impact fees, his thoughts on pricing water and sewer services, how the Crossover Road project can be salvaged after costs were so far off the estimate, why so many out-of-state consultants are necessary, or how he would have balanced the city budget that was resolved by the City Council while he was in Paris. The "official" blog doesn't have a feature allowing citizen comment and suggestions, but maybe that is just as well.

Academics are still debating whether citizens will ever have the ability to demand accountability of government through increased public information available on the internet. Local citizens are awaiting access to relevant public information and online documents that would let them settle the question for themselves. Mayor Coody's blog and the City's website could both be more helpful and less boastful.

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