Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Letter: Getting the runaround on information

Commercial Appeal
Letter to the Editor

It used to be easy to obtain information at City Hall, but as your March 13 article ("Citizens wage fight for public documents") notes it has become a very time-consuming process. During the past year I've been given the wrong records, had to submit more than one request for material, had to wait additional weeks for photocopies, and have been told documents didn't exist that later turned up.

What is even more troubling is when the city conducts business through unelected bodies; should the public have less access to information concerning those decisions? Week before last, at the League of Women Voters meeting, Benny Lendermon, president of the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC), said his group's meetings were not open to the public -- that the only way to go is to be invited. Well, the RDC is spending taxpayer money, planning to use eminent domain to take what is supposed to be park land and turn it over to private developers, and has gotten federal money to figure out how to turn the harbor into a lake. Citizens have to be invited to learn more about it!

Sue A. Williams

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