Park Board Retreats from Transparency during Sunshine Week

This week the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will celebrate Sunshine Week* (www.sunshineweek.org) by retreating from transparency and public oversight. In a move that boggles the mind, the Park Board, after its regular meeting this Wednesday, will hold a Committee of the Whole meeting off-camera. Yep, they will all get up, leave their seats and move to an adjacent room that seats the board, staff and if really crammed in there tight, about 6 to 7 members of the public. Why do this when their comfy, newly-remodeled and television-friendly board room with all the gadgets and microphones are just 10 feet away? Ask them.

So you might ask what will they be discussing off the air, only recorded by a little digital voice recorder that could be accidentally erased with the touch of a button?

#1. Is your park for sale?

There will be a discussion about whether or not to sell Brian Coyle Center and Waite House (south Mpls.) to Pillsbury United, and Bethune to the Phyllis Wheatley organization. Is this good or bad? Will there be a lively and well-thought-out discussion? Park Watch will attempt to get it taped for YouTube but it sure would be of better quality if it were on Cable Access.

#2. Capital Funding and the Preferred Future

The Board Plans to discuss the system for deciding what will be their capital investment priorities for the future. What criteria your park and its programming have to meet for the MPRB to bother investing in it. You don’t really need to know so you can keep the doors open right?

#3. The Board of Estimation and Taxation

What will the levy request be? What is the dream %? Will they end up with 4%? Can they take over the bonding levy of the Library Board? Isn’t that money going to the county? Will they all be asking for more money even though my home value is going down? What are the answers? I’d say tune in to find out but…

#4. Action Item.

The board will ask that the 2009 Capital Improvement dollars that the Mayor and CLIC (Capital Long Range Improvement Committee) have designated for East Phillips Community Center ($141,000) be swapped out and used for 65 lights along Victory Parkway. This is a real live vote that won’t be on real live TV.

To see the actual agenda go to http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37 . It should be up by Monday noon — unless it’s a holiday, or the staff person is sick or on vacation, or they are hacked again.

And for those of you following issues from last years budget — they will repeat this off-screen scenario again on April 16th, where they will be discussing Special Event and other assorted fees .

Sunshine, like bleach, kills bacteria and other bad things.

Tom Nordyke, President
Commissioner At Large
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 8
tnordyke@minneapolisparks.org

Mary Merrill Anderson
Commissioner At Large
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 7
mmerrillanderson@minneapolisparks.org

M. Annie Young
Commissioner At Large
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 9
ayoung@minneapolisparks.org

Walt Dziedzic
Commissioner District 1
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 1

Jon Olson
Commissioner District 2
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 2

Scott Vreeland
Commissioner District 3
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 3
svreeland@minneapolisparks.org

Tracy Nordstrom
Commissioner District 4
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 4
tnordstrom@minneapolisparks.org

Carol A. Kummer
Commissioner District 5
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 5
ckummer@minneapolisparks.org

Bob Fine
Commissioner District 6
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6443 ext. 6
bfine@minneapolisparks.org

Jon Gurban
Superintendent
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
612-230-6400
jgurban@minneapolisparks.org

* Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.