Part of the infamous "Seattle Process" are public hearings that are neither. That is to say that they are not public and they are not heard.
The public hearings regarding the district's sale of property provide some classic examples.
The District is selling five properties. That has been determined. Of course, there hasn't been any open discussion about it and only the smallest announcements of it. The District is legally required, when selling property, to conduct public hearings. And they have to make the required legal notices about the public hearings. They do not, however, have to make any larger or broader announcements, and so they don't. As a result, not too many people know about them, so they aren't all that public, are they?
And if you actually follow the instructions on how to sign up to speak, and you actually show up at the event, you will be allowed to speak. Of course it doesn't matter what you say. They are going to move forward with their decision that they have already made. So no one is actually heard, are they?
And there you have it! Public Hearings which are neither!
I've posted this elsewhere buy you can see it all here.
Notice of Public Hearing on Thursday, April 17, 2008, at 7:30 p.m.
Crown Hill School:
Notice of Public Hearing on Thursday, March 27, 2008, at 7:30 p.m.
Notice of Public Hearing on Thursday, April 10, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.
Notice of Public Hearing on Thursday, April 3, 2008, at 6:30 p.m.
We have already missed the public hearing on the sale of the Queen Anne Gym.
Of course there has been no notice of these sales or these hearings at Board meetings. There is no mention of them in the "News and Calendars" section of the District web site. They don't appear on any calendars. They weren't mentioned in the Calendar Items part of the Board meeting agenda. They don't appear on the agenda for the Operations Committee this week. They don't appear on the future agenda discussion items list for the Operations Committee. There is almost no mention of these meetings - or these sales - anywhere other than the tiny legal notices required by law that appeared in the classified ad sections of newspapers.
Is this how the District builds public confidence or is this how the District lost it? Is this how the District addresses perceived deficiencies in transparency or is this how that perception was created? Is this how the District addresses the fact that 97% of the public says they have no means of providing feedback, or is this representative of why the public says that?