Saturday, December 27, 2014

DPW Hearing Cancelled Over Sunshine Complaint

It surprised me recently that the Department of Public Works without proper advance public notice scheduled a hearing at City Hall for an obscure panel with tremendous power over street furniture on our sidewalks. My complaint to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, which is proving more effective every week and has an impact just accepting complaints as this episode demonstrates, forced cancellation of a hearing. 

This letter is from DPW's custodian of records Frank W. Lee, and was received this week:

"Upon discovering that the agenda for the December 16, 2014 News Rack Advisory Committee Meeting was not posted on our department’s website, we cancelled the scheduled December 16 meeting.  Attached are photos of the cancellation notice in front of City Hall, Room 416, where the meeting was scheduled to be held.

"Our department will also update the News Rack Advisory Committee webpage with the December 16 agenda and the notice cancelling the December 16 meeting.

"Cynthia Hoe is aware of the posting requirements for meeting agendas and simply missed posting the agenda on the webpage.  Since the omission was brought to my attention, I reminded Ms. Hoe of the posting requirements and referred her to this City Attorney’s webpage for reference:

"At this time, a new date for the meeting has not been determined; it may not occur until next month, near the end of January 2015."

I've long advocated consolidating the many empty rack cluttering our sidewalks citywide and particularly in the Castro business district, and consolidation was the agenda of the cancelled meeting. How the committee, which is comprised primarily of publishing and media enterprises, thought it could get away with a consolidation discussion without the public is a head-scratcher.

A letter was sent to DPW boss Mohammed Nuru, outlining my desire for the next meeting to be properly noticed and the start time of it moved to the early evening so more stakeholders in the general public can participate in the discussion. Stay tuned for updates.

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