Friday, September 19, 2008

Widespread Discontent at OPSB Hearing, Are They Paying Attention?

Because I was unable to attend this particular OPSB-sponsored public hearing on the school facilities master plan, I am relying on second-hand accounts until I can get a hold of the video.

One thing I'm trying to pin down is who did and did not bother to show up from amongst the sitting members of the OPSB. As of right now, I have reason to believe that there were one or two no-shows. Landrieu, Anderson, Sanders, Moran, and Cade appear to have been there for sure.

Additionally, I'm trying to find out who did and did not show up from amongst the many candidates vying to replace the current board and who came prepared with questions and comments.

Listen, I don't care if what you think about the master plan but it is utterly inappropriate for OPSB members to lock us into a 30-50 year master plan without listening to the concerns of citizens and independent experts. There was perfect attendance when Concordia-Parsons presented the master plan. Wouldn't it make sense to hear something other than the talking points of the hired firms?

Ideally, you'd have OPSB members avidly engaged in the hearing: asking their own questions of Concordia-Parsions, following up on concerns raised by community stakeholders, demanding clarification on waffling statements. This, regardless of attendance, did not happen.

According to witness accounts, not one sitting member of the OPSB asked a question. I'll confirm this personally upon viewing the instant replay.

And it's not as if there were no concerns voiced by the community. In fact, the crowd was very vocal about their reservations. The Times-Pic confirms this.

The Times-Picayune also relayed that SOSNola, an education advocacy group, is beginning to circulate a petition that would extend the public comment period until the new year. This would not only ensure that citizens would have the proper time necessary to review the document but might also ensure that the disengaged lame ducks of the sitting OPSB would not have the opportunity to vote on anything binding. I twice tried to contact Save Our Schools New Orleans to inquire as to how to sign the petition and to suggest they put it online. When they get back to me, I'll get back to you.

Did you make it to the meeting last night?

Tell me what you saw.

UPDATING AS WE GO:

1. G Bitch caught a brief view from local access and live blogged it:

Sandra Reed: RE the accelerated timeline for public comment, as a resident of Central City and representative of community groups, the comment period—it takes time to understand the plan and offer a informed comments, a document of this size with this kind of technical info, regular folks need time to look at it; there was a 90-day extension for the plan, “and that was no hurricane.” Will ask, “beg if I have to” to give an extra 30 days for folks to read and decipher the–

And then I believe local access cut away to something called "Traffic Time."

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