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Cat controversy highlights problems with informing the public

Original post made on Jun 18, 2013

It was the animal control ordinance that nearly got away -- and caused some finger pointing over why thousands of cat and dog owners in the city were not informed. Among the practices being blamed is the city's use of an obscure legal newspaper to post meeting agendas, a practice the City Council may vote to extend tonight.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 1:57 PM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Another Idea
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm

If using a newspaper we citizens don't have access to is to save money ( not always the right choice), then how about posting copies on a bulletin board where we can read them for free? An electronic bulletin board would be great since most people don't live near the city offices

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Posted by ann
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

"There you go again!" For a mere $790 a year, Mountain View can keep its citizens fully informed, instead of hiding behind the legal technicality of "publishing" in some obscure legal paper that nobody has access to. Perhaps concerned residents could take up a little collection to reimburse the city for this pocket change. Let the sun shine in on the doings of the Mountain View city staff!

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Posted by Darin
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Darin is a registered user.

Well, they do post notices on the city's website and on a wall in City Hall. How would an "electronic bulletin board" be different from posting on the city's website? (And the wall in City Hall is a physical bulletin board.)

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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, Esq.
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm

City Council should go for informing residents and transparency over a few dollars cost. The Voice is our community newspaper.

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Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Kasperzak sounds like material for higher office blame everyone except himself for being stupid

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

City website is always good to check out notices and the meetings agenda.

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Posted by kman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Agree, more needs to be done to inform, we the people, the counsels bosses. We the people are who the council works for, supposedly, sometimes I do wonder though.

We need more transparency, we need to know who voted for what. That is the only way we the people will be able to make good choices when it's time to elect our representatives.

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Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

This is an absurd non-issue, especially ironic if people are complaining electronically!

As the article stated, the City posts this information in print in public, on the City web site -- both of those media are FREE of charge -- and for statutory reasons, also in a legal-notices paper (one of many such), chosen for its price and accommodating deadlines. You can even subscribe to the City website notices by email, according to one neighbor

Some people who were not in the habit of reading existing Council notices online were surprised by a recent business item, and pointed at the legal-notice paper as a rationalization. They could easily have found the information in the City web site if their interest was to stay informed.

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Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

The city is constantly sending out mailers to neighborhoods regarding projects where developers are running rampant. The city finds the money for that, but not for communicating anything else to residents? This council has once again lost its way. There's no point in posting notices in a paper that only a handful of residents read. The should switch to the Voice, or go back to mailers.

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Posted by informed citizen
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm

The people complaining (here online, and in person) about the lack of transparency just exposes their ignorance in regards to local civic matters. As mentioned, all this information is publicly posted on the city website.

Also, this goes to show that there are #firstworldproblems and then there are #bayareaproblems

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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2013 at 7:59 am

What this shows is how weak our council members are. We elect them to represent us, so that we dont have to waste time babysitting them at council meetings. This should have been a no-brainer but some council members have no clue what they are doing and rubber stamp the staff policies. It also shows that if you get enough people to show up at a meeting, you can bully some council members to go along with the mob.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

Lets see how one can keep up with city notices, how about having a TV show called city watch on KMVT, you can report the news and also have the city give you notices.

The city can place notices on KMVT, lets see developers, plan changes in the the city law and other important issues.

The city Website, or city hall.

Yes I think it is stupid law, but you know something has to be with the amount of stray cats. Cat tax no.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Has anyone actually seen this bulletin board at City Hall?

Well I have. It's a joke. Sometimes there are so many postings in it they overlap and you can't even read all of them.

The City is legally required to give public notice. They do so in a manner than gets the least amount of attention.

$790 a year vs. $11K a year is not the issue. The city doesn't post notices in mainstream newspapers because they don't want anyone to actually notice.

It would be very easy to create an email distribution list for interested people to join voluntarily. A copy of every posting would end up in their inbox for them to review.

Some may say it's not that hard to stay on top of what the Council is up to. And I would agree, if that were all you were keeping track of.

But in this day we have multiple, overlapping agencies/districts/commissions to think about. The city, the county, school boards, water districts, public transportation, then it is all repeated at the state level.

Plus Federal.. forget about it.

There is no way you could keep track of it all. You have to pick one or two of your favorites and let the rest go these days.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

"Cat controversy highlights problems with informing the public"
Wow, what an appropriate title to this article. When viewed from city staff perspective, there would be no problems if we irritating citizens would just stay ignorant. They know what's best for us, and it's annoying when we whine about our pathetic 'wishes'

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Posted by Angie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm

It was here on the Voice that we lobbied against the cat ordinance through comments, so wake up council people. Ridiculous that the City plays cheap on outreach efforts. They better get the 10c per bag that is being pocketed by Walmart, Target, Kohls and other local stores.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

Why don't they just give Mountain View to Prometheus outright and be done with it?

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