Politics Can’t Shut the Door on Open Government

Folks – we heard this morning that, under the advice of City Attorney Dennis Herrera, our two guests would not take an hour off to come describe how San Francisco is working to implement Government 2.0.

So we have rescheduled our Ask an Expert event until 5:00pm this evening with new guest, Peter Hirshberg. Please tune in at 5:00pm to hear how Gov. 2.0 can help make City Hall faster and more effective.

Dennis Herrera and Government 2.Faux

It is sad that the City Attorney advised two city workers that they could not take an hour off to explain to us their work in open government and Gov. 2.0.

Asking them to engage with our audience does not imply an endorsement of Reset’s goals or Phil Ting’s campaign. We don’t know which candidate they support for mayor or any other office, and we hope they engage with every campaign to explain their work.

That’s true Gov 2.0 – absolute openness.

But in any event, they are entitled to take an hour off to speak out about Gov 2.0 or any other topic.  We are sending the City Attorney a copy of the First Amendment, along with a copy of the State Bar code on conflict of interest.  We hope he will read both.

We remember seeing a post from one of Dennis Herrera’s top staffers explaining how he was setting up at a Herrera campaign event – during the office day. We presume this staffer was taking an hour off to do that – as he is entitled to do. We presume the City Attorney did not give him the advice that he should not exercise his First Amendment rights.

But yet the City Attorney’s office has told two city workers not to come – on their own time – and answer the questions of our community.

But that’s the challenge of real Gov 2.0 – as opposed to the Gov 2.Faux that so often passes for reform.

Real open government is actually open – not closed because of politics.

Please tune in at 5:00pm tonight.

And stay tuned – we’ll report what we hear from Herrera and his office.  As he ponders his decision on this, we hope he will review his own website – where his spokesperson has posted a statement that reads in part:

“Dennis Herrera has an absolute right as a candidate for office, under the City Charter and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to articulate his views on public policy.”

We hope that Dennis agrees upon reflection that these rights apply to all city workers.

 

Update at 4:25pm – City Attorney’s Office just called. They were a little upset – but after they stopped yelling at us, we got the answer we wanted to hear.

“We never gave the advice that folks could not take time off to make their voices heard.”

Okay – right answer from our perspective.

It is a little different than what we heard directly from people directly involved this morning. But Reset doesn’t want to argue with yes.

Thanks to the City Attorney’s office for clarifying. Thanks to the City Attorney’s office for weighing in for First Amendment rights. And please stay tuned at 5:00pm for Ask an Expert.
 

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137