Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Exec Candidates in Both Counties to Appear at "Top 1% Only" Forum
"This event is open only to LVEDC [Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation] board members and investors and Lehigh Valley Partnership members," huffs a "news" release. Bluebloods only. And like lambs being lead to slaughter, every stinkin' Exec candidate has made very clear just how much they really care about public participation in government.
There is absolutely no reason why a forum "on jobs, economic development and regionalism" should be conducted secretly. One very legitimate criticism of both LVEDC and the unelected aristocrats who call themselves the Lehigh Valley Partnership is that they operate in the shadows, away from the glare of public scrutiny.
What regional ideas will be discussed? Bi-County health? Passenger rail? More hotel taxes? These are all topics that demand public scrutiny, not some meeting in the back room with the muckety mucks.
Updated 9 AM: I have sent this email to each Executive candidate:
Dear Exec Candidate:
You have agreed to a candidate forum to discuss important issues related to jobs, economic growth and regionalism. But this candidate forum will be open only to members of LVEDC's board members and investors and members of the Lehigh Valley Partnership, our unelected aristocracy. You cannot claim to be transparent while meeting in the back room with the rich guys. I am asking that you decline to appear at this forum unless ALL members of the public are invited. You are running to represent us all, not just them. Thank you.
I would appreciate a reply.
Updated 10:30 AM: LVEDC CEO Don Cunningham has told a candidate that, despite the clear language in a so-called news release, this meeting will be open to members of the press and guests of the candidates. So I could probably wrangle my way in there by claiming that I am a guest of asbestos lawyer Lamont McClure.
There's also a second version of this news release, written by CEO Don Cunningham. It does not appear on the web version, but was just emailed to me by the LVEDC. This one states that the Forum "is open only to LVEDC board members and investors and Lehigh Valley Partnership members. The Lehigh Valley news media will be invited to report on the Forum." Don't know if that includes bottom-feeding bloggers.
I am also warned, "this E-mail may contain confidential and privileged information intended only for the use of the person(s) named above. Any unauthorized use of this E-mail or attached documents is strictly prohibited. Further, this NOTICE serves as a disclaimer of any liability on the part of the sender in failing to keep this information confidential. Nothing in this E-mail shall be construed as legal advice or as establishing an agency relationship with any recipient."
So I guess I could be shot for telling you that the press is really "welcome" to this event, despite an online "news" release saying it is not.
Clearly, the LVEDC still has a long way to go in the transparency department.