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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Norco Council Forks Over Tape, But With 18 Minute Gap!

All right, I'm kidding. There's no gap. But at least I have your attention.

Yesterday, I told you Northampton County Council was being coy about producing an audiotape of last week's meeting. After making this routine request, I was surprised to learn it had actually been placed on the agenda.

Council Prez Grube prefaced his "Discussion of the County Council Public Records Access Policy" with a prepared statement. Someone other than Grube obviously wrote the brief monologue. According to the prepared script, my simple request is what prompted this urgent need for discussion. He mentioned possible concerns council had about how far it wants to go, or whether it should seek legal advice, etc., etc., HINT, HINT. He claimed the point of this discussion was to arrive at a "consensus."

Obviously, someone on that council thinks we citizens have no business looking over their shoulders. This betrays a misunderstanding of both The Right to Know Law and council's own previously enacted public access policy. Someone was trying to thwart a simple records request, which makes us all lose confidence in our government. But who was it?

Surprisingly, not McHale.

Ann McHale: "Why is this even here?"

Diane Neiper: "Actually, I brought it up. Maybe we should look at this for future requests."

Ron Angle: "This really is a no-brainer. I'd like to think that by now he has that tape."

Diane Neiper: "You're absolutely incredible."

At this point, county clerk Frank Flisser chimed in to say he had already copied the tape and would hand it over after the meeting. And he did.

Although Neiper claimed she never intended to interfere with my request for that audiotape, the prefatory remarks she prepared demonstrate otherwise. What prevented her from getting her way was the absence of two of her usual allies, Charles Dertinger and Tony Branco. So she claimed instead that she just thought now might be a good time to review things.

Right. What a coinkidinky! And she really does believes in open and accountable government, and the tooth fairy, too!

And where the hell were Dertinger and Branco, who left Neiper and McClure high and dry last night? I'm told they skipped so they could attend Newt Gingrich's appearance at Stabler arena. They're big fans!


Blah Society said...

Too bad they're not fans of Northampton County.

Anonymous said...

Dertinger, McClure, Neiper, and McHale are all corrupted embarrassments. The people of Northampton County could only have it worst if Joe Long was there as a councilperson with them.

Anonymous said...

this is a little too much, Bern. No one interfered with your accesss. You are attributing bad motive to Neiper, based upon nothing more than sheer speculation. For all you know, maybe the discussion could have resulted in broadened access.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:41,

I know exactly what was going on, and it sure as hell wasn't "broadened access." I do not have the prefatory remarks Neiper wrote for Grube, but they make clear Neiper's real intentions. They were talking about "how far they want to go" and whether my requests like mine should go to an attorney, etc. I also heard from other sources that there was a sentiment among some members of council to drag their feet on this request.

Once again, that group is not interested in good government. It is a mean-spirited bunch that saw a chance to punish a vocal critic. They just didn't have the manpower to put the brakes on last night.

Anonymous said...

I believe someone got to McHale to back off, since you were going to get the tape and she couldn't stop it. So she acts all surprised by the agenda item. Sorry, sounds a little to staged.

Anonymous said...

..............I just have to say I'm embarrassed to admit I work for "this" County............and I hope the council reads your blog and all the responses, as I hope they realize how pathetic they choose to act by reading these words. Thanks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's even more important for those of us who are not on council to let them know exactly how we feel, and the best way is at the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

Bernie face it, no one cares, incumbents get constantly voted back in. So why mention the 'ballet box'?