Councilman wants transit panel discussions to be held in public
Concerned over a lack of transparency, City Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz has asked a state office whether a panel of experts selecting the technology for the multibillion-dollar mass transit system should abide by the state's open-meetings laws.
The state Office of Information Practices said it will issue an opinion in a few weeks, though a staff attorney said Monday it seems like the panel does fall under the state Sunshine Law. However, OIP's opinion may come too late since the panel will choose a technology by the end of February.
The city administration has argued that the panel, which the City Council approved last week in a resolution, will be discussing proprietary information that needs to be considered behind closed doors.
The Sunshine Law does not specifically say groups created by a resolution need to conduct open meetings.
But Dela Cruz said that given the importance of the panel's decision, the public should be a part of the discussion.
"I think it's ludicrous that the public does not have any idea of what kind of correspondence, what kind of discussion they have, when they meet and the fact that the public cannot offer any input," Dela Cruz said Monday. "I don't think that's democracy."