This is Not Watergate....I'm Not Woodstein...and you're no Deepthroat ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Friday, September 26, 2008

This is Not Watergate....I'm Not Woodstein...and you're no Deepthroat

Question: How much of our taxpayer's dollars are going to the mayor so she can travel to conferences? Do you think this is a legitimate question to pose to the city's Public Information Officer (actually the mayor's press secretary?) Do you think he should know the answers to these questions? on...

An anonymous tipster used to write CP with all kinds of not-so-nice things about our mayor. CP was uncomfortable using such gossip and rumor without verification. CP repeatedly asked the writer, who claimed to be someone in the know, to identify him or herself. CP promised that his/her identity would remain confidential but journalistic standards necessitate substantiation. He/she used a pseudonym. This writer refused, accused CP of being afraid and unwilling to stand up (me? really?) and got angry. Recently the writer has written CP again--unedited:

"Where was the mayor when the last murder occurred in Annapolis on September 13? She was on her way to Tarrytown New York for a conference on "Climate Communities" and out of the office for a week. She got back in time for City Council before leaving today.

Now a storm is bearing down on City Dock and flooding is expected, she's on a slow train to Santa Fe, for another conference on "Creative Tourism" that will keep her out until the second week of October. She is touring the southwest at taxpayer expense.

Climate Communities? Creative Tourism? What about staying at home and paying attention to the crime and money pit market house? And who's paying to transport her and her skanky boyfriend all over the country? The taxpayers, thats who.

If you don't believe me, call Ray Weaver. He covers her ass, but doesn't lie for her. He'lll tell you.

Shes a disgrace..... Look into it, CP."

My slightly edited letter back to the writer:

"Thank you very much. Sad but true, and nothing surprises me anymore. She has become irrelevant. I intend to post this as a guest column tomorrow. I would like to speak with you and will do what I can to continue to express our collective disappointment.

I am looking into your claims. It is not a matter of believing you or not. It is a matter of journalistic standards. Yes the conference of which you write is about to take place in Santa Fe but I found only a vague reference to a possible conference in New York on climate communities. Any thing else you can provide will be helpful. Thank you."

The letter I received back would need such heavy editing to maintain any sense of anonymity, and decency, that I omit it. But I did write back, again asking for substantiation and identification and promising that his/her anonymity would be protected. In the meantime, I did get a response from Mayor Moyer's Public Information Officer Ray Weaver in my efforts to verify the letter writer's claims. Mr Weaver's answer was immediate and while it was not 100% helpful, it sheds the mayor's slant on the issue-which after all, is his job to do (CP notes in bold):

Mr. Foer,

The Mayor did attend the Climate Communities event, and she is on her way to the Creative Tourism Conference. There is money set aside in her budget for travel representing the City. I am not sure how these trips are being funded, but it seems to me that representing one of the most environmentally sensitive Cities in the country at a Climate Conference makes sense. Ditto for attending a conference on tourism while Mayor of a town that welcomes 4 million visitors each year. It is always curious to me that some local folks seem so against the idea of our representatives tackling big issues and appearing and being recognized on the larger stage. Other towns and cities take great pride at their elected officials larger accomplishments. (I agree, but how much travel is appropriate?

I have no idea of the costs of the Mayor's travels. (Why not? Who pays for this? And is she not on salary when doing all of this?)

As to her preferred travel methods, I know she likes to drive. As to her phobias, I have no clue. (Really? No clue? Since she travels so much, maybe we should know since it has an obvious impact on speed, thus the amount of time being away. And so our great global warming leader and clean air advocate "likes to drive" rather than take a less polluting method of travel. Interesting.)

You can probably check with the Mayor or her scheduler for any future travel plans. And I don't know how many days she has traveled this year. In my case, it is like she is still right down the hall because the phone never stops ringing and her emails never stop coming. Where ever she may be, you can rest assured she is in constant contact. (There may be some truth to that but seriously, she needs to be here. This is why we elected her and pay her. ALl elected officials are subjected to this level of scrutiny. When away, the mayor is unable to exercise as much control or have as much direct knowledge of or involvement in city affairs as when she is here. You should know how many days she has been away. Why should I have to check with others for this information? It is your job.)

(NOTE: I also asked Mr Weaver about the status of the city attorney position)

I have no information on the status or history of Steve Kling. My understanding is that Anndreeze Williams was promoted from Assistant to Acting City Attorney when Mr. Spencer left. I issued a press release to that effect, and I have heard nothing to the contrary. Perhaps someone in Law could better answer your questions about Mr. Kling's status. ("Your understanding"??? Again, why no further information on such an important position? Again, you are the PIO. Why should I have to go to the office of law?)

Those are the answers to your questions that I can supply.

CP NOTES: And so it goes.....I am pleased we take a leadership role in climate issues, environmental protection and tourism, but does the mayor have to be away all the time in order for us to do this? Do we get anything for these meetings and this travel? Why don't we get a simple answer to how much it all costs? Maybe the mayor should also be going to conferences on law enforcement and municipal markets and lawsuits--or maybe just a class on executive leadership. And finally, does she now know or not care that we are really fed up with her attitude, her behavior, her indifference and her disengagement enough to know why so many of us are concerned that she is off going to more conferences? When I was the assistant to the director of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, he told me point blank not to be going off to too many meetings as I would develop a reputation of nothing more than a meeting-attendee. Mayor Moyer ought to think about that.

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Anonymous said...

when da mare leaves town, she has to name a "acting mayor" . they keep a record of all acting mayors, so you can find when moyer skipped out. ask your alderman for that record. he/she should know where it is.

Paul Foer said...

Thanks but her press secretary ought to be able to figure all that out. So who is acting mayor now? And even when she is here, it's just an act anyhow--right?

Oh, and referring to her as the "mare"--that's classic.

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