Monday, June 25, 2007

Conspiracy and Paranoia Over at Batesline

We know that Michael Bates of the Batesline blog has his heart in the right place. He wants good things for the city and he wants transparency in city government. We concur, as most citizens surely do.

But Bates can't always keep his story straight. Consider the conspiracy he predicted just last week. A Batesline headline promised duplicity from Tulsa's leaders:

Double-secret Council meeting about moving City Hall

OK, maybe he's right. Except Bates contradicts himself in the very first sentence of his report: "Actually, it isn't secret. It has been officially posted…."

So which is it?

Based on Bates own reporting, the meeting wasn't secret, much less "double-secret," a term he apparently borrowed from National Lampoon's frat boy comedy Animal House.

The best Bates can do is to pick on the timing of the meeting, Saturday morning at 8:30, a time that he says, quite correctly, "would be unlikely to draw spectators."

Yet Bates is unable to resist another conspiratorial dig, writing that "part or possibly most of the meeting will be conducted behind closed doors in executive session."

Only one problem: it wasn't, as Bates—to his credit—acknowledged in an update to his original posting:

I was there this morning, and they spent three hours in open session covering a wide range of issues. I was proud of the job the City Council did this morning.

Having predicted secrecy and failed to find it, Bates has to backtrack (again).

Let's give him credit for honesty. But wouldn't it be more efficient and less paranoid to credit city leaders with some small amount of good will and stop assuming evil intentions whenever their ideas depart from his own?


Dan Paden said...

It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you, y'know. And after seeing vacant lots vote, there's not a whole lot that some of us wouldn't put past our elected officials.

Buster said...

The phony headline is for the sake of those readers who won't bother to read further. Just another piece of extremely undercooked meat for the tribe.

Buster said...

And check out Bates' brilliant take on Michael Moore. Moore is---GET THIS---fat!

MichaelBates said...

I was told by someone in a position to know that the plan was to conduct the entire meeting in executive session. I showed up anyway, as did P. J. Lassek from the Tulsa World and cameramen from two TV stations.

Councilor Eagleton, serving as chairman in Councilor Turner's absence, recognized me to speak, and I requested that the Council cover as much of the topic as possible in open session and defer any matters that had to be kept confidential to the end of the meeting. Several councilors voiced the same concern, saying that the matter deserved as much public scrutiny and exposure as possible. And that is what the Council did. They spent three hours in open session, and two hours in executive session.

Economic Development director Don Himelfarb complained later in the meeting that he had been told that the meeting would be an executive session, so he didn't bring along his consultants and experts. (Under Oklahoma law, an executive session can be held to discuss the purchase or appraisal of real estate, but it cannot include anyone who would stand to profit directly or indirectly from the transaction under discussion.)

Alternative Tulsa said...

Michael: Thanks for your explanation.