The Department of State press office has ignored my two inquiries about the status of the DRI project list, but this afternoon, an inquiry by Seth Rogovoy of the Rogovoy Report got a response, and Rogovoy was gracious enough to share it with me. According to the director of communications for the DOS, "a final vote has not yet taken place, as the LPC continues to review feedback from the community. Once a final plan is approved, it will be publicly available."
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Um, "a final vote has not yet taken place, as the LPC continues to review feedback from the community. Once a final plan is approved, it will be publicly available." I'm confused. The State is apparently distinguishing between the "final vote" and the "final plan." I thought the "final plan" was presented at the last meeting, at which point the LPC was instructed to vote it up or down (despite significant community outrage voiced in response to said "final plan"). And that vote would have occurred at that same public meeting, had it not run so long that some members of the LPC were compelled to leave before the vote.ReplyDelete
So the State is now apparently claiming that the "final plan" presented at that meeting was not in fact "final;" and that when whatever potentially different "final plan" is available, said plan will be "made available to the public." But what this statement doesn't address is whether the LPC vote on the final "final plan" will be taken in public, in front of the community, or behind closed doors, via email or secret ballot. If it's the latter (which seems likely, as the official meetings that were open to the community are now over), then even the members of the LPC will have no way of knowing whether the final vote count presented to them by the State is actually accurate.
The wording of this statement from the State doesn't exactly seem to reflect the "transparency" that State representatives and Stantec alleged would be featured in a process supposedly based on community involvement. Isn't this process governed by the Open Meetings Law? And if so, is the State taking the position that both revisions to what was originally presented as the "final plan" AND secret voting thereon both constitute “Executive Sessions” under that law?
Where transparency is impossible, as in the example of an Executive Session, the public is protected as best as possible by the DRI's "Code of Conduct" which the LPC's members agreed to at the start.Delete
But it's never been clear to me that the Galvan projects were actually agreed to by the LPC members (as witness Colin Stair's objections at the last meeting). What protects the public, and the LPC members, from the State? I may be missing something. But with the State in charge and the process secret, what would prevent it from using DRI funds to, for example, reward contributors to political coffers?Delete
Don't get me wrong, I REALLY like your questions!Delete
If this is all true, will the funds that were to go to Galvan, now going to be reallocated to other projects?ReplyDelete
Sure, that how it works in a zero-sum equation.Delete
Probably the most offensive aspect of the Galvan proposals which made bedfellows of an astounding range of people (I hope everyone noticed that), was that money dedicated to the wealthy Galvan Foundation was money removed from the remaining pot, zero-sum.
With the Galvan projects the total DRI request amount was $14,377,610. Galvan ask was $842,570, which reduces the total request to $13,535,040. That is still $3,835,040 over the $9.7 million available from NYS.Delete