Kudos to local bloggers who led a grassroots campaign to get the city to release a draft of the Tax Increment Financing audit that was being held for political reasons. Today, they succeeded.
Last week,The Flogging of America, after calling for the release of the audit so that voters could get a clearer picture of how TIF has been used by our current Mayor and City Council, e-mailed me about the issue, and I posted my reply here. Having seen city officials' many tactics for delaying the release of an unfavorable audit, I was convinced the city would hold it until after the March 27 general election.
The exchange inspired another blogger, Heidi, of me, my life + infrastructure, to e-mail an open records request to the city. Heidi posted a sample Sunshine request letter on her blog, along with e-mail addresses of city officials. She urged others to file requests, too. A number of readers responded, saying they had filed requests and had e-mailed friends asking them to file requests.
Well, the city must have gotten a lot requests. Because today, less than 24 hours after filing the requests, both bloggers got e-mails from Acting City Auditor Gary White, releasing draft of the audit. Here is a Kansas City Star article that sums up the contents of the
audit, but doesn't mention why the audit was released.
I'm really proud of the blogging community for standing up for their - and other Kansas Citians' - right to know the results of their city leaders' policies. After all, it's their city, and it's their money that's being spent. All along, I've said that I believe a city that works for regular folks must have open, transparent government. This grassroots campaign really captures the spirit that I'd
like to see citizens embrace. Active, informed citizens make for a better city for all of us.
Hats off to all of you!