In the past two years there have been some improvements in transparency in the way the City of Hood River does business. The new website is a big improvement, the new (not so new, anymore) City Manager communicates clearly and COVID has moved some City meeting online making them easier for those with busy schedules to attend.
I think we can build on these improvements by making live-streaming and replay of meetings possible. I would also advocate for complete transcription of City meetings to make it possible for more people to become, and then stay, informed.
We still would be well served by a wider variety of views and perspectives being represented on City committees. The needed re-boot of the Heights Urban Renewal Advisory Committee because neighbors and local businesses were not included early in their processes is a good example.
Inclusion and Transparency in City Decisions
o City Meetings – Current composition of Council discourages consideration of diverse views
o Equal Application of the Law / Ordinances – If it’s good for one, it’s good for all
o Public Safety – Divisive policy disrupts City staff and Law Enforcement who must enforce it
o Budget – Include specifics of financial impact and alternatives in all decisions
The way that Hood River currently does business discourages participation by average citizens who don’t have activist tendencies – that is, most of us. For example, commission and committee members are chosen by the mayor, city council or their advisors. Predictably, appointees often share the same views on important issues – stifling debate.
I believe that a diversity of views and open discussion yields superior results, and we could use more of that.