Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tampa: We're proud we're not like Charlotte

In the Sunshine State, Tampa is trashing Charlotte over the lack of sunshine.

Charlotte's secrecy around security for the Democratic National Convention has prompted public officials in Tampa to crow over how much more transparent they're being. And rightly so.

The Republican National Convention will be held there the week before Charlotte's big event. Both cities are receiving $50 million in federal funding for security. Tampa officials are openly debating how to spend their money. In Charlotte, the City Council gave City Manager Curt Walton power to spend security money how he sees fit. And not to tell the public about it.

Charlie Miranda, Tampa's City Council chairman, said Tampa often holds Charlotte up as a "model city," but said he finds nothing worth imitating in this case. Another Tampa council member, Mike Suarez, thanked Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor "for being so open," the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“We’re so different than Charlotte,” Suarez said. “We do appreciate that.”

Those comments came during a two-hour City Council discussion last week over whether to spend $2 million for about 60 security cameras around Tampa's arena. The council there discusses and votes on how to spend the security money. No such conversation will be held in Charlotte, because City Council members washed their hands of the issue. They said they trust Walton to do the right thing.

“This discussion that we’re having is never happening in that city, because they put it (with) the city manager,” Miranda, the council chairman, said. “They hide it away. … There’s no vote taken. There’s no discussion. There’s nothing.”

Since the Observer wrote about Charlotte's secrecy, the city has been more forthcoming. But it still redacts a lot of information from contracts it makes available. And the City Council is still comfortable with all the power in Walton's hands.

Tampa hasn't been fully open, either, and some balance between transparency and security is obviously needed. But in Tampa, they rightly strive to be transparent while in Charlotte, officials strive to keep secret all that they can.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in the Tampa Bay Times: "Much to the chagrin of the Secret Service, we have been very transparent. I understand they have their job, but I also have my job and (the police chief) has her job, and our job is to make sure our citizens know what we're doing and why we're doing it to the extent possible."

Why is that too much for Charlotte citizens to ask?

-- Taylor Batten


discourser said...

There's a very big difference between the two conventions. One will have POTUS in attendance. The other will not.

When you openly publish security preparations, it's not very secure, is it?

DistrictSix said...

This is just a little too far past my comfort level. It seems the Charlotte Observer, and the normally reliable Editors, are being just a teeny tiny itty bittty bit critical of the DNC?

Please don't find flaws in the paint, when you helped paint the graffiti, and gang tag.

Anonymous said...

At least our police chief ain't a chick.

One Discerner said...

"Why is that too much for Charlotte citizens to ask?"

I picked the wrong day to give up cussing! Yes it's too much to ask! Barack Obama IS President of the United States of America and not a president wannabe. That's a major difference! I don't need to know, YOU don't need to know the extraordinary security measures that will be implemented to protect him. As Paul Harvey would say, "Now you know the rest of the story!"

Anonymous said...

Is that 50 million in federal money from taxes? If so then we have a right to know how it is being spent.

Anonymous said...

Democrats are always secretive. That's how they get their issues passed. As Nancy Pelosi said,"We have to pass this bill to see what's in it".
On the other hand Republicans are the opposite. They are open with their issues.
DNC=Democratic National Communists.

Wiley Coyote said...


Having been involved in a number of Presidential events and working with the White House advance team and Secret Service, not everything IS a secret. I was never sworn to secrecy about where the President was going to be and what path he was going to take to to get to a particular end point.

You would be surprised at how "normal" the Secret Service and their agents are. It's just understood they have the ultimate job to do, which is to protect the President, but at the same time, very accomodating and matter of fact in their duties.

Their approach to guarding a potential future President is no different than guarding the President other than logistics.

Anonymous said...

Oh-Bum-uh is a presidential wannabe himself. It's taken him 3 years to kiss all of our enemy's butts and p*ss off our only true friend in the Middle East. His "economic policies" are a farce and the taxpayers continue to be asked to bend over a little further and take it. I envy Tampa for many things, but especially that they will have patriotic, freedom-loving capitalists in town, while we'll be stuck with a bunch of socialist/communist neo-Hippie, Marxist, Christian-hating freaks. Most of us may be vacationing in Tampa that week actually. Their economy may get a double-boost!

John said...

" The council there discusses and votes on how to spend the security money. No such conversation will be held in Charlotte, because City Council members washed their hands of the issue."

That quote has NOTHING to do with Secret Service security provisions... it's all about how Charlotte is awarding contracts and spending money. THAT, should not be secret!

Anonymous said...

$100 mil in fed funding for 2 political get togethers? these parties sure are adding up for us taxpayers. if things get much worse we might have to scale back our govts entertainment budget. wouldnt you feel sorry for them?

Archiguy said...

President Barack Obama set a high bar for open government, and he set it quickly.

A minute after he took office, the White House website declared his administration would become “the most open and transparent in history.” By the end of his first full day on the job, Obama had issued high-profile orders pledging “a new era” and “an unprecedented level of openness” across the massive federal government.

But three years into his presidency, critics say Obama’s administration has failed to deliver the refreshing blast of transparency that the president promised.

“Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978. “This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned — I’m really stunned.”

David Sobel, senior counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that “despite the positive rhetoric that has come from the White House and the attorney general, that guidance has not been translated into real world results in actual cases. … Basically, the reviews are terrible.”

Anonymous said...

Better to be SAFE than SORRY, and if secrecy can help assure that, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... a repeat of Chicago '68 would be interesting...

Anonymous said...

Just what we come to expect from the sycophant posters. And how about the hiring of all of the local vendors, OK scratch that as well, Obozo and crew are bringing in our of state union hacks.

Sort of like the "open and honest" debates on CSPAN about Obozocare that never happened?

And just how fearful is Obozo of the zombie anarchists and the OWS losers, he moved the G-8 summit from Chicago to Camp David. Good little coward.

Shelly said...


Giving one individual cart blanche is never a good idea. I do not need to know details, but I do require accountability of my money.

The council gave it up so they will not be held accountable and all the blame or glory will go to Mr. Walton.

Bill said...

Compare the security procedures to the 2008 Republican Convention in St. Paul where you had a sitting president in attendance. I doubt the preparation is that much different.

They ended up with an out-of-control police force that is still sorting through illegal arrest lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

Lets keep our arrangments secret for the protection of another useless N I G G E R.

Bill said...

Anon@8:55 - typical cowardly comments from a person with the intellect of a sea slug. Did ya' giggle when you wrote it?

Of course, you are such a spineless wimp that you hide.

Anonymous said...

The Observer is all over the place when it comes to comments. Some articles allow them, some don't. Some allow anonymous comments, some don't. Some have the ability to flag incredibly inappropriate comments, some don't. Have they fired so many people down there that nobody's minding the store?