A New Sound To January’s Natural Soundtrack In the Midwest: Thunder At Midnight

With a rare clap of thunder being the only momentarily startling aspect to this particular evening, it has not escaped me that my broadcasting rates and ratios with my blogs fell silent for the past month or so. And even with advanced metrix measurements, I’ll never identify the effects of such silence.

Therefore, to offer simple reason and rational behind the perception of delay, my launching blog space for The Code Book List, The Meeting Minutes Index and this blog (Only 3 Minutes To Go) was only a first stage point of origin to work from while I tried to evaluate whether or not I could bring a measure of success to reproducing public documents in a timely and responsive manner while producing original materials worthy of a price tag of some measure.

With a final determination in December being acted upon, I went ahead and purchased a domain name and a slice of space to store my original documents along with all of this other public documentation work I was doing that never made it to the online community, such as my notes.

The purchasing of the domain forced me to make additional commitments, which included a refusal to publish something just for the sake of publishing something right on schedule, hence the silence on the blogs.

Oh how I forgot how absolutely strange it is to translate a vision in one’s mind into a website using HTML!  It’s rough enough to custom design a blog, but at least that process is usually a more pick, point and click process rather than trying to remember what meta tag would trigger what types of responses in search engines as being far down on my own list of architecture priorities.  Meta tagging has always been sort of a last spit and polish shine to something I’m ready to leave alone for a while longer and having the form follow function has always been a top priority for me.

So when I am faced with my forms not functioning, such as the continued tug of technical war between browser rendititions of coding, I confess I do not tend to think much of returning to composing content for this site…or any site whatsoever other than what is at the top of my own checklist.

However, absent as I have been from this particular broadcasting source, it will remain my hope that any perceived lack of commitment to this conversation can be put to rest with what I have now taken live in its new home, known as My Pile of Strange and is located at http://www.mypileofstrange.com.

I certainly plan on weaving this blog into my site at some point, but for the time being I plan on spending my time finishing more original materials for the site, such as producing even more read aloud meeting minutes, original reports and workable indexing systems and my latest endeavor to produce at least one item with a slight price tag on it.  Make no mistake that I do not mind publishing content free for public consumption.  It’s just tough being a free agent artist with a strange grasp of public documentation as but one of a few select specialties. So with plans being developed for even an audio show or two not entirely about public documentations, I suspect these blog will remain more of a random outlet rather than a central repository, which fits in just fine with my own usage of space in digital format.

Therefore, I am excited to be able to suggest a visit to My Pile of Strange and hopefully in the near future, I can once again pick up on this thread, but perhaps you’ll be interested in knowing I picked up 61 municipalities rather than staying with the original seven I selected for this effort and I think The 2013 Election Collection will speak for itself without my having to constantly pump new information into the site to keep it relevant.

After all, public documentation only happens to be something that I am good at interpreting.  It isn’t who I am as an artist or as an individual.

Did I mention I am still writing original music every now and again?  I still haven’t gotten my hands on meeting minutes from Markham, but I have a rough draft novelty tune waiting for a hand up from me somewhere within these pursuits of happiness I keep pouring out into the online community.  My Pile of Strange covers it all.

Happy thunder-filled Tuesday morning!

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(Yawn! Stretch!) So! Anything change while I napped? Are we still Last of the Last in Credit?

From what I have studied about the concept of sleep, I believe I was (as typical) fairly silent as I passed the time in the darkness by simply closing my eyes and then letting myself go through the one and a half hour cycles of in, out, up, down and every other communication going on while I repeatedly tell myself, I know nothing of this content being displayed before my eyes while someone turns the light switch on and off…

Not only did I fall asleep early last night, I can make no apologies for choosing to view a few competing shows on non-mainstream channels and opting to avoid absorbing mountains upon mountains of spectacular speculation evolve from those who possess no more ill-will towards our right to freedom of speech than I, but when projections are offered without certification, it isn’t even the Dewey/Truman headline that my mind immediately wanders to.  My more recent discovery of Rice vs. Board of Trustees 326 Ill App.3d 1120 (Fourth District 2002) in which an Illinois Appellate Court voided a final action taken in an open meeting on an item of new business because it was not included in the agenda.

With hanging chads hanging on the lower rungs of my own list of examples of why drawing unwavering conclusions based upon seemingly unwavering speculation can create irregular skips and beats in the literal hearts and minds of anyone and everyone exposed to the speculation, the issue of the administrative error in public documentation sustains equal weight of importance irrelevant of personnel shifts in and out of job positions with job titles like “Clerk” and even “Administrator.”  Once all human relevance has been detached from our obligation to maintain a consistent, contiguous and continuous collection of municipal meeting minutes, it is quite easy to reflect upon the documents and question just how fact-based and political-neutral the documents are.

For example, the Mayor of the Village of Alsip seems to have some influence over what content is published in the minutes as is clearly evident when multiple years are cataloged and reviewed.  More recently, the page count for the minutes jumped significantly because the Clerk opted to perhaps even reprint(?) the Mayor’s statement in its entirety(?) regarding what appears to be a conversation pertaining to corporation structure and hierarchy.

So rather than a quick citation of the prepared speech, the whole text was placed in the position of factual notation rather than opinion and speculation over what motives and means have been lurking in the minds of others.

At first, I even thought about the idea of it having been appropriate for the speech to be attached to the minutes, but after rolling it around for a bit, I would think the only appropriate outlet for such a printing would be of the Mayor placing the content on his own personal website…done on his own time…with his own dollar…his own fingers doing the typing and sending…

OR…

He could simply institute a policy that from now on, there will be video and audio recordings of the meeting posted to the Village of Alsip website, thereby shutting down even Americans With Disabilities Act violations that are occuring on his watch, but what the hell do I know.  All I know is that if the Village of Alsip is going to be providing only partial transcripts of their meetings on the taxpayer dollar, who is behaving like a nuanced nuisance towards all who wish to view the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth as it relates to what happens in a municipal meeting.

Our taxpayer-funded public forums should be wrapped in political-neutral expectations of nothing less being produced by the governing body, especially when theatrics are not only permissable, but a part and parcel of our right to attribute our beliefs and behaviors to that of a political vision rather than that of a mental health issue needing pages and pages of line-item billing attached to a numbering system found in the DSM.  This is a circumstance in which the answers can only be drawn from that of the system found within the Constitution of the United States of America that makes it very clear, there will be no abridgment of freedom of speech tolerated on U.S. soil and that there will be penalties for those who contradict such a pledge.

So I still may not know who my next President is going to be while I write this particular entry, but I know that today is November 7th and I’ve been looking towards the 15th as being the start of layout decision process of this particular publication regardless of who my President will be.  I still haven’t gotten my hands on two more sets of minutes so I don’t even know how that is going to go today, but at least its starting to warm up a little.  I hate having to wear three layers of clothes just to walk a few miles!

<yawn>Yup! <stretch> Today is another day I have to go out into the world and see what changed while my eyes were closed.  I still have a bunch of unattached opinions rattling around my imagination.

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Notes to New and Regular Visitors

Note to my Regular Visitors

I’d love to tell you a cascade of content has been falling into my hands, but I still am learning how to get to and from a variety of locations let alone my computer crashing out on me last Friday, my ink cartridge decided to stop spitting and you know something?  My clothes were sitting in a pile in my room, so I just spent the weekend cleaning up my reality before worrying about whether or not I even have my operating system disk or not.

As this has been the first chance for me to restore my system (found the disk this morning), despite the inactivity here on the blog, conversation continues to flow in fairly constructive manners…far more freely than before The Law Book List took its place on the Internet as a reliable index of local municipal code books throughout the nation.

The Crestwood front office has begun to step up its administrative game face and seems quite amiable to engage in civil and constructive conversations regarding their record-keeping practices as it relates to their meeting minutes.  Robbins seems to have an ace of an Administrator who has imagination and curiosity but whether or not these elements will translate into consistent delivery on the part of each of these local governments still remains a precarious proposition.

I continue to remain hopeful that my continuing to prolong setting an actual release date of something in a paper format will continue to reflect nothing more or less than a dedication to thoroughness with this matter that matters so much to so many people in so many different ways.

It is not that I have doubt in my ability to spot these types of administrative circumstances, but as I explained to someone the other day, there is no reason for me to not first apply my skill set in such a way to first aid my home community in presenting the best we can collectively pull together before the year is over.  As I continue to have had no doubt of my ability to secure one or even a few copies of meeting minutes, it is the nuances of words like “nuisance” that continues to haunt from literally within public and private record-keeping systems that continue to present some of the more confounding and confusing sets of unique circumstances I have been presented with.

Therefore, it remains my assessment that the prevailing wisdom within the boundaries of the State of Illinois continues to remain in an almost-still motion setting in which everything but these two sets of documents are to be talked about, squabbled about, requested, read, annotated, notated and/or otherwise brought forth in the course of seeking redress from the Government and that my home communities are to be no more villified for their activities than any other entity that has blockaded, obstructed and/or otherwise provided method and means to keep the State of Illinois in clear violation of not just the ADA direction and freedom of speech issues, but also that of a 14th Amendment violation.

There’s well over a thousand local municipalities in this State.  There are zero reliable switchboards available to quick connect and direct connect a citizen to an answer to who is in compliance with even the bare-boned Open Meetings Act demand of agendas, let alone municipal code books.

Lastly, I had my attention drawn to the Megaupload circumstances before my computer decided to leave me for a while and it crossed my mind that the current request by an uploader of content to access their content on file with the justice system represents perhaps one of the more articulate arguments that with slight modifications, fits this circumstance quite well.

In essence, the lawsuit suggests that it is irrelevant of what those who masterminded the schematic and that the consumer just wants their property back.  It sets forth a position of mini-lawsuits being a risk factor relative to the discovery process unraveling at an otherwise uninfluenced group of individuals involved with the overall legal case.

Therefore, it is feasible to consider the necessity and subsequent appropriate separation of the meeting minutes and municipal code book collection to be considered whole and separate from any past, existing and/or future issues as it relates to compliance versus non-compliance judgment upon a government entity.  I also still believe these documents have been so polarized and paralysing for so long, it cannot be considered good governance of one’s self if the only solution is to enter the justice system for solution.

Too bad there isn’t some sort of intervention program for this kind of stuff, right?

Oh wait!  That’s right.

There is.

It’s called constructive conversation.

And to think I consider today a good day! 🙂  But maybe that’s because if Illinois is to be the last of last in terms of credit, there may be a way for Illinois to become one of the first of the first to have our local law books take their rightful place on the shelves of American History as contained and managed by the Library of Congress.

Just another one of those many thoughts being dropped by passing my fingers over these labeled keys.

Note to my New Visitors

I am not a 160 character or less writer so if you’re looking for a list of theoretical commentary-filled headlines to review, then I may not be your best source of information above and beyond the municipal meeting minutes and municipal code books I have been working to have released from Too Pricey Of A Price Tag Purgatory.

Yes, I have inserted a dramatic slight of intellect with my anchoring a phrase intentionally designed to perhaps attract your imagination towards what anyone could possibly mean by using the phrase “Price Tag Purgatory.”

But if that phrase does nothing to perhaps entice you to review your own local public documentation circumstance, local governments collectively spend millions of dollars on fulfilling a variety of reasonable and rational publishing mandates, demands and desires.

So, the short of it is this project and direction is that not one member of one municipality in non-compliance with Digital Millenium Act, Sunshine and Open Meeting Act legislation went ahead and carried their own copies of their own board meeting minutes issused to them by the government through the existing budgeted for printing to their local library and

Some municipalities continue to refuse to budge from their continued position of theoretical protest.  Just as I would expect no one to demand of me, especially through a public or private court system to accept their judgment to be a forevermore and final judgment, I cannot simply demand of anyone to immediately stop and change their behaviors simply because I noticed something that was not to my own satisfaction.

As I was a writer before acquiring the typing skills to keep up with my mind’s pace, I could certainly present to the online community nothing but my opinions born from pieces of fact that no one would be able to check on because many meeting minutes are not available online and convince myself I have satisfied my need to compose something of an attention-getter without violating my own boundaries I have placed upon myself as it relates to knowing individualism influences collectivism and vice versa.

What that means to you, my reader, may very well be a vision of something entirely different than what I reflected upon when I formed these compositions for my own initial purpose.  You may be furious with the idea that every local library should have no less than a paper copy of the local laws, county laws and state laws.  Computer time is limited to a few hours and a library card and if a person wishes to spend two weeks in such a setting to study such documents, let alone 2 minutes, the word “impossible” actually applies.  The FOIA request was not (or it better not have been) designed to be used as a perpetual obstruction designed to force registration of interest in government-published materials labeled “Law” and “Meeting Minutes” and yet that’s exactly what we all face here in the State of Illinois…right along side of the rest of the nation who continues to endure a less than 40% compliance rate when our collection of local law books is singled out of the statistics.

The great thing about the word “impossible” is that I see it representing a possible temporary condition rather than a permanent and unwavering fixed state of mind.

So while I continue to work through this otherwise “impossible” set of circumstances by continuing to write out my own job description that achieves constuctive enhancement our public documentation system of publishing and distribution, perhaps you will join those who tolerate my irregular publishing habits to the online community while otherwise promising an update and relevant library location for Alsip, Blue Island, Crestwood, Markham, Midlothian, Posen and Robbins public documentation and stop back another time to see if anything has changed…

At least with these blogs.

I don’t know about the rest. 🙂

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1 Why for the Municipal Meeting Minutes Index | Chronologies help ensure complete discovery

Without actually endorsing LexisNexis as an organization, let alone products I am quite uncertain about, it is within the sales pitch of the company that tells me its a lot simpler and easier citing someone else’s writings than trying to come up with something entirely new.

“A document index organizes knowledge by document rather than by fact. This approach ends up concealing facts rather than achieving the primary goal of a chronology—making case facts explicit.” – LexisNexis

Publishing an interactive index of public documentation does take thought, but when meeting minutes are entirely absent from access, this particular codification facet presents a clear threshold for a public documentation index.  Ensure the content is thoroughly indexed along with the date being in the file name.

However, the process of indexing the content from an internalized position held by government only, the reliable publishing of meeting minutes to a reliable location can help remove any reason for doubt that meeting minutes are not only being produced, but that they are being produced in a format that does not obscure information, as is the circumstances with 5 of the 7 municipalities:  Crestwood, Midlothian, Posen, Alsip and Blue Island, through the application of a variety of shortcuts that don’t even work in paper format, such as citation of IDOT and then needing to guess whether or not the acronym is short for Illinois Department of Transportation or who knows what other derivatives are out there.

 

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Only 7, 7 and 2 to go

As with many of my creative efforts, even this one is about to take an unplanned twist that seems to fit well with the direction of the Municipal Meeting Minutes Index.

As I named this blog as a suggestion that I had only three more municipal board meeting minutes to collect, the “2” in the title represents two municipalities left on my list of 7, namely that of Robbins, Illinois and Markham, Illinois.

So thoughts crossed my mind this past weekend as I fell upon a portable drive that at least at one time in the past held a copy of both video and audio of one board meeting for Village of Midlothian with Mayor Thomas Murawski in office at the time.

Unfortunately, the drive was as damaged now as it was back when I recorded the meeting, but it got me thinking…

There are 7 municipalities that may or may not have video records of their board meetings and there are 7 municipalities that may or may not have audio records of their board meetings.

I wonder what it would take to get one copy of each format of one meeting each…

Yup!  Only 7, 7 and 2 to go!

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Introducing Posen Illinois Board Meeting Minutes | And with some being better than none…

Posen, Illinois municipal code book?  Paging a Posen, Illinois municipal code book?

Okay.  So maybe I shouldn’t open with a joke, but I’d love to say I found a set of meeting minutes similar to the Crestwood circumstance when it came to selecting Posen as one of the communities I wanted to work with.

Instead it has become a hindsight revalation that The Village of Posen, Illinois does have, and has had, board meeting minutes online and they were there all the time.  I just didn’t have the right keyword combination to get past all of the commercialized directory sites to find it.

So, not only is the Village of Posen absent of a copy of their municipal code book online complete with a red carpet for code enforcement content to hit the search index circuitry with no supporting documentation available without a formal request, here is a snapshot of their site as of Otober 16, 2012:

Screen Snapshot of The Village of Posen Illinois Board Meeting MInutes Archive on October 16, 2012

Village of Posen Illinois Archive November 8, 2011 through June 12, 2012

Quick Point of Observation:

Both meeting minutes and agendas are theoretically supposed to be published to existing websites within a fairly short time frame.

1.  There is only one agenda available for download dated July 10, 2012
2.  The Meeting Minutes Index stops at June 12, 2012

Therefore, someone took the time to upload an agenda almost a month later without updating the Index.  After the July 10, 2012 entry, all contributions cease.  This can be quickly corrected by uploading all agendas and board meeting minutes for 2012 through no less than September 27, 2012 to bring the site into compliance.  In studying the site, it should not be of extended complexity to perform this publication of documents in an online capacity.*

So at least there are some Posen meeting minutes to work into the Municipal Meeting Minutes Index but I did inform the Village of Posen today that they were missing some documents so hopefully there will be more some time in the near future.

* Note – The application of the bold effect holds more than just a darkening of text.  In actuality, the set of instructions to provide such an effect (which is “<bold></bold>”) takes up 13 spaces in the HTML coding.  Even if this instruction is settled into a .css file, every space receives a one count when designing and developing, even if nothing is in the space but a space.  It is when a document receives individual application of the instructions that appealing as this particular feature is in a paper setting, injections of too much bold can drive costs up through raising the file size needs.  Not sure why there was need for someone to bold some meeting minutes listings while leaving some undecorated.

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Vexatious Freedom of Information Illusions

I’m not savvy about board meeting minutes and their availability as it relates to the current text being called law here in the State of Illinois.

I barely know municipal code books and even then, I’m severely out of date.

So anyway…

The Kitching Bill was recently passed by Illinois lawmakers to address a matter so vexating, only the immediate aid and assistance of words being inserted into books as a matter of enforceable law at a local level.

Whereas the state decided to roll along with the idea that reading copies of municipal code books and board meeting minutes in the privacy of ones home or even their place of employe remains such a grave danger to State and Local Security, only an extreme adventure unique to the individual and municipality can provide adequate assurances a municipality will not be assaulted via the Freedom of Information Act…perhaps…possibly…or maybe not…?

Mayor Patrick Kitching of Alsip, Illinois was cited in the local media as having been hit so hard by a such a precision FOIA request, nothing less than modification of existing laws will deter such “vexatious” behaviors.

Hmmm…me thinks I prefer the word “nuisance” in these circumstances rather than some less applied term to describe the existing process in Alsip, thereby leaving the term “vexing” to reflect what seems to be happening within the full boundaries of the State of Illinois.

First, there is no avoiding conclusion that in many cases, the right hand has absolutely no clue what the left hand is doing…and I even mean in a typo setting.  When a board meeting minute collection reflects errors in voting counts, even the internal guts of the municipalities is operating on false assumptions of truth, let alone from an observatory position when trying to publish the voting record of each individual in even one municipality.  Frequently, the media is dissuaded from pursuit of such reporting efforts through the FOIA structure taking on the position of “vexatious” and “nusaince” when all it takes is posting a copy to the Internet.

So is it worth arguing over a spelling error?  If anyone has a poll on that one… ‘cause I’m not tracking down those stats.

However, I suspect many lawyers and accountants would be filled with overflowing happiness to point out the value of accuracy in publications and even the data entry clerk can sometimes stay awake all night counting sheep because they were chewed out for a cascading series of events that was traced back to their fingertips.

This point of matter should be a strong indicator as to just how alive our opinionated nation really is relative to the text making claims perhaps frequently to the contrary.  Not sure what the State of Illinois was fearful of, at least when it comes to using these two public document sets to scan from time to time at all levels of government.

So let’s go another direction now.  Let’s say the Public Access Counselor’s office goes ahead and decides to review board meeting minutes for these types of inaccuracies in a spot check manner parallel to the mandatory car insurance checks mailed out by the Secretary of State.  Now if we jump into the legislative time machine, the State of Illinois published both a law with a short title of Open Meetings Act along with a statement of position from the Attorney General outlining the objectives of the legislation written in far less legalese.

The key to this particular Freedom of Information door is that there is enough looping to where the intent of the law is made clear on a state level that provides two reasons for legislation over otherwise autonomous entities:

“…to ensure that public bodies keep accurate records of their proceedings for their own protection.”

When this statement is placed side by side with the voting record reporting circumstance, it is clear that the value of such accuracy goes far beyond the skin covering the municipality.  The media can no more afford inaccuracy in their own reporting and are sometimes even forced to print retractions when they publish erroneous and/or error-filled information.  Is it possible to argue censorship at this point?  Perhaps.  But I haven’t even printed one newspaper yet, so its not entirely a direction I’ve allowed myself to wander for too long.

Let’s turn this around and look at it from the eyes of a judge in a courtroom setting.  If a judge doesn’t ask what “IDOT” stands for, does the standard default assumption of Illinois Department of Transportation being the entity referenced as a part of a vote apply, or does the judge risk a social-driven perspective well-seeded in suggestions of stupidity or foolishness for not knowing such an otherwise clear citation of the Illinois Department of Transportation?

This leads to the other piece of foundation for the Open Meetings Act.

“…to provide a record for a court to examine when it is trying to ascertain whether or not a violation of the Act has occurred.”

So where is the legislation providing a judge the verbiage to apply the term “vexatious” to a set of board meeting minutes?

Well, for now it doesn’t exist.  But what does exist is an existing threshold records have to meet to where “…sufficient data explaining what was discussed, the substance of the discussion and what, if any action was taken.”

What municipality is going to head to a courtroom and say “Judge, can you judge these documents to see if we have achieved the necessary threshold” but perhaps more twisting is the idea that even the Equal Access to the Illinois Justice System have zero capacity to go ahead and take a quick peek to see what municipalities, if any, are not keeping accurate records of their proceedings, let alone following up on any complaint over any potential violation that may be existing.

So let’s take all of these spokes and bring them into a wheel just whistling for conversation.

The meeting minutes for Posen and Robbins used to be available in a physical setting with a local library as custodian.

They’re gone.

Computer records say they still exist at the Markham, Illinois library, but they do not actually have the white 3-ring binders I actually thumbed through momentarily while looking for a municipal code book.  Heck.  They don’t even have copies of Markham board meeting minutes

This isn’t any better than a municipal code book being listed as Missing In Actuality because a group of employees decided not to honor the text listed in the front of the document that made it clear “ask and ye shall receive” during normal business hours.

Last time I went searching for this type of documentation, I encountered lawyers, cops, mayors, and others, all with their own perspectives and positions as it relates to what it is I want my government to accomplish sooner rather than later.

Therefore, although I could go on and on about my own perspectives, I have the Index to try to improve and must bring this thought to a close.

But here’s something I’m going to look into at some point next week.

Now I am no fan of any event that has born the label of “Anonymous” as it relates to the hacking schemes and conversation.

However, I did look into Wikileaks as a method of drawing attention to my own difficulties once I had the documents. Ultimately, there was really no need for entry into such a social circle and I chose to remain with my own website and my own marketing on the topic.

A few days ago, the suggestion was made that Wikileaks will no longer benefit(?) from the protection(?) provided by Anonymous because its original creator had installed some form of a pay wall between an end-user and the database.

Without getting into the community mechanics of such a statement, I thought about the conversations surrounding one legal case being carried forth on a premise that release of documents to the Wikileaks database constituted a severe breach in national security.

After I read about this, it crossed my mind that my publishing the Crestwood meeting minutes a few days ago for the first time ever is a release of documents that otherwise were entirely absent to the Internet community.

Because I know I have Sunshine laws, Digital Millenium Act and other legal compositions to turn to as some semblance of structure as to what I can and cannot do as a plain old citizen…let alone a citizen wanting to begin publishing these documents in a newspaper format…let alone being a citizen that already published quite a few modified versions for demonstration purposes.  So if I have comfort in existing laws telling me I do not need to harm government via a FOIA request (let alone multiples) and that all we are missing is the library component to this public documentation accessibility expectation.

So perhaps there was a reason to elevate Kitching’s complaints above the otherwise avoidable circumstance of an individual wanting to run for office having to decide if they want to risk being considered a criminal of a civil kind should the municipality not want to surrender a full collection of documents that contain the laws and the citations of when what laws were placed into such a book.  And with the codification industry relying on a 3-ring binder method as a means of fulfilling their promise to publish said documents in a usable manner…

Chilling.  Absolutely cold.  But perhaps no more cold than the last set of stats I pulled for municipal code books.  These public documents are sitting on hard drives and there needs to be no forced leak of any of these materials.

Building a library isn’t a political matter.

It’s a private one.

Millions already spent on the documentation process and production of public property.  Missing.  Don’t know if it existed and disappeared or if it’s a Crestwood circumstance to where there were absolutely no meeting minutes kept over 30+ years.

Chilling.  The State of Illinois had not a clue.  The right hand not knowing what the left was doing…?

Chilling.  Not one meeting minute available for Posen, Robbins or Markham, Illinois at two local libraries.

That’s not providing easy access to the public…but that’s a clause for another time.

More later.

Posted in Markham Illinois, Notes Designed To Confuse 'Cause I'm Confused, Posen Illinois, Robbins Illinois | Leave a comment

It all started one day at the library

Itching to acquire the last 3 documents I was seeking, headed over to the library, thinking I could just photocopy the documents and be done with it.  Three small areas:  Posen, Illinois, Markham, Illinois and Robbins, Illinois.

What was I thinking.

On second thought, I’ll have to think about that.

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Happier Days Are Here At Last For At Least A Few?

It has always been a series of awkward contemplations when faced with a blank page and so many large-scale events transpiring across a scale of such magnitude, what does an author passionate about the craft decide to do with the canvas is but one of many conflicts I permit myself to endure once and a while (I have found too much infighting either internally or externally is not necessarily a positive influence on one’s mental health, let alone anyone else).  Even my own losses to a house fire a while back pales in comparison to the devastation this silly little contraption allows me to view upon demand in terms of the superstorm that still is rippling within the atmosphere.

So when the heart aches to contribute to a non-political event such as the recent weather events, it can be a real struggle to attach to a direction that does more than just surface soothe the desires of wanting to extend a helping hand of some form, especially when I am knee-deep in my examination of local public documentation practices and protocols.

As I personally am unable to contribute in a direct manner to the relief efforts, it remains within my historical legacy of online efforts to always try to also find lighter tones and hues amongst the sometimes sharp and even agonizing reflections upon a condition I fear others endure in a far more burdensome manner than I could ever face in my lifetime.

So when I first sat down to compose contemplations from a recent experience today at a board meeting, it didn’t seem disrespectful for me to offer up a possible distraction of at least an entertaining nature for those who may very well have significant vested interest in the coastline for a wide variety of reasons…

Therefore, if I may first prepare you for a significant personality shift, at least within this composition, you will have greater insight into why I would headline this entry referencing “happier days” and then tilt into a moment of reflection on current events…

I swear I am so fed up with politicians who believe they are adept at positioning their commentary into a message of “Me boss, you not” type of setting when it is the reverse that remains entirely intact in principle and foundation that it is the citizen base that rules the land through the hands of the elected officials…

So today was a nerve-wracking day from moment one.  I had committed to myself that the first of November was going to be the first day I would wear my entirely invisible…but fashionably fashioned, of course…tin-foil newsman hat and then officially parade my thoughts through the process of visualizing the boundaries between being an official member of the media profession and someone simply reporting on personal observations as I have done over the past 6 years or so.  After all, I am the one who has been in the process of drafting a job description for myself and if I don’t know what my own policy expectations are of my own activities and conduct, I will lose what limited trust I have already been able to build upon.

Pretty down in the dumps start to a promise of happier thoughts somewhere in this content.  So, instead of sitting in the library tonight working on some administrative and/or online aspect to this process, I decided to attend one of the board meetings of one of the municipalities I have chosen to explore and study these past few years.

I wasn’t tickled about the idea of riding a bike to the location (it was cold in the Midwest tonight), but I was committed to the idea of video taping the meeting and then performing a test run on the transcription process (i.e. test out a few softwares, I’m a quick typist, etc.).

So I wrapped myself in my winter gear and hiked my way a distance that was triggering that warning from the older generation that went something like “Don’t complain!  I had to walk all the way to school in weather worse than this!  Get over it and just get there!” which of course my child-like response the whole ride was “Shut up!  I don’t care what you had to do.  I’m the one providing the energy here, darn it!”  (Come on…I have to entertain myself somehow on the ride there and not a word of this slipped out until now!)

Unfortunately, I left my imaginary tin-foil newsman hat somewhere along the way because there was too much open warmness going on prior to the start of the meeting to bring up the potential of a theoretical distraction argument.

And that’s where the happier days headline comes in.

Okay.  So I didn’t record the meeting.  I’m also not in this for the one-time “gotcha” snapshot and as I said, the tone of the meeting held nothing to warn or suggest anything other than my need to sit back and simply listen to the process unfold in an as-is fashion was the most responsible way to tame my desire to contribute to my home and the surrounding communities.

Right and necessary video recordings of these meetings are, it is a complex issue with no simple answer available to fill in these types of credibility opportunities and for what its worth, it is the municipality that possesses textbook responsibility for keeping “accurate” records and what better way of ensure there is such limits to reasonable doubt that that of a video and audio recording of a public meeting, but that’s not what this entry is about.  There’s time for that later.

Instead, it was within the idea that once the public floor was open to comments, of course I have to go and make mention of a few of the items I had already noted here in this blog.  First and primary, kudos to the board for absorbing my comments in such a responsive and responsible manner.  It is not necessarily a common desire for man to desire a fight or struggle with government in any fashion and my choice to stand up and speak about extra commas, mislabeled content and other clearly administrative-related issues that have zero to do with my seeking to influence local politics or even local government policy…other than get your spellings right, your numbers straight and make it reader-friendly.

There could have been strong opposition to my assertion of being the individual who noticed inaccuracies in official government records, but as I said above, total applause to the board and even those in attendance.  The ride home wasn’t filled once with thoughts from my exposure to the older generation, but that’s where this takes the most tickling twist of all.

After the meeting, I initially was approaching the Mayor to thank him but instead shifted first to the Village Clerk who was sitting next to him when I noticed no one was in line to speak with her.  Once again, my own personal and (obviously) selfish happy meter was growing with every stuttering I was allowed to fumble through and expand upon not in a public meeting setting and she was quite open to hearing even some of my more complex concerns about meeting minutes in general.

As we are going through this, the Mayor was finished with his conversation and I thanked him for the opportunity to address the board in such a formal manner and with such formal mannerisms.

Sure enough, old school politics came shining through when it was put to me that it didn’t have to go the way that it went and that perhaps I should somehow be grateful for such permissive latitude during the public forum section of the meeting.

Now I may fumble over my spoken words quite frequently, but I must say he didn’t even come close to touching the happiness meter with such a suggestion because I put it to him quite straight.  Not only should I not have to leave the comfort of my own home to ensure that the entire board is made aware of errors in official government records, he should have at least said thank you for bringing it to their attention in such a responsible and responsive manner that displayed nothing but care and concern for the one and all objectives I know I personally embrace when it comes to accessibility of information from government.

Instead, he asked for the website address I mentioned in my commentary and then outlined the “favor” he bestowed on me by not attempting to censor my reporting of violations that no one should ever experience the same nerve levels I felt and with not even a thank you, I basically cut him off by simply turning back to the Clerk and proceeded to work through a few more observations I had noted on my copy of a set of minutes and we were fine.  I told her I probably wouldn’t be back any time soon (I’m not riding a bike that far in the snow!) I left, she left and that was that.  Hopefully, phone calls will be more than enough in the future as is a natural course and path for any party to travel when it comes to rights to initiate conversations on virtually any topic someone wishes to discuss…and emotions aside, this municipality did a fine job listening during the public portion.

But to me the question is whether or not they be as equally tolerant of other people bringing this type of topic to their attention in the future?

Of which, I think that as long as the front office staff is permitted to continue performing their jobs as they have been as of recently, it is only the Mayor that should be feeling grateful that anyone would even care to keep an eye on these types of things in the first place.  So even though he may not have said “thank you” to me tonight, who knows?

Perhaps he’ll say it to his office staff tomorrow so that they can have a happier day?  I can’t fathom putting up with that kind of an attitude on a day to day basis, but then again I didn’t approach him in a position of employee/employer.

I approached him neighbor to neighbor and he thought I owed him one for letting me speak at a public meeting about his Board of Trustees approving board meeting minutes with false vote counts.

Now THAT’S Ha-Ha funny! 🙂

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