This is a statement that I read aloud at Council on Monday, July 18, 2022 announcing
I’m here to announce a new community project to provide more accessible information about the actions of council. It’s available now at a2council.vote. Many recognize that Legistar is difficult to navigate, and it’s impossible to see a summary of the votes that took place at a council meeting. In fact, Councilmember Nelson has been providing summary information and voting charts for some time, but I think there are two problems with a sitting Councilmember being the provider of this service. First: being a Councilmember is not a permanent position, and at some point Councilmember Nelson will no longer be on council. This sort of service should outlive the term of any single councilmember. Second: even though the voting charts and reproduced agendas are factual, they serve as a funnel into the rest of her website, which is filled with propaganda, misinformation, and outright lies.
For instance, while attempting to look up the votes for a particular meeting, you might also be presented with such misinformation as:
- insinuations of impropriety directed at a member of city staff, which she has been unwilling to retract even after being told that those insinuations are untrue and harmful to the staff member.
- justifications of her “no” vote on censuring councilmember Hayner for using racial slurs, saying that he merely had “used the phonetic sounds without euphemism”. Furthermore, she claims that she had received no communications about Hayner’s words being harmful, despite there being ample proof that she did.
- suggestions that her council colleagues might have been bribed since someone tried to bribe her, which was apparently alarming enough to use for propaganda purposes, but not alarming enough to actually report to the authorities
- insinuations that her opponent is participating in an illegal texting operation1, including instructions on how to report the texts to the FCC. (If this is truly illegal then you might as well report Governor Whitmer, Debbie Dingell, Planned Parenthood, and literally every other Democrat because wow do I get a lot of texts from campaigns)
- and she’s also made suggestions that if she loses her upcoming election, it’ll be because it was “bought”, and that voters are so uninformed and easily manipulated that the loss won’t be her fault.
We don’t find it acceptable that people have to wade through that nonsense in order to access basic data on council actions. In an ideal world, the city would provide this information in a neutral, clear, easy to digest format. Unfortunately it doesn’t. Our intent is to fill that gap, giving people access to information about the workings of council without including propaganda. This will be open source, and anyone is welcome to contribute. I hope the city will take it over one day.
You can visit a2council.vote to see the voting chart, and just the voting chart, for tonight’s meeting. Expect to see more in the future; we’re just getting started! My contact information is on the site if you’d like more information or to get involved.