Thursday, April 13, 2017

"Heads I win. Tails, who's your Daddy now" | #becauserochester

"Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" 
A device whereby, if things turn out one way, your system accounts for them - and if they turn out another way, your system accounts for them. 
- Kenneth Burke, Attitudes Toward History

You are a Shit Spotter. It's satisfying work. … We have observed that most of the trouble in the world has been caused by ten to twenty percent of folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus. Now your virus is an obligate cellular parasite and my contention is that evil is quite literally a virus parasite occupying a certain brain area which we may term the RIGHT center. The mark of a basic shit is that he has to be right. And right here we must make a diagnostic distinction between the hard-core virus-occupied shit and a plain, ordinary, mean no-good son of a bitch. Some of these sons of bitches don't cause any trouble at all, just want to be left alone. 
- William S. Burroughs, The Place of Dead Roads

It appears the City will take up it's botched social media policy without fixing what botched it or holding any hearings regarding it. But it will have its way. Check the agenda packet [pp. 300 -338] for Monday's [04.17.2017] council meeting.

The City attorney attaches a court ruling [pp. 337 - 338] that addresses public employees (which was not a point of contention) but nothing that address appointees to boards and commissions - which was a point of contention. Of course, the City has every right and the responsibility to oversee the use of its own social media. The City can also hold its public employees accountable for their personal social media conduct - though with protections not afforded to persons in private employment. The cited case is mute with regard to appointees to boards and commissions who, as unpaid volunteers, can hardly be regarded as public employee.

But wait for the coin toss:

"There are numerous references within these Organizational Polices to the term 'employees.' To the extent possible and in light of the fact that members of City boards, commissions, and committees are unpaid volunteers rather than employees in the strict definition of that term, the term “employees” does include unpaid volunteer members of City boards, commissions, and committees."

How does that sentence even make sense? Since members are "unpaid volunteers rather than employees" we will include them as "employees".

So: "unpaid volunteer members of City boards, commissions, and committees" are "employees".

The city then returns to its peculiar use of the category "City representative". Apparently not realizing that this bit of doublespeak is no longer necessary. It was used in the prior draft to introduce a new category the City would employ to encompass the unpaid volunteers whose personal speech it so desperately wants to restrain. This device is no longer required since the City has now simply asserted that "unpaid volunteers" are "employees" of the City.

Anyway here it is:
This policy applies to any existing or proposed social media websites sponsored, established, registered or authorized by the City. This policy also covers the private use of the City’s social media accounts by all City Representatives. For purposes of this policy, the term “City Representatives” includes all City employees, agents (i.e. independent contractors), Council members, and appointed board or commission members and all volunteers

So: since appointed board and commission members are "unpaid volunteers" and thus "employees" of the City. Therefore, the City can treat them as it can "employees" and subject them to constraints and sanctions upon their use of personal social media.

I believe this is known as "heads I win, tails who's your daddy now.'"

Also it doesn't pass unnoticed that striking of "the City's" from social media now extends the scope to - one presumes - any and all social media.

'Some people are shits, darling.' - William S. Burroughs


How about this as a policy for appointed members to City boards, etc.:

First of all, the City thanks you for your service and the important contribution you make to the civic life of our community. Regarding the City's social media policy, please note the following: 
When you make use of the City's social media, you are subject to the City's social media guidelines. 
Additionally, the city suggests that during your tenure of voluntary service to the City and its residents, if you have identified yourself as a member of a City board, etc. on your personal social media sites, it is good practice to also include this statement: “These are my own opinions and do not represent those of the City.” We encourage you to follow this practice. 
Thank you again for your service.

Oh yeah, one more thing.

Dear Mr/Mrs./Ms. Mayor:

If ever I apply for appointment to a City board, commission, or committee: "These are my own opinions and do not represent those of the City." Obviously.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Armory Redux

KROC- AM News: So, the idea of the arts and cultural collaborative is not dead and buried?
Mayor Brede: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. 
                                                                               - interview, 9/15/16 

"Mayor Opposed to Selling Armory Building," interview KROC-AM News, 09/15/2016

Memo to Mayor and City Council from Steven Kvenvold, City Administrator regarding Armory Reuse Matters, 09/13/2016
The Armory building has served as a community resource for a number of decades and I would prefer that it continues to serve as a community resource for the future. A community is enhanced by a vibrant arts scene and an affordable gathering and work space is needed for individuals to explore and implement their artistic endeavors. In many cities, an artistic quarter often thrives in a low rent area of the city, frequently resulting in making such an area more attractive to investors, ultimately increasing rents which drives the artists out of the area. With a community owned facility, an "artistic quarter" could exist for many years without a loss of space due to the increasing costs of such a space. The proposal from the Arts and Cultural Initiative would also serve the needs of Rochester's diverse cultural groups by providing a space for the groups to meet and interact.

 "The Armory arts and culture re-use proposal: How much? Who agrees? Now what?," A Life and the Times, 09/05/2016

          Who agrees?
Over 100 organizations, groups, and individuals
The proposal submission includes commitments from 103 arts and cultural organizations, groups, and individuals to monthly rental of ACI Armory facilities; periodic use of the ACI Armory facilities; and, other support for the ACI Armory facilities project. The arts and culture organizations included among others: the Rochester Art Center, Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, Rochester Choral Arts Ensemble, Rochester Civic Music, Alliance of Chicanos, Hispanics and Latin Americans, and the Cambodian Association of Rochester Minnesota.  Dozens of letters of support were provided for review with the proposal submission.
Rochester Art Center 
In a letter included in the March 2016 ACI proposal submission, the Rochester Art Center (RAC) shared its own intentions to “guide and encourage thoughtful re-alignment between arts and cultural organizations in Rochester” and shared its believe that the ACI proposal was “a strong move to solidify an artists-led space.” RAC committed in its letter to provide “professional advice and support” to ACI as needed; rent space as for artists working with RAC; serve as “a foundational organization along with other arts organizations, museums and community groups“; and, provide “concrete professional art administrative support via governance, finance, grants, collaborative projects, etc…” 
Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust
Subsequent to the ACI proposal submission, and based on an update it received regarding that proposal, the Board of the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust at its quarterly meeting in April 2016 passed a resolution on “The Re-use of the Rochester Armory Building”. Citing the “a longstanding desire within the arts and cultural community of a multi-use facility” and the benefits to the general public “from the potential for new educational, retail, and social artistic-related offerings,” the Trust recommended that the city of Rochester strongly consider “the arts, culture, and humanities re-use” of the Armory. 
Chateau Theatre Re-use Study 
Last month, August 2016, the Chateau Theatre Re-use Study commissioned from Webb Management Services, Inc by the Chateau Re-use Task Force included in its report references to the ACI Armory re-use proposal.  The study found “multiple arts groups, artists, and ethnic cultural communities, all struggling for funds and space (but mostly space).” The study noted that space was not only needed as places to “to work and produce,” but also “crucial” to receive grant dollars.
The study also observed the city has “a very large cultural community that has significant need for affordable gathering space.” For both groups the study noted that rising property values resulting from DMC have resulted in “rents that many can no longer afford.”  The study found “many art and cultural community representatives feel that, if the ACI’s proposal is unsuccessful, Rochester’s independent arts and culture community will be completely displaced”
Based on these and other findings, the study included this recommendation:
“In addition to making it the heart of the ‘Heart of the City’, make the Chateau the anchor facility of an arts and culture district or trail, one that includes the Armory as a home for Rochester’s small arts and cultural groups and independent artists. There is an acute need for small organization support in Rochester. The Chateau will be able to meet the needs of some of the community’s arts groups, but not all of them. We would recommend that the City give RACC’s Armory proposal significant thought, particularly within context of developing an arts and cultural district in downtown Rochester and the DMC.”

Observation 1:

Do not sell the Armory.

Observation 2:

Accept the Arts and Culture Initiative proposal for Re-use of the Armory with Addendum.

Observation 3:

Before 3:30pm this Wednesday (01/18/2017), let the people who will make this decision know that: (1) the Armory should not be sold; and, (2) the Arts and Culture Initiative proposal for Re-use of the Armory with Addendum should be accepted. Those people would be:

Randy Staver, City Council President Ed Hruska, City Council Member, 1st Ward Michael Wojcik, City Council Member, 2nd Ward Nick Campion, City Council Member, 3rd Ward Mark Bilderback, City Council Member, 4th Ward Mark Hickey, City Council Member, 5th Ward Annalissa Johnson, City Council Member, 6th Ward
Observation 4:

It's not complicated.