Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Friends of McMillan Park objects to bill exempting Advisory Neighborhood Commissions from DC’s Freedom of Information Act


From: Linwood Norman  
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 8:11 AM
Subject: PRESS RELEASE: Friends of McMillan Park Objects to Bill Exempting Advisory Neighborhood Commissions from DC’s Freedom of Information Act

16 Franklin Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 restoremcmillan@gmail.com

Press Release
Date: July 20, 2016

For Immediate Release Contact: Linwood Norman   804 837-0737
                                                            Kirby Vining         
202 213-2690

Friends of McMillan Park Objects to Bill Exempting Advisory Neighborhood Commissions from DC’s Freedom of Information Act

WASHINGTON, DC -- A bill currently being considered by the D.C. Council would reduce transparency and diminish community participation in legislative decisions by changing the law to exclude Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) from DC’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

If the bill passes, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions would be exempted from the FOIA law and would no longer be required to provide information to civic groups and other organizations that seek additional information regarding “closed-door” matters that could adversely impact citizens’ neighborhoods and their quality of life.

The bill, B21-0697, the ANC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016, was introduced to the Committee on Housing and Community Development by Councilmembers David Grosso and Anita Bonds.  It would exempt ANCs from the FOIA requirements, by making a  change to the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act stating “that an Advisory Neighborhood Commission shall not be considered to be an agency, an independent agency, or a subordinate agency.’ Currently, such agencies are required to comply with the DC’s FOIA law.

The Friends of McMillan Park has depended on FOIA requests of correspondence from the ANCs and other District government officials in order to learn about otherwise secret details regarding how and why the City’s planned development of McMillan Park has proceeded without following  established rules, regulations, and law. The park, a 25-acre tract at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue in northwest DC, is a DC Historic Landmark and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Our elected officials should be trying to make it easier for the citizens of the District to be able to gain access to government records that they have a right to see, but this proposed bill would make it more difficult if not impossible,” said Kirby Vining, one of the directors of the Friends of McMillan Park.

“Thus, we join with civic groups and other organizations to call upon Councilmembers Bonds and Grosso to explain the rationale for making this proposal and to eliminate this offensive and dangerous assault on government transparency and openness from the bill being considered by the Council.”

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The Friends of McMillan Park, Inc., is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

2 comments:

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  2. It is outrageous that ANCs don't want us to know what they do and want to exempt themselves from Freedom of Information Act.Clearly we should vote against Bonds and Grosso in next election.

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