Mayor Barry McDonnell recently said that the city would work to get answers updated onto the city's public comments page within a week of council meetings. Camas' most recent council meeting was seven days ago as of today, April 27th and as of this afternoon, there are six new responses on the page.
If you're curious, citizens are asked to wait for these answers to be delivered in this roundabout way, on a web page instead of through direct conversation during meetings due to council voting on Resolution 1252 to restrict a back and forth with citizens during public comment.
Many had hoped for the introduction of true two-way conversation in our meetings when voting for then candidate McDonnell, but public comment was instead even further restricted by council members' unanimous vote on Resolution 1252 (introduced by Council member Greg Anderson). You can see that discussed during the February 3rd Workshop meeting during agenda Item G - the discussion between council members about why they don't want to allow open comment is quite a drawn out exchange and worth watching.
In that meeting, Greg Anderson curiously says at one point that he didn't draft the resolution, but was involved in advising "the group" that did - Who was that group? Maybe that's a question for another article. This item was Item G on the city's video breakdown of the meeting, but be aware that in another oddly specific "oops" by the city, the downloadable Agenda for that meeting inexplicably doesn't list an "item G" at all, though the content is there.
The "G" is the only item not listed this way in that agenda.
As Camas waits for answers and the larger ability for citizens to get those answers directly from city officials during meetings, WATCH Camas has released another WATCHED Website to archive and track the progress of the city's public comment "Q & A" web page. You can find that WATCHED WEBSITE at watchcamas.com/publiccomment.
On that page, you can also find a full list of UNANSWERED QUESTIONS that citizens have asked during recent public comment without receiving any response from city officials or staff - this list will be updated regularly. The listed questions have been lovingly transcribed by WATCH Camas staff, reviewing the actual minute by minute meeting video, to make sure that when a neighbor asks a question, it is preserved and tracked until the city provides an answer. Please take a look, one of YOUR questions might be on the list.
On this new page, you'll also find a fully archived list of the original questions and responses directly from the city, as originally written, along with some expanded fields with things like "Question Author", "Notable Positions Held" and "Question Submission Location" - all things that the city does not currently disclose on it's own public comment web page.
There is also a special column with a new feature called the WATCH Camas "WHOLE TRUTH" Rating Scale. If you're familiar with the Politifact Fact-Checking Scale, WATCH Camas aims to provide an at-a-glance idea of how thoroughly the city has answered a question as it was answered. It's a simple five point rating scale where a rating of 1 means an answer "does not answer the question" and a rating of 5 means an answer is "Complete" - Of course this is a subjective scale and WATCH Camas hopes that our thoroughly sourced reporting and attention to detail can lead to this being a convenience that you can trust for initial guidance until you're able to do your own research.
Here is the full WATCH Camas "WHOLE TRUTH" Rating Scale:
5 = COMPLETE
4 = MOSTLY COMPLETE
3 = HALF ANSWER
2 = AVOIDS QUESTION
1 = DOES NOT ANSWER QUESTION
One of the most important parts of the question and answer process is if YOU, the citizen that asked a question to the city, actually feel like you have been provided a complete answer. So, we have allowed for a way that citizens can contact WATCH Camas directly to let us know if they consider their question answered completely or not. We will update that column as contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with sources to answers.
Don't forget to use the share buttons on this page to Tell Your Friends to expect some new answers from the city tonight!
NOTE: If you'd like to view the city's original page you can find that here: https://www.cityofcamas.us/yourgovernment/publiccommentq