Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WisDOT's secret public testimony

The only thing that surprised me about WisDOT's public sham hearing on the proposed unfunded I-94 North-South freeway project tonight was the "no entry" rule for the room where public testimony was being given. Yup, the public wasn't allowed to hear the public testimony at a public hearing.

There was a closed door with the word "Court Reporters" on a sign next to it. Since WisDOT said that court reporters would be on hand to take comments, I brilliantly deduced that somewhere behind that door, court r eporters would be on hand to take comments. I wanted to hear what was being said, so I opened the door. I saw a court reporter at a table or desk. Across from her was a man in a chair giving comments.

The site where secret public testimony was taken.

A WisDOT minion ran up to me and told me I could not go in the room

"You have to wait," she said.

I told her I wanted to go in. She said there was only one person allowed at a time. "No, you have to wait."

Bob Gutierrez, who gave the WisDOT sales job for freeway expansion that he passed off as an informational presentation, said later that the door could be left open if the individual testifying wanted others to listen what he/she said, and closed for anyone who wanted to give private testiomony at the public hearing.

Well, I said, does WisDOT have any way of knowing for individual testifiers whether the door should be opened or closed?

No, he said, but I could follow people as they prepared to speak and ask if I could come in and listen.

Two different responses from two different WisDOTters, neither whom seems to understand why the word "public" is in the phrase "public hearing."


Anonymous said...

Sound familiar? said...

Could it be, that to shove this poisonous project down the publics' throat, they are doing like drug companies have done in their testing trials? In too many cases research results that were unfavorable were hidden or disregarded.

They probably won't throw out or "lose" the unfavorable comments, but who but DOT will ever hear or see these comments?rqgdejld