10 October, 2014

Making The Opaqracy Transparent In St. Albans

St. Albans city government is an opaqracy, the opposite of a transparent democracy. Committee meetings (where the real decisions get made) are held at times and places which are both inconvenient and unknown to the vast majority of St. Albans' residents. When you choose the time and place of a meeting you have also chosen that meeting's attendees. 

The opaqracy which keeps St. Albans in the dark gets away with it because the residents of St. Albans are an apathariat, not an electorate. Six of St. Albans' 9 wards were uncontested races in 2013 meaning that the incumbent had only to go vote for himself to win the race. In 2009's ward 2 race a grand total of 4 votes were cast. Since the race was uncontested, political newcomer, Xris Hess, won that race with only 4 votes. All she needed was 1. Yes, the apathariat of St. Albans complains that their council members don't represent them, don't inform them and don't do anything for them but very few citizens vote against the do-nothings and almost nobody runs for office. In every city election, the Apathy Party wins by a landslide. 

St. Albans city government is not only opaque to the apathetic citizenry, it's even opaque to members of the government. City department heads are not notified about committee decisions that affect them. Members of council who weren't at a committee meeting don't get so much as an email telling them what a committee discussed and what was decided. 

At the end of this submission I'll post the names and the phone numbers of St. Albans city council members. I urge the residents of St. Albans to contact their council representatives and tell them to start a blog, a website, a facebook page or other means of informing residents when and where various committee meetings occur, what was discussed and decided in the last meeting and what will be discussed in the next meeting.

Councilwoman Cheryl Thomas has already taken that challenge with a Facebook page called St. Albans Direct but, frankly, she hasn't yet posted much on it. As a member of her ward I have asked her to rectify that and she has assured me she will do so.

St Albans City Council
Next election : 2017
Dick Callaway
2325 Washington Avenue
1499 MacCorkle Avenue
Home)  304/722-1273
(Work)  304/727-2971
Council-at-LargeJohn Boles, Jr.
2330 Jefferson Avenue
(Home)  304/722-3612
Jerry C. Cogar
441 Kanawha Terrace
(Home)  304/727-6785
John Caudill IV
2014 Adams Avenue
Home)  304/727-2038
Ward 1
Robert J. Keiffer (note: Mr Keiffer ran UNOPPOSED in 2013)
822 Fifth Avenue(Mailing Address:  324 Sixth Avenue)
(Home)  304/722-6473
Ward 2
Jason Philabaun414 Weimer Avenue
(Home)  304/767-4874
Ward 3
Ronald K. Colby, III (Note: Mr. Colby ran UNOPPOSED in 2013)
366 Scenic Drive
(Home)  304/727-2667
Ward 4
Cheryl Thomas (note: Ms. Thomas ran UNOPPOSED in 2013)
220 Vine Street
Home)  304/552-3377
Ward 5
Christopher Withrow (Mr. Withrow was appointed after the resignation of Dan Cain who ran UNOPPOSED in 2013)
2028 Lincoln Avenue
(Home)  304/722-1789
Ward 6
Loretta Griffith
919 Baier Street
(Home)  304/727-9153
Ward 7
Desper Lemon (Mr. Lemon ran UNOPPOSED in 2013)
2737 Forrestal Avenue
(Home)  304/727-5344
Ward 8
Kevin Pennington (Mr. Pennington ran UNOPPOSED in 2013)
2843 Madison Avenue
(Home)  304/727-5790
Ward 9
Garry Pennington
926 South Walnut Street

(Home)  304/727-2748

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