Friday, February 13, 2009

Public Official of the Year?

ABSTRACT: At the 3 February 2009 City Council meeting, Astrid Coleman, President and CEO, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, announced Mayor Sue McCloud as the Chamber of Commerce’s Public Official of the Year, citing her community leadership and many, many years as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Information about the Chamber of Commerce and the Annual Awards Dinner are presented. In response to this announcement, a Carmelite sent an email to Astrid Coleman; the email is reproduced. A COMMENT is made regarding perception and reality and journalism standards.

Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce:
The Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit corporation solely supported by its membership. Members include business owners, managers and professionals. Members invest in the organization to support group efforts to make the Monterey Peninsula a better place to do business. The Chamber is governed by a 21-member Board of Directors and holds monthly meetings to set policy and direction for the organization. A President/CEO oversees office operations, which includes a full-time staff. The Chamber makes referrals for member businesses, acts as a resource for community information, provides informational pamphlets and brochures about starting a business, offers free SCORE (Service Corp. of Retired Executives) counseling to business entrepreneurs and has marketing materials available to help the sales professional.

Annual Signature Events
Annual Awards Dinner— Presented by Monterey County Bank (March)

This event celebrates three community awards, including Citizen of the Year, given to an individual who has made a major impact on the Peninsula; Public Official of the Year, awarded to an individual, either elected or appointed, who embodies community dedication that inspires others, and; the Robert C. Littlefield Award, established in 1981 in memory of Robert C. Littlefield, who was largely responsible for reinvigorating the Chamber, presented to a member who has shown great support through direct involvement in the Chamber. In addition, Business of the Year is selected from among the category winners of the Business Excellence Awards held the previous July. The elegant evening is the formal, black-tie event of the Chamber year.

Email to Astrid Coleman from a Carmelite:

I understand the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has named Carmel-by-the-Sea Mayor Sue McCloud as your Public Official of the Year. While you cited Sue McCloud’s many, many years as mayor of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, I am perplexed as to your Selection Committee’s decision, based on my knowledge of her record as mayor.

• The impetus for the 2005 Monterey County Civil Grand Jury’s report on Open Government was numerous complaints from former and then-current city employees, particularly regarding Mayor McCloud’s penchant to “over control” city government. Even after that report, Mayor McCloud still thinks open government means little more than posting agendas and hosting a city web site.

• As mayor, Sue McCloud was responsible for the City violating the California Environmental Quality Act, California Government Code and the City’s Municipal Code per Monterey County Superior Court ruling regarding her attempt to sell the National Register of Historic Places Flanders Mansion. Not only that, she has expended nearly $600,000 in taxpayer dollars for consultants and attorney fees in her misguided crusade to sell the Flanders Mansion Property.

• As mayor, Sue McCloud interfered with city staff causing several months of delay in a neighbor’s agenda item being placed on a Forest and Beach Commission agenda, substituting conditions to a neighbor’s tree removal permit not voted upon by the City Council and voiding her neighbor’s permit without cause.

In closing, awarding Mayor Sue McCloud your Public Official of the Year Award is disappointing to informed citizens who expect a higher standard of public service from our public servants.

COMMENT:
As mayor, Sue McCloud has succeeded in creating the perception that the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea is a model of good government, when in reality the city is a model of poor, even dysfunctional, government. This perception, as opposed to the reality, is amplified by a complicit local media, which act as purveyors of propaganda, rather than as independent monitors of power, scrutinizing her actions and record and verifying her statements, for the benefit of the public. Perception will continue to overwhelm reality until the local media put the truth and loyalty to citizens first and Carmelites demand more than “we print what we’re told” propaganda.

ADDENDUM:
Chamber Staff
Astrid Coleman, President and CEO
(831) 648-5359
astrid@mpcc.com

Principles of Journalism, Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is hard to imagine what prompted the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce to name Sue McCloud as Public Official of the Year.Had the chamber checked with Carmel merchants first it would have found that many of them think McCloud is doing a terrible job for the business community and that she terrorizes many merchants into supporting her financially and otherwise by threatening to have city staff find various violations at their businesses.
The Carmelite, who emailed Coleman, is to be commended for an excellent letter. Its only failing was that it didn't go far enough in citing McCloud's failures as mayor. The examples of her mismanagement are many and she never seems to learn from her mistakes no matter how bad the damage to Carmel, its business community and its residents.

RSW said...

Mayor Sue got this award because she has seen more budgeted dollars go to tourist promotion and marketing than all of her predecessors combined and she has ingratiated herself with Astrid Coleman, just like she ingratiated herself with Carolina Garcia. Astrid Coleman is flattered by the attention, knows nothing about Carmel or about the real Sue McCloud.

RSW said...

Business proprietors must realize they are not serving their own interests when they let Sue McCloud intimidate them. They must band together and voice their collective opposition to her so others know how bad things really are. Then residents and business people can join together to defeat Sue McCloud at the ballot box the next time around.

James said...

Gullible Carmel voters vote for Sue time and time again giving her seniority on some of these area boards. But Sue is no community leader. All mayors sit on area boards.
It should be obvious to all by now Sue has no leadership or management abilities, but she is good at endless 24/7 self-promotion.

Anonymous said...

This is the ugly underbelly of small town American. Politicians cozy up to special interests, special interests cozy up to politicians, the media play along and a cynical public is powerless to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Gee Whiz, it only took the Chamber of Commerce nine years to get around to giving Sue McCloud Public Official of the Year award. If her achievements have been so deserving and grand and glorious, what took the chamber so long?

Anonymous said...

With all due respect John Laird, you have it exactly wrong. Her service in the CIA has contributed to her being a terrible public official. There, she learned well a culture of secrecy protects her from the public and the public from learning about her mediocre track record. Now, after all these years, some of us know how her past experience of secrecy and no accountability has translated into a kind of arrogant tyranny in Carmel - I can do whatever I want, I am the mayor.