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This award is mostly a reflection of the work of the County Auditor (kudos!). Transparency in weekly County operations is what's lacking. Commissioners Court minutes are both cost- and time-prohibitive for the vast majority of citizens to retrieve from the County Clerk's office. Much of the data the Auditor compiles would be more readily-available to the public if they put the minutes online, which include invoices, check registers, bids, etc. It's not enough to read annual budgets and CAFRs online. As it stands, there's 200-400 pages/week of public information in the minutes that's out of reach. That needs to change.
Do you have issues with making transparency improvements in these areas? If so, please explain.
Oops, moot point, but hey mute works too! lol
Lamppost, that is a mute question...
The Comptroller of Public Accounts launched the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program in December 2009.
The Leadership Circle program has only been in existence for less than a year.
What I find surprising about this award is the timing. Just about a month ago most of the information that allowed the county to get the award was not on their website.
So only after a challenger runs on a transparency platform we get transparency? Why did Pozzi not see to this before now? Don't get me wrong I'm glad it has been accomplished. I just don't like being played for a fool. Pozzi is only up for reelection every four years. How do we make him work for us outside of campaign season?
I am not fooled and I think everyone should think about what I have written.
roberttx and legion357
I agree, this election year has been very spirited and everyone is working hard. All the candidates in our local races have done an outstanding job. We have greater involvement this year than any other that I've seen. KUDOS to everyone.
Mr. Ocker's "transparency" gap continues personally unredressed, and ignored by his minions. The candidate's contentious and hard hitting style are celebrated along with his staunch delivery as laudable attributes fitting for high office. Mr. Ocker is catalogued with several local politicians, including U.S. Representative Paul, as kindred political spirits. While I disagree that Mr. Ocker's personality traits would make him a great public leader, I must also point out that the County Judge's position requires an ability to chair Commissioners Court meetings, meet with State and National officials, as well as innumerable clubs, delegations and individuals. The much celebrated "style" that Mr. Ocker's supporters point to as an attribute for the position of County Judge presages bitter relations beginning at Commissioners Court, working its' way all through the network with which the County Judge must interact. Given the opinions expressed by his supporters, what is known through the public record, and my own experience in attempting moderate dialogue with Mr. Ocker, I believe that he is temperamentally unsuited for the position. The citizens of Victoria County cannot close their eyes toward the abyss which would follow. Please consider every aspect of the candidates qualifications before voting.
KyleC -Thanks for the State link.VERY informative!
i agree legion, it's been a very spirited election.
Whatever the outcome of the election, this year at least the incumbents are working hard to get re-elected.
It is a nice change from the way most local campaigns have gone on recently.
"Amazing that you can be awarded for doing what seems to me common sense."
The hard hits is what makes the strong stronger. Tyler, Hagan, Paul, along with a few others, and as we are seeing before us even Ocker.These men stand firm on principle of government, and its true purpose; to protect us (even from government itself), not to exploit us.
raven or g4further (pretty much one in the same)
A very small portion of the county's residents even visits this site. It's still the same folks. And I'm not downing it, it's just the way it is.
We are all in our corners with the gloves on, but the fact is we may all be fighting for the same thing; we're just taking a different approach or path. It's commendable on each of our parts to voice our views. Thanks for the dialogue and hope you have a great day. Remember, it's about this county, and the scrutiny and sacrifice that comes with stepping up to the plate solely for those who work, live, and pay taxes here. That is what MO is doing.
Firedup, I didn't post the link to the arrest records of the candidates.
I posted the link where MO harasses an online poster, lamppost, who MO contends is a county commissioner.
We, who comment on a regular/semi-regular basis, may have seen it before...but, with the high level of interest in this race, there may be new visitors to the Advocate's website that don't know what MO's is like when he thinks no one is watching him or preserving his words and actions (outside of an arrest record, that is).
I think they should see it...I think it's important to know how far MO will go with a wrong assumption.
I think everyone who frequents this site has seen the article. It’s nothing new to any of us. I believe that Ocker and Pozzi are both good men who have gone through some things. However, what we should peer on is local taxpayer issues and the county’s budget. Let’s all be very careful in our casting judgment on others; lest you be judged.
I do find it very intriguing that the voter turnout has been so high. Thank's to George Matthews for keeping us up to date.
Opposition on differences of opinion is something to be understood and expected. I have discussed many issues, whether it is political, religious, or pain ideology with all kinds of people. And one thing I have found is that there is always some amount of disagreement which in some cases leads to great polarization. Just because MO calls out in a contention against you own views is not necessarily unwarranted or unjustified. I also feel that the speaker’s staunch delivery wakes people up and gets them to listen. He sure woke you up. Contacting MO personally is what I implore you to do. This really seems to be more of an issue with you, so pick up the phone. As I stated earlier, I phoned both Tyler and Branch for answers I had questions to.One must realize that this political season is a very polarizing moment in time for everyone.
Mr. Ocker's consistent and reflexive hostility toward my opinion is well documented in the unreleased blogging record. That serving as a lead indicator, I'll forego the futile effort suggested. The candidate has collegues who have posted on this thread, and he has both the ability and curiosity to make himself aware of his "transparency" deficit. Mr. Ocker being fully aware should respond by allowing The Victoria Advocate the release of the record. I ask this of him in the interest of transparency in government.
Here's one example of what MO will do when he thinks no one's watching, or copying...
Despite lamppost's repeated denials, MO insists he knows lamppost's identify as evidenced by these emails:
Doesn’t MO have a website with his contact information? I'm certain anyone, including you, who has questions regarding the issue will get the answers they seek. Even I have called candidates to ask questions. I have called both Tyler and Branch in search for answers to questions and concerns that I had. It’s really that easy.
So, does MO feel the ban was unjust?
The issue is one of transparency, specifically Mr. Ocker's voluminous blogging history on The Victoria Advocate's website, expressing opinion and views written by himself leading up to, and long following his nomination to office. The information contained therin constitutes an important resource for an educated electorate, which Mr. Ocker should support voluntarily, especially in that "transparency" has become a by-word of his campaign. He is the candidate in question on the issue, and should stand up to what he professes. I ask this of him in the interest of transparency in government.
Raven and spiderandfly
Clearly Hewittjr has his ideas. He seems to act as a man of deep thinking and great insight. With bearing such qualities then without reservation he should step up.
Firedup stated: "hewittjr
. . . If you have all the answers then step up."
uhhhh, didn't appear that he stated, implied, or otherwise insinuated that he had "all the answers."
I thought he was just asking about publicizing the messages that got MO banned.
Guess that really touches a nerve, huh???
hewittjr can certainly speak for himself, firedup, but I don't think he's suggested that he has all the answers. All he's asked is that MO offer up some of the transparency he's ranted for from others.
Personally, I'd like to see what got MO banned from any activity at all on the Advocate's website. We've all had some pretty pointed things to say at one time or another, yet, none of us has been removed. Of course, how many have used the Advocate's mail system to contact and harrass a poster? Maybe that's it.
Whatever it is, you can bet the last dollar you have in your pocket, MO will NEVER allow the Advocate to show Victoria what's he's like when he thinks no one's watching. THAT'S a pretty transparent fact right there!!!
I have a grand idea for you. Why don't you run for office, maybe for county judge during its next election cycle? If you have all the answers then step up.
The problem is that your argument is hollow. You state "govt needs to be more transparent," yet you refuse to look through the glass. You always ignore/redirect when asked who in the county government refused to provide you with information.
You stated yourself (in agreeing with illuminatus) that TRANSPARENCY and ACCESSIBILITY are two different things. In my opinion, the CC could televise, webcast, even have the darn meeting in your living room and you will still sit back, pull quotes out of context (the truth, but not the "whole" truth - there's a reason people are sworn to that) and try to use it as ammunition in an effort to expose "lies" and "conspiracies."
I could care less what your relationship with MO is. I do care, however that you cry for a cause that you refuse to be a part of. Ridiculous in my opinion.
You can bark and yelp from the sidelines all you want. If you actually "did" something to improve the situation or educate yourself, it could only help you. Don't worry though, we're not expecting anything.
How does that saying go . . . "something" or get off the pot??
Here's the scorecard if anyone is interested:
Amazing that you can be awarded for doing what seems to me common sense.
All that I humbly request is that you personally contact Mr. Ocker, whom you are in acknowledged contact with, and pass along the request that he give permission to The Victoria Advocate to release the archive of his blogs so that the voters of this county can be further educated as to his political views and opinions. Opacity is the polar opposite of transparency. I ask this favor in the interest of transparency in government.
TxHunter said: "All this talk about transparency and..."
All these justified accolades for transparency within the County Auditor/Treasurer's office yet the need for improved transparency in other areas is continually pooh-poohed here. If you evaluate County transparency internally, they should get high marks. All the info is there waiting to be seen. The problem is the transparency doesn't extend beyond unreasonable physical and temporal barriers. Inaccessibility trumps transparency.
TxHunter said: "All this talk about transparency and it's pretty obvious (BS) that you are not transparent..."
Do you pay taxes to me which obligate me to provide information in return? Does me not detailing my interactions with Matt Ocker somehow negate the need for improved transparency in government? How long I've known Matt has no bearing on my thoughts on local issues. Our agreement on anything is strictly coincidental and not borne of personal feelings. My standing relative to his is completely irrelevant on this website.
BS says: "raven can't comment without speaking for the City of Victoria."
LOL! The more you say the more you reveal about how little you know!
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
Lamppost said: "Come on Mr. Transparency"
Do you pay taxes to me that obligates me to provide you information in return?
lamppost asks: "I have a question, raven. If MO took MO's advice, then wouldn't that make MO part of the "good ol' boy" network for taking MO's advice and $?"
Why, yes, I believe it would, lamppost.
BS says: "Again, I'm not his spokesman!!"
Nobody's buying that, BS. You've been an active spokesman for MO from the very beginning. Surely, you're not going to distance yourself from him now!
What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Mr. Ocker's campaign for "Transparency" is now nothing more than rope tightening around the neck of his candidacy. He's jumped his last shark. Season cancelled.
Wow Mr Zuck, this what you had to say on October 1, 2010 at 2:31 p.m. Concerning Victoria County "Transparency".......
"I visited the Susan Coombs Texas Transparency site. Only little towns are scored. Houston, Austin et.al. do not appear. Makes me think that our County Commissioners chipped in with their campaign funds to purchase a "feel good score". Was the gold star as expensive as the $19.95 college diploma hanging on your wall which you bought on the internet? I guess the silver star was $15.? Mighty fiscally conservative of you spending the extra $4.95."
Change of heart eh?
It's quite simple, Lamppost.
Whenever a factual, truthful answer to a question proves he or MO is wrong about their accusations, it's always one of three things . . .
1. ignore (weakness, insecurity)2. answers question with another question (redirect = weakness, insecurity)3. changes the topic with other accusations (redirect = weakness, insecurity)
Come to think of it, isn't that EVERY SINGLE TIME??
Well said, hewittjr. A simple request delivered in fine and gentlemanly fashion. Unlikely you will receive the courtesy of delivery, however, as it seems another local MO has instructed candidate MO to "lay low" so as not to reveal his true nature.
There is no doubt, however, that should Victoria be so unfortunate as to find itself at his mercy on Nov 3, that true nature will reveal itself, eventually.
Elected or not, Victoria will at some point see two sets of MO hands...one busily washing themselves of any further association...and the other balled into the naturally assumed fists of a bully.
Transparency in government is always a good policy. There are no doubt many improvements that Commissioners Court can implement in support of this ideal. Unquestionably there are also limits which Texas Governmental Law or Procedure will place on how far such efforts can go. Televising meetings seems overdue to me, and should satisfy many of those who state that the current meeting schedule is inconvenient. I'm certain that no one schedule will find itself convenient to everyone however. Because the various ideas expressed within both the the noble vision and the word "transparency" encompass numerous concepts of definition, some possibly very expensive to the public purse in its' strict implementation, and subject to legal challenge, I cannot agree in blanket fashion to your concept of what perfect transparency may constitute. We should aspire, always, to open government. I am, however, leary of those who may be tossing the word around in an aimless and cynical attempt to garner votes without first giving thoughtful reflection to the legal and dollar costs implied. As to the "Just Ask Matt" suggestion, I do have the following observations: The Victoria Advocate is the custodian of record, and will not release these secreted blog entries without first receiving Mr. Ocker's approval. As the candidate blogged throughout his lead up to the County Judge's race, and continued to do so after announcing said candidacy, attaining ballot status, and finally securing the Republican ticket, it seems only fair by way of the call of "transparency", which Mr. Ocker himself trumpets, to ask The Victoria Advocate to release the blogs for the voter's benefit of his views and opinions which weigh upon this campaign. Finally, and not to put too much of a fine point on it, Mr. Ocker has been consistently hostile to my views. However, since I gather the two of you are on rather better terms, I would think it not too much a bother for yourself to make the entreat. I ask this favor in the interest of transparency in government.
did the Gold Leadership Circle take into account the good old boy system and the secret underground groups at work with the commissioners court ?
Will Mr. Ocker support the transparency of The Victoria Advocate releasing the archive of his entire blogging history on its' website? I am certain that the voters of Victoria County would benefit from the ability to review the candidate's opinions and views on the wide range of topics contained therein. The better educated the voter can be with regard to a candidate's freely expressed opinion, the more elevated the democratic process becomes. Is this not transparency on its' most fundamental basis?
mikeberman said: "Interesting that Matt Ocker is telling us that there is NO transparency in our county government..."
What's more interesting is that you claim he's said there is "NO" transparency. He may have said there's lots of room for improvement, but he's never said what you claim, which would be ridiculous.
This award is mostly a reflection of the work of the County Auditor (kudos!). Transparency in weekly County operations is what's lacking. To illustrate this, Mr. Ocker posted an extensive collection of Commissioners Court's minutes online (www.MattOcker.com/records) that are both cost- and time-prohibitive for the vast majority of citizens to retrieve from the County Clerk's office. Much of the data the Auditor compiles would be more readily-available to the public if they put the minutes online, which include invoices, check registers, bids, etc. It's not enough to read annual budgets and CAFRs online. As it stands, there's 200-400 pages/week of public information in the minutes that's out of reach. That needs to change.
Mr. Ocker also advocates improving transparency by televising the Comm Court meetings.
Do you have issues with making transparency improvements in these areas? If so, please explain... without hyperbole this time.
Interesting that Matt Ocker is telling us that there is NO transparency in our county government and HE will fix this! Uh.. Nothing to fix Matt. Maybe he will now accuse Susan Combs as being part of his so called "good old boy network." Great job Victoria County! Keep up the good work!
In a representative democracy, we demand access and knowledge of our local government's business. With knowledge comes understanding. Congrats Victoria County for attaiing this State generated award. Is it too much to ask that the Commissioners Court meetings be televised on the web? Many of us that can't attend your 10:00 am meetings.