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Hard questions ignored during mayor’s online chat on data

On sacked CitiStat chief, lack of departmental audits: crickets

srb moneyball chat

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, preparing to plunge today into the shark tank of Twitter for a live #MoneyballChat about data in city government.

Photo by: @MayorSRB

Civic-minded members of Baltimore’s Twitter-sphere got excited about a rare opportunity today – a live chat on Twitter with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on the use of data to improve city government.

But ignoring queries about the lack of city audits and other data-related problems, the mayor addressed only a couple of  questions that weren’t posed either by the event’s organizers or by people from policy or public relations firms outside of the city.

“Baltimore peeps, trainwreck in progress,” tech entrepreneur Dave Troy tweeted midway through. (Troy shared this Storify version.)

After it became clear that only seemingly scripted, softball questions were going to be answered, Travis (@unraptured) mocked the process with his own sarcastic question: “Why are you awesome and how will you continue to be awesome?”

In the end, @MayorSRB declared the odd exercise organized by something called “Moneyball4Gov” a success, and left the arena this way:

Thx evry1 who joined #MoneyballChat. So many awesome Qs—srry couldn’t get to them all. More #outcome #budgeting info: http://budget.baltimorecity.gov/

Thx again @Moneyball4Gov @Results4America for facilitating #MoneyballChat. Proud to be a #GeekCity—committed to cont investing in what works

Here’s a link to “Moneyball for Government,” which describes itself as “a project of ‘Results for America’.”

Hopeful Questioners

Despite a strong streak of cynicism, the Baltimore crowd had gotten itself pretty worked up this morning. The #MoneyballChat hashtag had been abuzz long before the noon conversation was to begin, so eager was the crowd to tackle all the nagging data-related questions out there, related to:

City departmental audits not being audited for decades; the recent dumping of the Citi-Stat director; the fact that the old head of the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (who departed under a cloud) left behind a half-finished upgrade of the city government website that is being scrapped and the project re-bid.

Could the mayor possibly be planning to address these long festering problems in true democratic web-centric fashion in front of, potentially, anyone in the world with a Twitter account?

And was she prepared for snark this crowd was likely to unleash once she sat down at the keyboard and said, “Let’s begin?”

The premise pretty much opened her up to questions about every broken thing in city government. That’s because data are numbers – and embarrassingly grim numbers can be attached to just about any city problem, such as the number of murdered residents so far this year.

“Alright Baltimore do-gooder trolls,” Chris Merriam tweeted, “it’s your time to shine!”

But their hard questions, whether asked snarky or straight, were ignored – including many people who asked about the lack of auditing.

Apparently rising to the mayor’s defense on audits, a Baltimore Sun reporter offered this link, saying “FWIW, here’s the list of audits the comptroller’s office has done in Baltimore recently.”

(The list is not much of a defense, though. It’s got audits conducted of primarily small government entities and projects, like the “Police Car Rental Fund” and the “Parking Utilities Fund,” while the main city departments – Public Works, Transportation, Police, Fire, Baltimore Development Corp. – remain glaringly unaudited.)

“How can Baltimore make intelligent decisions without financial statements or audits of most city departments?” said Dave Troy, one of numerous people who raised that issue.

Also ignored were several straightforward questions about the city’s “Balanced Budget” tool, such as this by Andrew Zaleskie, of Technically Baltimore: “How are residents’ choices in the ‘Balanced Baltimore’ budget tool being incorporated into the city’s budget priorities?”

And several people chimed in on this question: “What’s the protocol to convert CitiStat data now in PDF form into raw numbers in CSV files & accessible on OpenBaltimore?” Mike (@mikesbadtweets) wondered “Who decides the metrics for whether a city service works or doesn’t?” Troy asked “Will you consider reaching out to the data-conscious participants in this chat to form an advisory committee?”

Softballs from Insiders

So what questions did she answer? Several were asked by the organizers themselves, as in this from @Moneyball4Gov: “@MayorSRB first up from us, what drove you to focus on evidence and data?”

Her answer: “Baltimore’s ppl deserve to knw their tax $’s are funding prgrms w/proven results”

Another mayoral answer was presumably to a question from the conversation’s Boston-based moderator Rebecca Shah of  D.C.-based Data Quality Campaign:

“@Rebecca_Shah We’ve been budgeting for outcomes for 4 years, requires agencies to justify funding w/results,” the mayor told her.

Another one that originated many miles from Baltimore came from Tess Mason-Elder (on Twitter @tmasonelder of Chevy Chase), a policy analyst with Civic Enterprises, a D.C.-based “public policy and strategy firm.”

Mason-Elder wanted to know: “What have been the biggest challenges of focusing on data and evaluation? How did you overcome them?”

“Lack of available quality data – expensive and time-consuming to gather,” the mayor confided. “We’re doing more in-house rsrch. Connecting exstng City rsrcs to svcs to ensure data driven decisions.”

Another question she answered was directed at @MDRC_News, another out-of-town policy group based in New York City and Oakland, Calif.

And The Local Tweeps?

She did answer one question from Travis Official ™(aka @unraptured): “How can we expect to attract new residents to our city when the only options presented are cutting services?”

“Outcome Budgeting has enhanced & protected funding for svcs that WORK. Visit http://balancedbudget.baltimorecity.gov to see how,” Rawlings-Blake answered.

Another Baltimore-based person, John Waire, asked, “how do you balance gut instinct and #data?” He got a three-tweet answer:

• “We have “budget enhancements” that we invest in promising but unproven initiatives.” (1/3)
• “Encourage innovation by prvdng opp’ty to try new things, but those prgrms need to prove results going fwd.” (2/3)
• “e.g. @BaltimoreMOED Commty Job Hubs-currently being eval’d. And check out @BmoreFodCzar & Waste to Wealth.” (3/3)

“How do city agencies use the data provided on @OpenBaltimore to coordinate their budget priorities and decisions?” was a local question posed by Andrew Zaleski of the tech-news website Technically Baltimore.

The mayoral reply: “Baltimore I revw the info along w/ feedbk frm @BaltimoreBudget & agencies to ensure decisions in line w/ citizen priorities.”

Left Unanswered

If readers find the bland, bureaucratic answers delivered in Twitter snippets today unsatisfying, take heart. Wit, passion and interesting information and ideas came through in the questions and comments by the local Tweeters, unanswered though they were.

Here are a few of them. They are not listed in any order and they’re only numbered because we thought that might make it easier for commenters to reference their favorites. (Feel free to point out any good ones we missed.)

1. “How can Baltimore make intelligent decisions without financial statements or audits of most city departments?” –Dave Troy

2. “What is Anthony Batts’s on base percentage?” –Generic White Beardo

3. “How will the City work to improve transparency in the operations of United Way and the Baltimore Development Corporation?” –Dennis the Cynic

4. “How effective can you be with data if you can’t even insure every member of @baltimorepolice has voicemail?” –Dennis the Cynic

5. “Most city agencies haven’t been audited in decades. Rec & Parks audit is a year + overdue.” –Chris Merriam

6. “How will United Way be held accountable for the “mismanagement” of money they were paid to manage?” –altermondeleo

7. “When @MayorSRB says they are using data to improve city, she does realize that city goes north of Fayette & west of MLK?” –Timothy Sutton

8. “When will BCDOT be sharing road planning & engineering docs with public?” –Chris Merriam

9. “Wasn’t using data to track success supposed to be the point of Citistat? Just curious.” –Dennis the Cynic

10. “Shouldn’t the city consider executive-level (read: Mayor, Council, CEO of Schools) pay freezes to help save money?” –Travis @unraptured

11. “There is rampant overuse and abuse of police overtime. How are we using data to bring that to national norms?” –Dave Troy

12. “I’ll ask again. @MayorSRB, when will city agencies get regular, independent audits like they do in every healthy city?” –Chris Merriam

13. “How is your pocket protector going to hit homeruns for my team– err, curb the rash of violence in our city?” -Generic White Beardo

14. “Is there an opportunity to make CitiStat better or hire the next CitiStat director?” -Dave Troy

15. “@MayorSRB responding only to tweeps in NYC :-/” -@altermondeleo

16. “Not totally true. I’m in Boston. :) ” – Rebecca Shah

17. “What’s the protocol to convert CitiStat data now in PDF form into raw numbers in CSV files & accessibile on OpenBaltimore?” -Andrew Zaleskie

18. “Why did any of us, my goofy ass included, expect real engagement w/mayor today?” -Generic White Beardo

19. “Why are you awesome and how will you continue to be awesome?” –Travis @unraptured

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  • kim trueheart

    Another BMore Poli-Tricks gimmick!!!

  • Dave R

    From here in Florida, the government of Baltimore looks like a third-world enterprise. Fundamental strategic plan: ignore the whiners until they go away. A former Baltimore Sun columnist once observed, “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.”

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_l_mencken.html#QUJPceIBxHYk61Ei.99
    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_l_mencken.html#QUJPceIBxHYk61Ei.99

    • ushanellore

      From the land of the hanging and pregnant chads to the land of cages full of monkeys–I would liken that to “from the Never Never Land” to “the land of intelligent primates”! The govt. of Baltimore is a Third World Enterprise? Come on! It is a robust piece of subterfuge requiring lightning speed of thought and agile machinations. You Floridians grown soft with sun and sand are no matches for our adroit ways.

      • Barnadine_the_Pirate

        I read his post the same morning I read a NYT article about a bunch of Floridians getting their panties in a wad over the prospect of a monument to the Union war dead on the site of a 150-year-old battlefield — a battle where the ancestors of the Sons of the Confederacy were known to have tortured and killed the black POWs.

      • River Mud

        Robust piece of subterfuge? Oh come on now.

  • Dave Troy

    Good overview. Small correction, for what it’s worth, I did not compile that Storify — someone in Boston did, actually (Bridgespan Group, according to the Storify page.) I just shared the link.

  • Luke Broadwater

    Hi Fern — FWIW, I wasn’t offering a defense of anyone. I was merely contributing facts to the conversation: 1) The comptroller’s office, by statute, has authority over audits; and 2) Here is a list of the audits they’ve completed.

    One could look at the list and find it lacking, robust or draw whatever conclusion they want. But it’s important for readers to know what the facts are so they can have informed conversation. Thanks, Luke

    • ushanellore

      And this fact was vital to know–thanks. It proves the Big Buck–Big Bank theory which is when you are corpulent your big bucks will be protected. So if you are a big govt. department by the time they get to you with their audit papers you would have gotten even bigger and bloated but if you are a small department, you will be audited faster than you can say cheese, you will be excoriated and reformed for the measly sum given to you from the budget and you will be considered too small to fancy yourself too big to complain. Having authority is not the same as wearing authority. The Comptroller’s office seems to fear treading where angels fear to go.

    • ushanellore

      Luke, I wish you a speedy recovery. I am terribly sorry you were hurt. All the best.

  • Dbaums

    With all due respect, wasn’t this result a given? Opening up to the blogosphere/twittosphere, where everyone can post their snarky, dimwitted, illogical, non-fact based comments (rarely ever legitimate questions) was bound to fail. Wouldn’t a better idea be old school: weekly/monthly sit down sessions between the mayor and her staff and citizens, in city hall, randomly selected by lottery from a pool of applicants? Just saying, technology has its uses, but the Mayor or someone on her staff had to see this coming.
    I like the Brew, read it everyday, but this article was a bit unfair.

    • baltimorebrew

      Hi Dbaums, thanks for your comment and for being a faithful Brew reader. I think there were quite a few snark-free and anything-but -dim-witted questions. Some of these were buried in that list we had at the end of the story and people might not have read down that far, so I inserted a few up higher into the story. (And mention them here below).
      The good news after this whole exercise is, it shows people are eager to engage public officials on concerns about the city and how gov’t (thru use of data) can make life here better…. -fs

      “How can Baltimore make
      intelligent decisions without financial statements or audits of most
      city departments?” said Dave Troy, one of numerous people who raised
      that issue.

      Also ignored were several
      straightforward questions about the city’s “Balanced Budget” tool, such
      as this by Andrew Zaleskie, of Technically Baltimore: “How are
      residents’ choices in the ‘Balanced Baltimore’ budget tool being
      incorporated into the city’s budget priorities?”

      Several people chimed in on
      this question: “What’s the protocol to convert CitiStat data now in PDF
      form into raw numbers in CSV files & accessible on OpenBaltimore?”
      Mike (@mikesbadtweets) wondered “Who decides the metrics for whether a
      city service works or doesn’t?” Troy asked “Will you consider reaching
      out to the data-conscious participants in this chat to form an advisory
      committee?”

      • Dbaums

        Thanks for your work, Fern.

    • Aaron Mirenzi

      perhaps SRB should do a similar thing on the Brew!

      • Dbaums

        Call it a “Brew Through”…haha

    • River Mud

      I guess I’d say if this was the result that City Hall expected, they shouldn’t have held the event. People communicate electronically and there were more than enough “reasonable” questions asked. Again, if SRB doesn’t like the medium, she shouldn’t engage in it.

      • Dbaums

        Agreed. I just sometimes wonder who certain elected officials get their political and strategy advice from. Technology is a great tool, but if you’ve never used a chainsaw, and no one’s ever taught you how to use a chainsaw, be damn well sure you know what you’re doing or else you might lose a limb!

        • River Mud

          And certainly don’t broadcast your first chainsaw foray on the internet for all to see…

  • Mike Weston

    Some great questions posed to the Mayor – most of which she ignored. Clearly, she only responded to the softballs. This Moneyball concept seems like a real waste of time. She spent an hour on the chat, but actually responded to only about 15 questions. I think we should send some of the Brew reporters and readers to “Meet the Press” to asked her the hard questions David Gregory never asks.

    • River Mud

      The mayor can only come up with 15 tweets in an hour, and we wonder why the City is run by consultants…..

  • #EverydayCitisnazz

    Dbaums, while several people did ask “snarky” questions, there were dozens of people asking questions that, while they may have come across snarky or pointed, were genuine and perfectly legitimate. I asked at least three times for the Mayor to identify which specific programs she was referring to when she said that she was shifting money away from the ones that didn’t work. I asked her what specific data she used in deciding to continue to support the criminalization of marijuana. People asked over and over again about audits, and about rec centers, fire stations, and other vital services. The devolution into silliness was because there was no discussion happening at all. It was insulting, and people react poorly to being insulted by so-called public servants who treat us as though we are the ones being paid to serve *them*.

    I agree with you that SRB should be hosting regular meetings where people can ask her this stuff. I don’t actually believe her performance would be any better in person, and I don’t think most of the people who participated yesterday would believe it either. She comes off as callous and dismissive in person as she does on the internet. What you saw in the Twitter chat was frustration, because she is frustrating and she’s making an already-frustrating town exponentially MORE frustrating to live in.

    • Dbaums

      That’s fair. I guess my point was more of the efficacy of using a medium like Twitter to address very important issues. In my experience, methods other than long-form journalism, community group representation, and sit-downs with elected officials, typically don’t work; you simply can’t discuss issues in enough depth (questions or answers) to really get to the marrow of the problem or solution. But, as someone said above (maybe Fern?), it is nice to see people really care about these issues.

  • Barnadine_the_Pirate

    Not to defend any of the non-answers, but to be fair, by definition, a “hard” question requires more than 140 characters to answer.

  • KnowNothingParty

    Stephanie Failings Blake = Joke

    • Barnadine_the_Pirate

      People who engage in juvenile name-calling = boring.

      • KnowNothingParty

        I fell the say way about drone poetry

        • ushanellore

          Pithy, boring, full of typo response. But knowing you are Know Nothing should we assume this is your weak attempt at poetry? After all “say” rhymes with “way”.

          “It’s boring” is often another way of saying, “It’s way above my head.” “It’s too long” can be another way of saying, “I have attention deficit”. And it’s stupid often means, “I am stupid.”

          I fell the say way about you
          as you fell about drone poetry
          which is that you don’t have a scintilla
          of scintillation because
          you are wanting in reading comprehension,
          and you lack any respectable
          span of attention,
          all of that you convert
          to vituperation–
          by hiding your self doubts
          under the affectation–
          BORING!

          • Very Concerned

            it’s ok if people don’t like your work. you’re no better than the city, being a bully because someone doesn’t agree with you. man…despite the typo, i can agree with his sentiments.

          • ushanellore

            Very concerned,
            Indeed Know Nothing has every right to dislike my work and I have a right to a repartee. This is not called bullying–merely an answer to a bully in the same vein and tone of the bully.

            And you must not delete the down vote.

            When bullies are told off they cry,”Boo Hoo don’t bully me!” If you don’t like what I’ve posted don’t read it. If you read it and you find it boring–that’s your right–and you express your boredom–that’s your right too–and I reply and tell you what I think about your adjective–invective namely “boring”–that’s my right–then you must not cry foul or blame the BREW.

            If your moral outrage is genuine then you must not take up for a bully–unless of course you are actually Know Nothing and Very Concerned is another pseudonym of yours or perhaps you are Know Nothing’s cousin.

            And please stop being so sanctimonious. That too is boring.

            By the way in the Moneyball interview the Mayor was not a bully–she was as cool as a cucumber customer, dodging any meaningful exchange with the Tweeters. If I had half her cleverness I would be ignoring you, not engaging you in a one on one.

            That you and Know Nothing are having such visceral reactions to my droning tells me it’s good to awaken even those averse to my poetry to poetry, enough for them to say”Boring!”

          • Very Concerned

            ever hear of the phrase “let the sleeping dog lie”? it speaks volumes that you become so defensive and insulting just because someone doesn’t like your work. i guess your feature article got to your head. move on, seriously.

          • ushanellore

            With or without “the feature article” my reply to Know Nothing and to you would be the same. You certainly have been quite awake to the rise of my fortunes and you’ve taken it upon yourself, esteemed literary critic that you are, to deliver me the sting of my fall. Thank you for noticing my milestones and caring so much. I would go so far as to say you care enough to sound jealous but knowing you to be straitlaced and devoid of humor I wont.

            You seem to be working on the principle of projection here. What is telling is that you are all the things you accuse me of being–you mark me down–then you want to delete that–a guilty reaction to what you think is a bad boy behavior from a good cop like you, especially after you have taken me to task for rudeness. This is what I call preemptive defensiveness–scolding yourself before someone else scolds you.

            You growl that I should move on because you want to have the last word–insulting. You wonder if I am familiar with the phrase “let the sleeping dog” lie. I defend myself against biting dogs not sleeping ones. It’s an old trick Very Concerned to provoke someone and when that person retaliates in kind to call that justified retaliation defensive.

            Try something new for a change. Call my reaction appropriate and expected. That of course would get to my head and you can’t stand that can you? After all you are a self anointed humbling agent Very Concerned about everyone’s moral failings except your own.

            Go on being Very Concerned about me, my poetry and my narcissism. I am flattered you have enough skin in my lazy game of boring poems to needle me using Know Nothing as your front. I say viva la boring poetry. It never fails to get the goatee of macho men, puritanical men and women and control freaks who think most poetry is a mawkish waste and many poets are show offs who need to be put in their place.

            Thank you, O kind patriarch for putting me in my place and pricking my inflated head. SWOOSH! Hear that? That’s my swollen head collapsing. On that note I draw my final curtain on your paternalism and Know Nothing’s all encompassing boredom.

          • Very Concerned

            Not wanting to assume, but maybe you have some unresolved issues that you need to work out? Really, not sure and correct me if you’re so inclined. Like the Hoover Dam breaking. a lot of assumptions, delusions of grandeur, and the obvious long winded defenses, all because someone didn’t like your work. Should I call the “wahbulance”? As we’re all guilty of, it’s easy to hide and be “holier than thou” through comments, such as these. You’re just as guilty as the rest of us. I’m done with this game, ushanellore. Looking forward to your response, inevitable I’m sure.

          • Very Concerned

            can’t delete the down vote. very disappointed in the brew’s acceptance of bullying here.

          • Gerald Neily

            Clicking a tiny “down” icon is now construed as bullying? Usha can take it. She dishes it out, and she can take it. It’s called free speech. It’s in the Constitution.

          • Dbaums

            Free speech doesn’t apply here, as the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to speech between citizens.

  • ushanellore

    Data and Transparent Government–
    In Search of the YETI

    Data-can be manipulated,
    can be left un-tabulated–
    for years– can be fudged,
    can be misinterpreted,
    misused– used
    like a coat of paint on a dirty wall

    before the ballot boxes are set up–
    data can disappear,
    or be disconnected–

    scattered without correlation or collation–
    can be opaque,
    vague, inducing scratches of the scalps
    of the seekers and the finders,
    data can be made frustrating,
    masticating in front of a screen
    even the most patient folks

    can primal-scream in despair
    while analyzing and deliberating–

    data–can be spread on oceans
    and tossed on shores,

    washed over by repeated storms
    of interrogation– data can get worn out–
    if not collected and updated constantly–
    data can become antiquated, obsolete,
    irrelevant–

    the irreverent spurn data–

    recognize it’s a sieve through which
    human follies flow and that the truth–
    it lies buried

    under a mound of numbers –a kernel,
    in a universe of hide and go seek,

    data is a monster of deceit,
    it confers on policy wonks the conceit

    that they are in receipt of divine

    prognostications and predictions
    about how people will behave

    in what manner they will drink or eat,
    or vote or sleep,
    what they will buy or sell or make or steal,
    how many will get killed this year
    depending on how many

    were killed the years preceding,

    how many will do the killing this year
    depending on how many

    were out of work in the years preceding–
    depending on how many teens live in the city,

    how many men, how many women,
    how many Blacks, how many Whites,
    how many disgruntled–
    how many marching for their rights–
    or how many trouble makers from the unions,
    from the left and from the right–

    the years gone informing the years coming

    data will promenade down the runway
    sparkling in sequins and beads,
    dressed up and alluring

    to those who want everything crystal clear–

    But transparent government
    like the paperless office–
    like the crusade for the Holy Grail,

    or the search for the Golden Fleece,
    can hardly be attained– even with a lot of pain,
    it is elusive…

    Think paperless office–
    “Where’s the printer?

    Can we get the printer hooked up–
    I want a copy of this–
    I want to hold it in my hand,
    I want to file it in a chart,

    keep it in my cabinet,

    in case the computer crashes
    and delivers me a hundred lashes
    when I am ready and eager
    to retrieve the information

    in case the computer is a mule
    that won’t move,
    or the cloud where my data is gathered

    is breached and it pours on my parade
    spies and counterspies out to purloin
    my name and the many numbers I drag with me
    all day- jeopardized by crooks

    who want to be me

    and me to be a nobody–
    Where is the printer?”

    Think transparent government–
    The handlers,

    and the henchmen,
    the movers, the shakers and the image makers,
    will tell the mayor
    about the butchers, the bakers

    and the candle stick makers:

    “Don’t let the facts out–
    knowledge is power–
    if you shower the common folk

    with all we know

    then what will we know that they don’t?
    What is our advantage?
    When every man wants to be king,
    every woman demands a crown,
    every child bawls and complains,
    anarchy will rule.

    If we let the cats out of our bags,
    the dogs out of our kennels,
    spill the beans,
    we will have no means
    to hold the puppets hostage on our strings,
    and when they get wings,

    way above they will circle,
    their beaks sharp for our bruised bodies
    they will come screeching…

    The mobs can be handled,
    stage a meeting, take the questions,

    ignore the questions, stall the answers,
    answer the questions never asked,
    answer the people

    who don’t have skin in the game,
    answer the ones who are tame,
    be sure your comments are lame–

    Avoid specifics,
    blow smoke,

    soothe them, coax them, silence them,
    come scripted,
    make sure the venues are shifted,
    go town hall,
    go person to person– in your face,
    stand your ground when they’re in your face,
    when you’re losing call the cops–

    they will guarantee that you’re safe–
    with their dogs and pepper sprays..

    Make sure the venues are shifted–

    go electronic,
    TWEET and the sheep will bleat,
    unflappable you must stay
    if there are wolves beneath the wool
    keep on chugging your bull,
    you be the moon to their baying,
    you be the star to their neighing,
    knowing this too shall pass,
    take the low blows from the high road–
    they will goad–you will deflect–
    you will lie–they will correct–
    they will pry–you will sigh,
    when they get close to what makes you tick,
    leave with the excuse you’re suddenly sick..

    Make sure the venues are shifted–
    go TV, go satellite radio

    go Mark Steiner,
    go hard questions, straight up,
    go hard nosed investigative reporting,
    ooze politeness,
    maple syrup sweet elixir, ooze–
    to disarm the purpose of the calls–

    And the callers
    only having two minutes on the phone line–
    while keeping it pithy,

    will not remember their own questions–

    they will retreat–
    and you can chow down the lunch time treats
    that the radio station has spread for you–
    they’re children–they think they want chats
    with the high and the mighty–
    they think they wants stats–
    but all they need are teats!”

    As above they will speak to the mayor–
    the handlers and the henchmen,
    the movers, the shakers and the image makers,
    about the butchers, the bakers

    and the candle stick makers..
    the rehearsal being longer than the blitz
    she’s well practiced in fending off the hits….

    Usha Nellore

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • March 24, 2014

    • Last Thursday, I sent an email to the Mayor’s Office of Communications asking for some basic responsiveness: Please return our emailed queries and phone calls about stories. Please send us the same routine emails you send to other members of the media. Lately, more so than usual, they haven’t been. It’s a shame because, even [...]

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