Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Open Meetings - The Trilogy

In our third installment of the popular Open Meetings series, the amazing Melissa Bean, US Congresswoman from Illinois' 8th District continues to shrink from view. Like so many brave democrats she refuses to meet with her constituents except under the most controlled circumstances.

As first reported by Michelle Malkin -- somewhat unfairly, I think -- Bean backed away from a free town hall meeting in favor of a $25 breakfast meeting hosted by the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce. Malkin blasted Bean for charging a fee for the meeting, but I have no problem with that. There's no free lunch, Michelle (or breakfast).

What I do object to is the very tight controls over who can attend the meeting. You can see the evolution of that control in these images from the LZACC web site. At first the meeting was billed as a town hall.

A bit later, it was called a 'chamber' breakfast...

... and attendance was limited to chamber members only -- and only members in the 8th congressional district.

How terrified must a congresswoman be to feel that limiting the audience to chamber members only was not enough protection from a blood thirsty public. No, she felt the need to slap on the 8th district limitation to avoid being absolutely overrun by both of the LZACC members who don't live in the 8th district (if there are that many). Oh the horror!

All of this would be fine if Bean was holding other public meetings during the congressional break, but she is not. In fact her web site has no indication that she's having any meetings at all, including the chamber breakfast!

Don't pols usually taught their public appearances? Yes, unless they're hiding from angry constituents.

Doesn't the average chamber of commerce delight in throwing open to the public a meeting like this that demonstrates the chamber's high-minded civic responsibility? Yes, unless the chamber doesn't mind being used as a political shield to hide politicians from the verbal tar and feathers.

The most disturbing aspect of Bean's Town-Hall-cum-Chamber-Breakfast is that she is the third Illinois politician to seek refuge from the big bad public behind the skirts of the local chamber of commerce. I wrote earlier this week about how US Reps Judy Biggert and Mark Kirk displayed a similar act of political cowardice by allowing television cameras to be kicked out of a town hall meeting hosted by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

This is a disturbing trend: an unholy alliance between poltroon politicians on the run and self-serving chambers of commerce who provide safe havens for them.

Come on, politicians! How frightening can a town hall meeting be in a state as blue as Illinois? In your savior's home state??

Come on, chambers! Stop aiding and abetting a political felony.


  1. Concerned IllinoisanAugust 19, 2009 at 11:12 PM

    Wayne - I don't think Kirk and Biggert are worried about tea-partiers and others opposed to ObamaCare - instead I think they're more interested in avoiding the sorts of disruption that is the hallmark of left-wing groups like Health Care Action Now. I mean from what I've heard neither of them have a damned thing to fear on this topic, both are definitely on the right side of it.

    Bean, however...
    (she only voted for cap and trade because she thought she got certain carve-outs for local interests in it - basically sold her vote in the most blatant way. Problem is she can't do that on this one.)

  2. Concerned - I think both Kirk and Biggert have reasons to fear backlash from their own party. They may be OK on health care, but Kirk took a lot of heat for his Cap & Tax vote and Biggert's pro abortion, pro human cloning, pro embryonic stem cell research votes are a GOP disgrace. So I imagine they both have reason to be apprehensive about public meetings.

    But even if their greater fear is from the left (as you suggest), I can't condone Republicans hiding from Democrat-leaning public wrath any more than I can condone Democrats hiding from Republican-leaning public wrath.

    They both need to stand and deliver.