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Sep 15, 2008

Oh My Goodness! I called the open line, and found it open!

I always enjoy reading Letters to the Editor. It is probably my favorite part of any newspaper/magazine, aside from the sports section of course.

The local BS rag "Chadash" that came out yesterday had some pretty boring letters printed, except for one short one. I present it to you here, translated to English:

As you know, whenever the mayor feels he is in distress from a public point of view, he arranges an "open line" in which he enables people to call in and talk directly with him. We have not heard or experienced anybody actually being saved by this "open line", rather just being offered platitudes.

However, everybody should know that in the mayors office, all sorts of other people with various responsibilities are invited to be present during the "open line" times, and listen in on the calls, and your discussion is broadcast over the speakerphone to everybody in the room, despite the possibility that your call is regarding them or their functioning, and you don't necessarily always want them to be there when you are talking about the issue, with them hearing what you are saying. This is "gneivat daas" of the highest degree to a public that thinks they are talking to the mayor alone, yet that is not the case, and people have already been hurt by this.
Everyone should know and beware.

With blessings,

Did you really think you were calling the mayor and getting a private line into his bedroom or bathroom? Have you ever been to the mayors office? There are always people in and out of it. Even if you have never been there, you have to be pretty naive to think the mayor sits alone all day waiting for your phone call.

While I am no fan of the mayor, he has had this open line for years. Not just when he needs some public relations (though maybe when he first opened it that was the purpose). I have no idea if anything actually gets accomplished by calling the open line, but that is a different story. The mayor has the open line, he takes your calls, and he has people from various departments on hand so he can get an immediate answer to a question asked by a resident or give instructions and delegate immediately based on a complaint by a resident and know whether there is something they can do and how quickly.

So, if you want to make private calls to the mayor and talk intimately with him, get his personal number. If you want to report problems in the city and get responses and possible solutions, call his open line and speak with him and his staff.

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