Mayor Berry receives award for open government
Posted at: 10/03/2012 4:43 PM
| Updated at: 10/03/2012 6:16 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, Eyewitness News 4
Photo: Mayor Richard Berry
Albuquerque's mayor gets an award for open government - but some city-dwellers said he doesn't deserve it.
The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government praises Mayor Richard Berry for openness and transparency at City Hall, while community activists said he is about as transparent as a concrete wall.
The mayor's award is for opening vast City Hall documentary resources to public scrutiny, much of it accessible online.
"We've got a lot more to do," Berry told Foundation members after receiving the award at a Wednesday luncheon. "We're far from perfect. We want to make sure that we are moving that needle. The good news is that transparency is contagious, and when we have an opportunity to push that envelope people are willing to join in that effort."
Meanwhile, outside the award ceremony at Albuquerque's Embassy Suits Hotel, protestors waved signs and chanted " Mayor Berry, quite contrary." They said the mayor does not deserve the award, mainly because of the city's well-known police shootings and Berry's opposition to raising the minimum wage.
"He's not being open with the poor, the ones at the bottom," said protest organizer, Pat Toledo. "He's being open to the powerful and those who have access. Maybe they buy access. I don't know, but we're not happy with this mayor getting this award. We think it's a slap in the face of all of the people at the bottom!"
Back inside, Berry saluted the protesters.
"The First Amendment is being demonstrated outside the hotel today, even though my name is on the signs," Berry said. "I sincerely say that a lot of people over the generations have fought and died for us to say what's on our mind."
The Foundation for Open Government is dedicated to protecting the public's right to know. For many years they have crusaded against closed meetings, sealed up records, and back-room deals.