The Parrot Roundup — ever wondered how the hotel boosters manage to marshall public commenters at City Hall

Ever wondered about the parade of speakers in favor of spending public money at City Hall or Winchester Hall when they’re pushing the downtown hotel with the Mayor & Board or County Council. Simple — Richard Griffin on City staff organizes a small busload of pro-speakers.

Example: September 3, 2014 the Downtown Hotel Advisory Committee (Selection Team) was to address the Mayor and Board on their official choice of Plamondon. A week before on August 27 3:32PM Griffin emails Elizabeth Cromwell (Chamber of Commerce), Kara Norman (Downtown Partnership), Helen Propheter (County DED), John Fieseler (Tourism Council), Bob McCutcheon (East Frederick Rising) and others on plans for the presentation in City Hall.

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There’s the agenda, Key Points, Next Steps, and last Public Comment.

Under the Public Comment subhead Griffin writes: “There will certainly be individuals in attendance who will offer their viewpoint…” and he obviously fears critical viewpoint because he continues “so in order to ensure that public comment is balanced, I feel that we should invite a few individuals to attend who are prepared to speak favorably…”

Then underlined are the parrot quotas:

“Can each of you invite 5 individuals to attend/speak (residents, property owners, or business representatives) to attend?”

Griffin offers to provide “a fact based information sheet for them to use as talking points.”

Then he personalizes it: “Kara – downtown businesses and residents? Elizabeth – Major Employers and other businesses? Helen – county businesses? John – tourism based businesses? Bob – Members of the EFR Board?”

And he assures them “I’ll do my part as well” to round up talking heads.

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PSam 2016.08.26

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