My last blog entry, CCAC Dropped the Ball… AGAIN! appeared on CoinNews.net and generated an interesting response from Gary Marks, a member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. Mr. Marks writes:
As a member of the CCAC, I read Scott Barman’s article, “America the Beautiful Quarters, CCAC dropped the ball again” with great interest.
According to Berman, [sic] his opinion about the CCAC’s actions concerning the call to put Theodore Roosevelt on the obverse of “America the Beautiful Quarters” stems soley from his reading of an article entitled, “Debate rages in coin world: Theodore Roosevelt or George Washington on new quarter?”, published on January 20th.
Although he might have read the January 20th article, I was left to ponder if he might have misread or inadvertantly skipped over a part of it. His conclusions seem to suggest that he might have missed the following key sentence from the January 20th article, “Unfortunately, the change attracted no support in Congress, which initiates all changes in U.S. coins, including denominations, size, weight, metallic content and subject.” The key phase here is “the change attracted no support”.
Berman [sic] writes, “I am sure that members of the CCAC will ask that if there is no support for the design then why propose it?” The statement seems to suggest that Berman [sic] is unaware that the committee actually proposed it. But once we proposed it, it fell flat. No support materialized. Yet, Berman [sic] interprets the lack of support this way: “the CCAC wilted at the chance to refresh the sameness of the one coin’s design”. Did the CCAC wilt? I think not. We were the committee that started this discussion in the first place by making a bold recommendation! Yet, when no support materialized, the committee was faced with the option of “tilting at windmills” by trying to breathe life into an idea that was clearly and unfortunately dead, or to move on and consider doing something else to refresh the quarter obverse – like making improvements to Washington’s image. The committee is currently considering the latter.
Contrary to Berman’s [sic] interpretation of this situation, the committee did exactly what it was suppose to do – it provided independent advice based on what we thought was best for American coin design. But that advice was not taken.
Is refreshing Washington’s image an option with the same excitement as placing Roosevelt on the Quarter? Clearly not. Is it an idea that might actually have a chance of happening? Yes. Will it be an improvement over the “spagetti” [sic] haired Washington that currently exists on the quarter? Yes. On that basis alone, it is worth pursuing.
In my response to Mr. Marks, I followed up with:
I read the article correctly, Mr. Marks. I read the statement you emphasized and drew my conclusion from the statement and the information in the article.
Mr. Marks then said, “The statement seems to suggest that Berman [sic] is unaware that the committee actually proposed it. But once we proposed it, it fell flat.” How would I know that that the CCAC proposed this? Where was the reporting? Better yet, with the various directives from the President on the executive branch toward open government, then why aren’t the CCAC’s documents available on the web? What is on the web is so sparse it is difficult to understand what happened at the meetings. Maybe, if the CCAC published their materials on the web the concerned public would be able to understand what is happening without relying on the word count limitations of a non-numismatic publication.
I have heard the comment about the new design being better than Washington’s “spagetti” [sic] hair used since 1999 from another CCAC member. I am glad to know that the CCAC has coordinated its talking points on this consolation prize. Of course Washington’s spaghetti hair would not be an issue if Teddy Roosevelt appeared on the quarter’s obverse.
For the record, I have “applied” to gain access to the artwork presented to the CCAC. Unfortunately, the US Mint, which manages this process, does not recognize bloggers in the same manner as journalists and my application was denied. Therefore, if the CCAC wants me to comment on the facts, provide them to me in a timely manner. Otherwise, you are a victim of your own bureaucracy which does not change my conclusion.
I invite the CCAC, including Chairman Mitch Sanders and representatives from the US Mint, to an open discussion on the issues of open government and how that could best provide their materials to the numismatic public for a better understanding of why filtered information garners responses they do not agree with.