There once was a saying that you should not argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel. In this case, maybe Gary Marks of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee should consider how they deal with a blogger with an active blog. Mr. Marks commented on my response without understanding the point that if the CCAC had better communications outlets, we may not be having this discussion.
Here is the follow-up from CoinNews.net:
Mr. Berman [sic]wants to know how he would have known about the CCAC’s recommendation to put Roosevelt on the quarter obverse. Actually I known that it received prominent coverage in Coin World. He also asks why the CCAC’s documents are not on the web. Well, actually they are. Please go to ccac.gov and you will find them — right out there for the public to see. In fact, if you go to the January 27, 2009 CCAC meeting minutes you will find the following excerpt concerning the Roosevelt recommendation:
“9. Reverend Meier mentioned to the committee that he, as a private citizen, is urging legislation to place Theodore Roosevelt on the obverse of National Parks Quarters, in tribute to President Roosevelt’s role in establishing America’s national parks.
10. Members expressed considerable enthusiasm for Reverend Meier’s idea. Several members pointed out that any such change would, be definition, be temporary, because the legislation creating the National Parks Quarter Program specifies that an image of George Washington will appear on the quarter after the program’s conclusion.
11. After extensive discussion about whether a sua sponte suggestion was within the CCAC’s mandate, the committee voted 8-0 to recommend to the Secretary of the Treasury that consideration should be given to placing an image of Theodore Roosevelt on the obverse of quarters issued as part of the National Parks Quarter Program.”
Mr. Berman [sic] then suggests that the CCAC has “coordinated” talking points because he has heard from two members concerning the idea of improving the “spaghetti” haired Washington image on the quarter. Wow, I’m not sure who Mr. Berman thinks we are, but I can tell you that our committee is made up of hard working volunteers — most of them coin collectors — who share many of the same thoughts, aspirations and concerns held by many in the coin collecting world. We are certainly not career politicians who sit around “coordinating” talking points. If Mr. Berman has heard the same thing from two of us its simply because that is an area the committee is now focusing on.
To which I responded:
With all due respect to Gary Marks, I tried to subtly point out that you are spelling my name wrong by including “[sic]” in the quotes from his response to indicate that the previous word is not a transcription error. Mr. Marks responds to my comment by continuing the same mistake in the spelling of my name. Respecting the name of the person you are conversing with is important to having disparate points of view discussed in a respectful manner. Therefore, if Mr. Marks would like to continue this discussion, I would appreciate that he spells my name properly!
Mr. Marks notes that the information is on the CCAC website. However, with no search capabilities and with information less than what is available to those who attend the meetings, it is difficult to sit and read back through past meetings to find the information. It should also be noted that as of this writing, the minutes from the last FOUR CCAC meetings have not been posted.
What should be obvious from my response is that there is a communications issue. While the information is there, its usage and accessibility is lacking, even using the basic technology tools available to the CCAC and the US Mint. It should be incumbent on the CCAC and the US Mint to fix these communications issues to provide the public a better view into their work.
Again, if the CCAC and the US Mint cannot perform these basic functions, then my conclusion on how they perform their function does not change.
This is my last work in this forum. I will have a full comment on this on the Coin Collector’s Blog (coinsblog.blogspot.com) this weekend.