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    Outting the Queen Mary's Chambermaids

    (March 17, 2005) -- So why is there a "rent dispute" between LB City Hall and QSDI, which has for years operated the Queen Mary under a lease with City Hall?

    It's because former LB resident Traci Wilson-Kleekamp asked to see public records concerning QSDI's lease, which entitles QSDI to credits on rent payable if QSDI does certain things under the lease.

    In a well-run city, officials would be able to open a drawer (or turn on a computer) and show any member of the public orderly records of rent received and credits taken. Ms. Wilson-Kleekamp says LB City Hall produced excuses and relatively few records, prompting her to file a freedom of information style lawsuit.

    Suddenly, the Queen Mary became a royal pain.

    Exactly who at City Hall allowed a multi-million publicly owned asset, which is supposed to produce revenue for the taxpayers' benefit, to operate for an extended period without paying sums that City Hall now claims are due?

    We want to know. We want them outted.

    Others portray events as a rent "dispute" (there was no "dispute" until Ms. Wilson-Kleekamp showed City Hall's handling of rent credits) due to lease "ambiguities" (there were no "ambiguities" when City Hall wasn't pressing for the rent). We think they're missing the point.

    City Hall's actions surrounding the Queen Mary appear inexplicably unbusinesslike, even cavalier. They were forced into the open by a taxpayer.

    City Hall has publicly endorsed transparency. It should not perpetuate and reward a code of silence.

    The City Council should not consider settling the mess surrounding the Queen Mary until those at City Hall who enabled it are publicly identified.

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