Ever pondered what the San Diego City Council’s offices look like? Have you ever yearned for a view into the belly of bureaucracy — a peek into the publicly financed hallways of power?
Too bad. You can’t without unanimous council approval — more of an endorsement than would be required to pass the city’s budget.
I wanted to go over to the City Council’s offices this afternoon and photograph people moving through the hallway for a forthcoming budget story. I called Michelle Ganon, spokeswoman for Council President Ben Hueso, to coordinate access.
No problem, Ganon told me. She suggested coming by the 10th floor of City Hall at 1:45 p.m., when people would be headed to council chambers and there would be a lot of movement in the hallways.
A few minutes later, Ganon called back. She said I could not take pictures without prior consent from all of the council offices.
“It’s not been done before and there’s a potential security issue and each of the council offices would have to give all of their permissions,” Ganon said.
What sort of security concerns could arise from a picture of the hallway with people moving around inside, I asked.
“They could glean how the floor is set up,” Ganon replied.
I asked Ganon whether the public should be able to see what its elected officials’ offices looked like.
“I’ve just been told what the rule is and I can’t allow you to do it,” she said.
Clarification: The original version of this post contained a the headline “Council Offices Closed to Public.” The offices are open to the public who have appointments with council members and their staff.