Saturday, July 21, 2012

Are We Obsolete?

To hold a public meeting we must post an announcement of the meeting on the outside door of City Hall 24 hours before the meeting is to take place. Why, and does this make sense anymore?

What if we said, to hold a public meeting we must post an announcement on that door AND the person calling the meeting, e.g. the chairman, must publish the agenda online or in a local paper (or preferably both), including a brief description of how any matters coming up for a vote, in that particular meeting, might affect the citizens?

And (let's just go crazy here) what if we video taped the meetings and made them available online or on public access or at the library (or all of the above)? Then one could watch the meeting when they have time, if they are so inclined. Ken Hughes looked into this when he first took office and found the price tag too high. I wonder what the public thinks?

Just sayin ...

1 comment:

  1. The point of the "announcement", whatever form it takes, is to give the public proper notice that a meeting will occur and what is to be discussed. How one goes about doing that over and above posting it at City Hall is and should remain discretionary. I mean, you could take to so far as to say that since online posts are immediately disseminated, why have a min. 24 hours? Why not only require less time since we get our news more quickly now? I think the problem becomes when an ordinance or statute becomes TOO narrow and specific, and hence, would need to be constantly revised as technology changes.

    As for videotaping meetings, I (Marc Weissman), for one, have extensive experience in doing so. Back in the '90's, the Mayor of Derby and its BOA had a similar thought to "get the word out" for those who were not able to attend BOA meetings. Since I was already filming community events like Troop 3's Gang Show on my own, they asked if I would do it, and I agreed. The only cost to me, other than my time - which was extensive, mind you - was for the 8 mm tapes, which I had no problem purchasing.

    But unlike for the current "Looking Up: A View From The Valley" series, back then, one did not need to go thru any training to get the meetings aired on Channel 10. I simply filmed them, converted them to VHS on my own since Telemedia only had VHS capability back then, and dropped them off in Seymour.

    However, there was also no regular time slot for those Derby BOA airings and no real editing required either. Today, that might be different.

    Anyway, the bottom line is, if someone is willing to do it, it can be done, and I do recall getting lots of positive responses from viewers who saw the shows and found them invaluable. Hence, my motivation to create a more comprehensive Valley TV series this year.

    And FWIW, Seymour currently airs there meetings, and Ansonia, I believe, just started airing theirs as well, so following up with those towns would be prudent for sure. :)