Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May 1 at 6:30 p.m.: Televised Public Meetings

The referral about televising regular Council meetings, committee meetings and other public meetings will be discussed by the Rules Committee tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m. This is a good opportunity to come out and voice your opinion about whether or not we should televise our public meetings so that more people have an opportunity to see what is being discussed and what decisions are being made by our City leaders.

Supporters of this idea like the fact that they will not have to come in person to see the meetings and they will be able to keep up with City issues and events better if the meetings are televised. They will also be able to see how their elected officials represent them and the stances taken on various issues. It will also provide interested residents with additional insight into how the City is run and the basis for various decisions. Many have also noted that most discussion takes place at committee meetings, making it important for committee meetings to be televised.

Opponents of this idea say that televising meetings will cause the elected officials to "grandstand," that is, to speak out when they would otherwise remain silent. The fear is that the meetings will become longer and more adversarial and that political statements will be made, causing Council to lose its sharp focus on the issues and instead "pander" to the audience. Opponents also say that it is a waste of time to televise these meetings because very few people will watch them.

The potential costs for televising public meetings are not clear at this point. This will also be discussed at the meeting. If anyone is interested to volunteer to record meetings or help to produce them, you can come to the meeting and do so.

I have also included a poll about the televised meetings. Take a moment to participate in the poll or offer a suggestion if you have strong feelings either way.

1 comment:

Ed Sinegar said...

Again Mark, your dedication to providing educated answers to your constituents is very evident. Though you are not on the rules committee, you were obviously way more prepared than anyone else present. I find it hard to believe that this was requested to be sent to committee over 3 weeks ago, and yet according to the Mayor, Mr. Ogle spent the last "day and a half" collecting information. I'm not sure what he was doing all that time, but his presentation sure lacked any real substance. Good luck in your efforts to get the meetings televised, because I sure didn't see much enthusiasm up there tonight.