Editorial/Op

Virtual Citizenship

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CENTRAL FIRST BLUE b    Central’s City and School System have somewhere between six and a dozen public meetings each month.  Recently I have heard comments by elected officials that if people want to stay involved and informed, they need to attend the meetings that may affect them.  I agree in theory, but busy work schedules and family activities often don’t allow that.
    This is 2016, so why not simply make all of these meetings available for citizens to listen to at their convenience, after the kids are asleep, in the comfort of their homes on their computer or smartphone?  This would be a great use of technology to involve many through Virtual Citizenship.
    The New Year would be a great time to start.  The meetings are already recorded.  The City and School System have websites.  There are thousands of amateurs producing professional-looking videos and hosting them on their own you-tube channels.  By comparison, audio links are simple.  As we enter 2016 let’s encourage our elected officials to at least post a link to the recorded audio of each public meeting in Central.
    Between City Council, School Board, Planning & Zoning, Board of Adjustments, and all of their sub-committees, attending all of these meetings is almost impossible for the average working person, especially those with young children, to attend.  I try to attend most meetings, especially those with significant decisions on the agenda, but even that is not always possible.  How nice it would be for everyone to be able to know what goes on in the public meetings of interest to them.
    I am not suggesting a monumental task here.  We have posted audio and video on CentralSpeaks.com many times.  It takes about five minutes.  In a quick search I found that Hammond, Alexandria, Thibodaux, New Orleans, Mandeville and Bastrop all post videos of their Council meetings, and there are probably many more cities that do.  I believe it is time for Central to join in, at a minimum with audio recordings.
    Imagine how informed and involved the citizens of Central could be if each person could conveniently see, or at least hear, what was going on in City and School Board government meetings.  If anyone wants to give input at a meeting, they certainly need to attend, but wouldn’t the citizens be much more likely to get involved and express their opinions if there was a convenient way to keep up with the business of the City and School System?  That would be Good News for a Great City.

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