Mayor Bramson has a blog post up on the decision of the City Council, pushed by Councilman Richard St. Paul, to begin live broadcasts of Planning, Zoning and IDA Meetings
Are you someone who just can't get enough of City government? Does the intense excitement of watching Council meetings on cable leave you desperate for more? Or perhaps (and more likely), you find municipal meetings to be a useful sleep aid and cure for insomnia?
Well, we have good news for you. Beginning this fall, the City will begin to cablecast meetings of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Industrial Development Agency. I am skeptical about the size of the audience that these meetings will attract, but government should err on the side of openness and transparency, and so, all kidding aside, I support this move. Have popcorn at the ready.
The Mayor made similar remarks when the issue was discussed at Council. Barry Fertel and Marianne Sussman were similarly discouraging, "worrying" about the cost of wiring the conference rooms or staffing issues. Turned out to broadcast every meeting of all three boards was a few grand for the entire year.
Three thoughts on this: (1) does anyone else think that the people on the Planning, Zoning and IDA boards would benefit from the knowledge that the public is now watching them; (2) is this really about ratings? Seems to me if just one person watches who otherwise would not watch and that person then reports on the meetings via a site like Talk of the Sound then thousands of people will know the highlights; (3) is there additional value in archiving the video so those who appear before the boards to ask for variances or extensions of agreements and so on can later be held accountable for what they had said at previous meetings.
Not sure why good government is some sort of joke to the Mayor but New Rochelle residents will have the last laugh as they get to watch the sort of shenanigans that go on in these meetings.