I’ve noted that the Great Hall of the Searles Building is wired for the television broadcast. There are multiple camera locations (4, I believe). Each table has a microphone and the podium, for public speaking, has a microphone.
Watch, before a Council meeting, (you must actually attend a meeting to see this, as it is not generally broadcast). You can see packets of paper laid on each Councilors desk, usually as they arrive. You can see wires strung and cables run to allow the City Accountant to use his computer.
Watch during the meeting and you will see councillors get up and toss the papers into a barrell.
Why do I mention these small things.
Why are we, in the 21st century, still using so much paper?
Can’t the City Council cut back on it’s usage?
Can the Council chamber be wired for terminals at each Councilors desk. They are connected to a server and the “Council packet” is presented on the screen. The same packet that they would have gotten by mail or courier in paper format can be sent to them via email. No More paper.
The terminals are not full fledged laptops or even desk tops. They are simply terminals with no access to the outside. (No internet connection.). We don’t want them playing solitaire while the business of the city is at hand.
What is the cost benefit analysis for that? A server, some flat screen terminals and some quiet keyboards.
It is time that we moved some technology into our government.
I know that other Committees and Boards use the Great Hall. Why are they still using so much paper?
What about the Paper Reduction Act?  [Thanks to Evelyn LaCroix for reminding me of the act]
Don’t forget to throw in some training for the boards, commissions and council.
It wouldn’t hurt to add a couple of large screen monitors on which the text of each measure is scrolled. This way the “peanut gallery” of viewers would know what is taking place.
In fact, with the current technology in place, why isn’t the video output set up to broadcast in split screen? This way the viewing public could see the text of each bill as the council “debates” it’s merits.
Just a few thoughts. Plenty of oppurtunity to save some cash and make the informed public, better informed.

admin posted at 2009-10-11 Category: City Council

Leave a Reply

(Ctrl + Enter)