SLAUGHTERING AN IDEA

March 2, 2008

When COW offered to pay $31,000 for webcasting, in February of 2007 (see here), there was considerable discussion at the COWncil (read here). Some speakers favored web casting and some did not. Our offer to fund the project was rejected out of hand without so much as a thank you for offering.

Susan George was directed to study the issue, a full year ago back in March of 2007. But last week, the topic was not put on the Agenda for public discussion but instead, buried deep in the staff work plan was a single sentence “Webcasting Town Meetings: Staff recommends that this be removed from the Work Plan.” There was no explanation for why this item was dropped. When the item was sent for study, we knew, like so many other items sent for study, that it would never return. At the meeting, there was absolutely no discussion. Susan just said “Webcasting Town Meetings is off the list” and that was that. No Council member even asked why.

When the Town was not willing to provide the web casting, COW, instead, started MOO-tube to bring you video of the COWncil meetings. Many COWs check the video regularly. However, we are disadvantaged. We don’t have microphones at the Council table. We don’t bring it live. We don’t have the best seat in the house from a filming perspective. There has never been any discussion with us by anyone from the Town about whether there was a way to work together to facilitate the process for those who are interested. No never mind. COWs do get to see their elected officials in action on MOO-tube. But this is another good example of how our Town government works. Policies are made by staff. Even issues which engender considerable public interest can be put to bed, buried in a staff work plan. Those who run our Town do not really want COWmunity involvement.

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