Council Calls for More Television Coverage Of City Boards and Commissions

In a world of online streaming and nearly limitless television viewing choices, Chelsea residents may soon be able to add Zoning Board and Licensing Commission hearings to their watch lists alongside ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Crown.’

City Council President Damali Vidot introduced an order at Monday night’s Council meeting requesting City Manager Thomas Ambrosino explore the opportunity of Robert “Duke” Bradley Cable expanding its video coverage of meetings to include ZBA, Traffic and Parking Commission, Licensing, and any other boards of interest and have those meetings broadcast on Channel 3. Currently, City Council meetings are taped and broadcast from the Council Chambers in City Hall.

“There are a lot of boards in the city that have great power to approve or deny projects in the city, and often, people have no idea what is happening in their backyards,” said Vidot.

Televising the additional meetings would help increase transparency of City government, Vidot added. 

She said she would like the City Manager to look at issues such as additional costs for televising these meetings, and the logistics of whether meetings could be taped where they are currently held, or if they would have to be broadcast from the Council Chambers, which are equipped with cameras. The Planning and Zoning boards typically meet at the Senior Center, while the Licensing Commission holds the majority of its meetings in the City Council conference room.

District 5 Councillor Judith Garcia said she supports bringing greater transparency to government, while outgoing District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop said he would like to see Council subcommittee meetings added to the list of televised meetings.

Bishop noted that many important issues are discussed in the conference meetings, and that he would like to see those meetings moved from the conference room and into Council Chambers for greater exposure.

•In other business, District 4 Councillor Enio Lopez and District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero requested additional police patrols for Sector 4, which encompasses parts of their districts, noting an uptick in crime in the sector. 

“I want to see more patrols and more police officers in that area,” said Lopez, adding that he hoped increased patrols would help to decrease crime in the area.

•Ambrosino also requested the Council approve bond refinancing for a 2009 city bond. He said the refinancing could save the city $200,000 over the remaining six years of the bond.

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