Televising the City Council’s subcommittee meetings will help make the governmental process more transparent, and could potentially enhance civic engagement, according to several councilors.
At Monday night’s meeting, councilors Damali Vidot, Norieliz DeJesus, and Todd Taylor filed a motion requesting a subcommittee meeting with the City Manager, the IT department, and CCTV to discuss the possibility of livestreaming council subcommittee meetings.
“The idea behind this is that we want to have more transparency,” said DeJesus.
While regular council meetings are livestreamed and then uploaded to YouTube by CCTV, many of the council’s subcommittee meetings are not.
“There are very important communications that also happen in our adjacent (conference) room,” DeJesus said, adding that it is important to increase access for residents so they can listen to those conversations.
Taylor said increasing easy access to the meetings will be a benefit for the residents.
“I really think that when we have a disengaged public, we don’t have good government, and when we don’t have good government, we don’t have a good society,” said Taylor. “I think a lot of people out there are under a lot of misconceptions about what actually occurs here, and what the rules are and how things work.”
Taylor added that there would be an additional cost to televise and livestream more meetings, but that it would be worth the investment.
“If you are watching, your politicians are actually going to be held responsible for what they say and do,” said Taylor.
District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero was slightly blunter in his assessment.
“Now you will be able to see who is lying and who is telling the truth,” he said. “You will be able to see who is working for you and who is not working for you.”
Vidot noted that in her nearly eight years on the council, there have been tremendous upgrades in meetings being available online and through livestreams. But she said there is still a need for more access.
“We’re really at a point where we need a broader conversation about how we create the infrastructure we need to accommodate all of our subcommittee meetings,” said Vidot, adding that there would likely be some scheduling work with other boards and commissions to make sure everything can be streamed and televised.
“It’s time to step it up a little more to bring government to the people,” Vidot said.