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A good thing that should continue

As we all wish everything could return to normal, some things just shouldn’t. The crisis we’re dealing with makes a habit of forcing us to embrace change, and some of those are for the better.

One in particular could have the effect of making governments more open, more democratic. And it’s easier and cheaper than other alternatives. When local governments (and even state and national agencies) make their meeting available via a video streaming or conferencing service such as Zoom, anyone with an interest can get involved, or just listen, from their own home.

Even the Supreme Court of the United States, which normally doesn’t even allow recording equipment in its deliberations, heard cases this month over Zoom.

Local governments have for years occasionally considered recording meetings. But that option only helps those who would actually make the effort to get to city hall later. And record keeping requirements at one time would have insisted on storing and cataloguing tapes for years. For some reason, city clerks didn’t warm up to that idea.

Zoom, on the other hand, can let anyone listening record a meeting (if the person administering the service allows, and they should). The Zoom app can let you store that video and/or audio file on your computer and can make a manuscript of the meeting (it’s not perfect, but useful).

There can be issues to work out, for sure, but such learning must come with any change for the better.

Citizens can watch elected leaders lead, or review recordings at will.

Anyone who believes transparency in government is a good thing should support keeping recordings.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher


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