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One good thing to keep

One silver lining of our time in the covid cloud points to a better way of doing some things, a way that should not be abandoned as we shake off what some may think feels like a kind of societal hibernation: better, more-open public meetings.

Yeah, that means continuing online options for attending meetings.

Don’t shoot! I said “option.”

Nothing can replace the dynamics of meeting in person, but at least two situations cry out for keeping the new skills many have learned over the last year of attending meetings online: local government meetings that are far more accessible to citizens when they can at least listen in from home; and faraway meetings of government officials — hearings, committees of the Legislature, a feature pushed for by many over the years but that proved worthy and do-able during the last year.

Local governments, however, need to invest a little money to make it work. They’ve already started, some by equipping council and board members with devices that make it feasible.

Now the other end will need a touch-up too. A little microphone can be a wonderful thing.

Last night, the Grand Coulee City Council met in person, but public could only attend online. The city clerk and the mayor could be heard quite well; the council could not.

It was a good try, but from years of experience attending such meetings remotely, I can tell you that will never work. Buy a decent mic, or even better, one for each chair at the table. The public deserves to be able to hear their officials doing the public’s business. And this is 2021.

Every council and board in the area should do the same.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher


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