Editorial
11

$30 Too Costly For Transparency Implies Citizen Of The Year Bagby

…let’s, instead, conduct a $400 study!

At Tuesday night’s (1/22/2014) City Council meeting, Councilwoman Pearson requested that the Council move to post their City Council meeting videos online as well as the council packet which explains to the councilmembers in depth what each agenda item is about. Both of these requests are fulfilling her campaign promise for more transparency in our local government, and both of these requests are very good ideas.

As reported earlier this year, Pearson has been posting City Council meetings under the YouTube handle TransparentLocalGov. The city is requiring her to buy copies of the Council’s meetings on DVD at $30/month so she can upload them.

What followed Pearson’s request was comical from multiple points of view. Most importantly, and as confirmed by the DAR, Bagby actually said it would be “a minimum charge of $20 to $30 to put it on YouTube” (DAR page 2A, 1/23/14). Even though he said it, I just can’t bring myself to think Mr. Bagby is that uninformed; YouTube doesn’t cost any money to post videos. I have to say, though, his quote has been great fodder around the office.

My son, Ben, posted a video of his cover of a One Republic song on YouTube yesterday and my staff laughed “…not many 15-year olds have $30 to burn on a youtube post.” This morning after reading my blog about Local Producer’s Reality TV Series Released Online article, someone cracked about the $90 charge to put those three videos online.

For those who missed it, the Chamber crowned Doug Bagby last week as 2013′s “Citizen of the Year.” But even if Bagby meant $20 to $30 in manpower, it is still laughable. Not only is it a gross exaggeration of the manpower cost to click a couple of buttons the day after a council meeting. The process could be done with a YouTube Live stream at the same time the show is being broadcast on City Cable. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to live stream using YouTube Live recorded by what looks like a 12 year old. Honestly, this would not cost the city any additional funds.

But even if there is a cost, in a sad twist of government spending irony, rather than spending even $30 per month for the manpower, our City decides to conduct a study. What? That study will cost us between $400 and $600 in manpower costs since it will involve the City Attorney’s and City Manager’s time.

You can also scratch your head as you counter the concern for spending $30/month with the fact that the City overspent $250,000 on a single bid for catalytic converters. Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to because no one would believe me. This is prime grade, government logic:

We can overspend by $250,000 on mufflers
but we can’t spend $30 on transparency.

Honestly, this city opposes technological convenience and advances just slightly less than they turn tail and run from transparency.

THE FOLLOWING IS THE POLITICAL OPINION OF BRIAN BECKER:
Wake up Poplar Bluff, throw these bums out in April. DO NOT VOTE FOR Susan McVey, Robert Smith or Ron Black. They are all part of the system. They all oppose transparency. They use the City’s money to control the citizens. Ron Black is a Bagby-ite just like Smith and McVey. Ron Black sits on the same Good Old Boy Bank Board as “Welfare Dunderheads” Schalk, “No Good Places To Live In PB” Moffitt, “City Engineering Company” Smith and “Citizen of the Year” Bagby. Ron Black has been on council before. Ron Black has been Poplar Bluff mayor before. He’s an insider, don’t give him the chance to prove it-again.

Elect the three who support transparency in our local government to City Council in April:
   Jack Rushin, At Large
   David Johnson, At Large
   Peter Tinsley, Ward 5

Share:
  • googleplus
  • linkedin
  • tumblr
  • rss
  • pinterest
  • mail

Written by Brian Becker

After graduating from Mizzou with Computer and Electrical Engineering degrees in 1985, Brian Becker spent a decade singing Christian Rock and being a labeled artist with Benson Music Group of Nashville. In 1995, he and several investors started the area's first Internet Service called PBMO.net and by 2000 the company was serviing Internet access in over 50 communities throughout Southeast Missouri as SEMO.net. In July 2014, Becker again made a major pivot and became Publisher of the SEMO TIMES: a weekly print and daily online news and entertainment source for the region.

  • Brian Becker

    Pearson’s Transparency Statement, City Council Meeting 2/21/2014

    In the Spirit of working together as the Three Rivers College President, Dr. Devin Stephenson mentioned in Sunday’s Newspaper, I am thrilled to bring before my colleagues on the council, a couple items of interest for the citizens of Poplar Bluff.

    It is a relief to me that the need for working together was brought up as I have felt this same way for quite some time now. I hope that the council will work with me to take the citizens’ interest for greater transparency more seriously.

    Since my election last April, I have been working hard to provide the council meeting videos online so that the public can view them at their convenience. This has been a great success, with the number of views totaling over 2,000 already. I believe this shows that Poplar Bluff citizens are interested in what is going on with our local government and they have every right to be as this is their tax dollars, their business, and their votes on the line.

    Let us bring them more transparency by placing the videos of the council meetings online to our city website automatically within 1 week of the meetings. In addition, I think it would be of interest to the citizens to see the open city council meeting packets posted online in their entirety prior to the council meetings. This will give the citizens more opportunity to review and be involved with what we are doing and I see that as a good thing.

    With this being said, it takes either the Mayor or two council members to place something on the agenda for an upcoming meeting. In the spirit of working together, will one of my colleagues on the council stand with me to put these items of interest on the agenda for the next meeting so that we may provide to the citizens even greater transparency of Poplar Bluff City Government?

  • http://semo.net Jay Jay

    Transparency is a very noble cause for all governments to aspire to. Currently the city council meets twice a month even though they are only required to meet monthly. All open meetings are televised live on city cable and the meetings are open to anyone wanting to attend. Printed agenda’s are available at city hall to everyone prior to the meetings. During open meetings time is allotted to anyone to address the council concerning topics not on the printed agenda. Sounds like efforts have been made to make the city council meetings transparent. No, not every conceivable effort has been made but where to you stop? One could say stream it live on the internet, or post the council packets on the web. What is next, personal emails, tweets or face book alerts.
    Lets look at this for what it is, a malcontent businessman who does not live in the city wanting to control a naïve first term councilwoman in an attempt to get even with the City of Poplar Bluff because he did not prepare his business for change. Don’t take my word on this ask a SUCCESSFUL business person if they can just rely on the status quo. What they will tell you is NO you must always look to the future and prepare yourself and business for an ever changing market place.

    Be careful the cool aid you are drinking just might be your last.

    • Brian Becker

      “Jay Jay”, of course the status quo is good enough for you…you aren’t even transparent enough to share your real name.

      Four additional points:
      1) you forgot that city council tried to greatly restrict the citizen input portions.
      2) you forgot that less than 1/2 of our citizens have access to the feed on City Cable
      3) your use of an all caps “SUCCESSFUL” is probably making up for something.
      4) you are in the minority…as shown by every city council election I’ve been involved in.

  • David

    “Be careful the cool aid you are drinking just might be your last.” Wow….why does this sound so much like a threat to me?

  • Doris Borgelt

    Most cities provide an archive of two or more years of meetings to be viewable on their websites. The same goes for the city council packets, warrants, receipts and budgets.

  • Jay Jay

    How many city council elections have you been involved in? ONE, which had the lowest voter turnout in Ward 1 of any city election. Now that’s a track record, bankrupt business, multiple defeats in civil court which resulted in you owing the city roughly $200.000.00.
    Lead on Brian Lead on, with your record of success you will be at the bottom in no time. Just don’t take the city with you!

    Contrast your record with the past city councils with Doug Bagby at the helm.

    1.67 Hwy. Four lane project.
    2.New hospital built.
    3. Eight points development.
    4.Shelby Rd. project.
    5. Oakgrove Rd project.
    6. Hwy. 67 transportation District.
    7. Construction of Menards started.
    8. Construction of Hampton Inn started.
    9. Future construction of Harps.
    10. Future construction of Wal-Mart’s Home Town Market.

    Just to name a few. From where I sit the future looks bright for Poplar Bluff, but not so good for you!!

    If Success breeds Success, does Failure breed Failure?

    • Brian Becker

      JayJay, JayJay, the more you post the sillyer you sound.

      You can’t just make things up and say they are true. Fact checkers exist in PB too. First, I was involved in both 2012 and 2013 elections. Second, your statement “which had the lowest voter turnout in Ward 1 of any city election.” is not only wrong, but laughable.

      Ward 1, in 2013 had 213 voters come to the polls. In 2010, only 140 came to the polls for Ward 1 election. Actually, more people voted for Pearson in 2013 (164) than the 140 who showed up and voted for both candidates in 2010. And, finally, more people voted for Pearson in one election than for Hendrix in two elections (130 = 81 in 2010 and 49 in 2013).

      No one has said that PB isn’t moving forward. Our opinion is that our progress is slower than it should be because the Good Old Boys are funneling Taxpayer dollars into their own pockets.

      Unless you know what you are talking about, please don’t post…you look silly.

  • Denise Magruder

    OK.. Jay Jay .. I believe your last comment sounds much like a threat. You must be part of this mess our city is in. As for Brian not preparing his company for what happen. HE SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO. Before cable internet was available to the city..they turned to all local providers for help. It took a group effort to get cable internet off the ground. Many hours of calls switching customers over to the new cable network. You ask how do i know? I was 1 of the many employees that made those calls. So before you go judging people you need to know your facts. The city went back on their word and stole all those customer that we worked so hard to move over. Because why?? Because 1 man (not even from our city) got mad and decided he would get revenge. His revenge has caused A LOT OF PEOPLES JOBS. There was NO OTHER REASON FOR THIS CHANGE. So if you want to talk revenge, plz talk to ur Municipal Utilities leader and Mr. Bagby. How we ever let an outsider of his kind in any power over our city network amazes me. He was not here when the real people of poplar bluff made these agreements for our city. So Jay Jay .. please be more informed before you speak…. signed
    Denise Magruder

  • Jr.

    Calling the utilities manager an outsider goes against this websites common argument that Poplar Bluff is run by a bunch of insider good ole boys who grew up together. But lets not let logic get in the way here.

    • Brian Becker

      We’ve always been aware that Bill Bach was brought in from Aquila Electric. I’m sorry you missed that.

  • Pingback: Citizen of The Year Equates $30 per month with 1% Sales Tax | SEMO.net