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…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