Government / Politics

OPINION: Facebook Live Streaming Council Meetings

People should be able to live stream (shoot video and run it live from that location) at public meetings. Not everyone can attend and the information should be shared.

During the September 5 city council, the City Manager (CM), I believe, right after the Pledge of Allegiance and with everyone seated, informed the audience that there were 8 reserved seats in the back for people who want to live stream the meeting. He obviously saw that someone was already live streaming on the second row. The person obviously heard him, but did not budge and stayed on their seat and kept live streaming on Facebook. I think everyone on the room was expecting for that person to move after the CM made his request, but the person didn't. The person ignored the CM and kept streaming. The city council members who obviously also heard that request, did not say anything and just started the meeting because the person was obviously not going to move. 

When the CM made the request for the live streamer to move to the back, he never mentioned the reason why, or if he did it was very vague. The person who was live streaming was at the very end of the second row, quiet and was not blocking anybody's view, so I didn't really understand the necessity to ask the person to move. The next thing the CM said was there should be no live streaming during breaks because it was not part of the meeting. I'm like, hmm, that is very odd because that made me think that that would also include live streams before the meeting started. The CM did know the person (he asked to move) was live streaming before the meeting started because he passed that person several times handing papers to the city clerk.

Before I wrote this opinion, I looked up for any Hollister council meeting rules about live streaming but found none. I was thinking that if the CM, a council member, the chief of police or the city clerk was going to say something confidential, they would go to their quarters away from public view. I believe that when you are in public view, then that is fair game.

I personally wouldn't have the battery life to live stream the whole meeting, nor the arm strength to hold up my phone for the entire duration, but do want to be able to live stream, regardless of where I sat, when the discussion becomes of significant interest to me, that compels me to share the information to everyone else who I believe would be interested in hearing the discussion.

I will attend the next council meeting. I hope that the CM establishes his house rules for the audience so that nobody unnecessarily gets shamed (the live streamer) or embarrassed (the CM for being ignored), for just wanting to share relevant information to people who couldn't be at the meeting in person.  

Author's Note: I am fully aware I don't write well so to the grammar police, I only want to express my opinion in the way I know best. I don't need trolls either. So write your own opinion piece about grammar and writing please.