Let's set the record straight on the whole broadcasting on local government meetings "kiss Mayor Boughton's and Lynn Waller's backside" fluff piece in today's paper.
FIRST OFF, if there is ONE person who's been the biggest roadblock in making this happen over the last two years, it's been Mayor Boughton and if this wasn't an re-election year, TRUST ME, this whole change of heart from Danbury's ruler would not have happened PERIOD.
SECOND, Lynn Waller was ONLY ONE piece of this movement as there were MANY OTHER people who worked tirelessly to make government meetings on Channel 24 a reality and it's not surprising that the mayor "overlooked" this as it would require him to acknowledge people who aren't his biggest fans.
Lets thank the real heroes who busted their ass to make broadcasting the meetings a reality:
• Councilwoman Lynn Taborsak and the Democratic Town Committee: for creating a petition, door-knocking throughout Danbury, and getting over 200 residents to sign their request to broadcast the meetings.
• Ivon Alcime and John Neumuller: who took time out of their personal lives to bring the residents of Danbury coverage of the meetings. As someone who has videotaped these meetings well before they came on the scene, I know what it takes to record these events and it's not easy and they deserve the praise that Mayor Boughton and News-Times "reporter" Mark Langois ignored.
• The editorial board of the News-Times for their critical editorials that tracked the dishonesty of Mayor Boughton every step of the way in terms of his excuses for not supporting broadcasting the meetings AND the Republican leadership for not allowing the broadcasting ad-hoc committee TO MEET ONE TIME. It wasn't for their editorials outlining the stonewalling from Boughton and company, the mayor would have swept this entire situation under the carpet.
• FINALLY, well, ME and the readers of this site who read my posts on this subject from day one and supported my efforts by watching Danbury Live, signing the petition, and emailing me and asking me what more can be done to bring attention to this issue. The power of the public is something that should never go underestimated in a city such as this one where misleading the public is a common practice among our elected officials.
Now, since that is out of the way, Let's go back in time and recap the original argument.
As I stated on this site since day one, ALL local government meetings need to be broadcast on Channel 24 which includes the IMPORTANT ad-hoc committee meetings where the real city business takes place. As someone who has been to too many of these meetings, the Common Council meetings are basically a show as the gritty work in done in the Caucus (BTW: the Republicans CLOSED their caucuses to the public last year...but that's another story). If you really want to know what's going on in Danbury, you NEED to see the ad-hoc committee meetings. Now, in terms of developmental issues, Planning, Zoning, and EIC is the place to be and those are important meetings to view and in the unknown future, these events will be broadcasted (although by that time, it might be too late).
Unlike the over-the-top wiring of the Common Council chambers, as I (and several other activists) stated on several occasions, this ENTIRE situation could have been done on the cheap with the simple use of a couple of digital video cameras, a tripod, and either a direct wire to the audio system in the Common Council chambers (which is used by WLAD), and an external mic hookup for the instances where meetings are done in other rooms. Under any scenario, the city could have reached out to the Danbury High School's audio/visual department and Western Connecticut State university's A/V department and simply created an internship program where students could gain experience taping the meetings and broadcasting them on Comcast for a fraction of the cost that Mayor Boughton shelled out JUST FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE VIDEO EQUIPMENT he bought for City Hall.
Now, since I'm pressed for time, I'll go into greater detail on this subject and explain why one should question the historic flip-flop from Mayor Boughton and Common Council President Joe Cavo later. I did have time to dig up this oldie but goodie video post from Dec 2006 which somewhat outlined some of the dishonesty from our folks at City Hall.
(originally posted Dec. 2006)
Okay, now they're just insulting our intelligence folks.
For those who think this site is only about going after Republicans in the area (which is laughable), here's a topic that everyone should be able to agree and find common ground regardless of your political views.
When it comes to your local government at work, I can not stress to you how important it is for people to know what's happening in Danbury. It's simple...people NEED to see their the people they voted into office at work and see how things are done at City Hall. For a area the size of Danbury NOT to have their government meetings on television is downright embarrassing given that smaller surrounding towns such as Bethel and Ridgefield seem to have no problem providing their citizens with government broadcasts.
Instead of just hearing about the passing of bills and ordinances, the public would be better informed about the pros and cons surrounding any issue if the meetings were simply broadcasted. That way, the public would be allowed to see their local government at work and make a better-informed opinion on any topic. Unfortunately, because of a local newspaper that historically hasn't done a great job covering local government news, many people in the area are unaware of what's happening behind the scenes at City Hall which results in people making uninformed decisions on topics that they actually know little about.
After many months of watching this situation unfold in Danbury, it is this blogger's honest opinion that Mayor Mark Boughton and the Republican majority of the Common Council is simply stonewalling the public and offering any excuse that comes to their mind when it comes to broadcasting local government meetings on public access and enough is enough. Form day one, the Republicans in power have gone out of their way to block the ability for City Hall to simply broadcast local government meetings on public access and enough is enough.
To illustrate just how bi-partisan this topic is, I'm going to do something that will make locals in Danbury who know both of these individuals fall off their chairs: present a issue that Democrat Lynn Taborsak and Republican Lynn Waller agree on (for the most part).
Although I don't agree on many things Waller raises on her public access show, I do respect her for not drinking the kool-aid when it comes to the excuses receiving regarding the problems with putting the meetings on television. She's been doing her Friday night public access show for too long to know that broadcasting anything and placing it on cable television shouldn't be that big of a deal and definitely shouldn't cost the outrageous estimates coming from the Mayor's office (figures ranging from 60,000 to 90,000 dollars). She's been on her show for the last five months alerting the public about this issue and recently had a pretty heated exchange (for her standards) with Common Council Republican President Joe Cavo where he basically she told every ridiculous excuse in the book.
Now, Lynn Taborsak has been a political figure in Danbury for quite some time and she's another person who you can't fool. Taborsak doesn't have a hard time cutting right to the chase and calling it like she sees it and when it comes to the nonsense surrounding the Republican's excuses, she doesn't fail to disappoint. Calling the broadcasting excuses from Boughton, Cavo, and the Republican majority a classic case of stonewalling; Taborsak echoes the opinion of many including myself who have had enough of the excuses and political dishonesty.
For those of you shaking your head and saying, "CTblogger has to be kidding," here's what I'm going to do just for you.
From now until either the meetings are broadcasted or election day (whichever comes first), I'm going to devote a good chunk of my time alerting the public to the endless list of excuses the Republican-majority is putting the citizens of Danbury through regarding this silly issue.
Broadcasting meetings on public access should be a no-brainer. Shouldn't we all know exactly what's being said at City Hall?
As usual, I've created a video that will somewhat get people up to speed surrounding the nonsense those who want local government meetings on television are being put through by a Republican majority which has given every indication that they want to keep the public in the dark when it comes to their decision-making. Trust me, when you watch the video, you'll better understand why this issue is driving so many people in Danbury nuts.
Okay, if you just watched the video, please pick your mouth up off the floor and site back in your chair. Everything presented in the clip is strictly from current public access shows on the air right now. This is only the beginning in a LONG SERIES of videos exposing the hypocrisy and outright arrogance the Republican majority are displaying to the public.
To up the ante, I'm going to create a special section of my blog, which will be devoted exclusively to this topic...but I need your help. Please, send an email to Common Council President Joe Cavo (firstname.lastname@example.org) demanding that the stonewalling stop and broadcast local government meetings on public access. When you email him, PLEASE send a CC: or BCC: to email@example.com and I can keep an ongoing list of the public's emails to Cavo on my site for all to see (don't worry, your email address will not be posted). This way, Mr. Cavo cannot say he didn't receive any feedback from the public (which he has been stating for the last couple of months).
I know this sounds silly but Danbury is a silly city, which is controlled by a political party that has gone out of their way to insult our intelligence on so many topics that it's hard to keep count.
Enough is enough.
People-powered media to action!