Journalists strive to be good watchdogs of local government, but it’s hard to argue that we do a better job than video cameras do of capturing not just every vote but every question and point raised during council and board meetings that often last several hours.
Lakeway City Council members approved a plan at their meeting Monday night to purchase video cameras and contract with a Plano company to put video recordings of council meetings on the city’s website.
During some recent heated discussions about drug addiction treatment centers and annexations in Lakeway, awareness of local government appeared to be a contributing factor in some residents’ arguments. Elected officials, candidates and residents alike challenged and rebutted who said what and when.
Video recordings would provide another level of documentation and hopefully serve as a catalyst for an even more informed discourse.
Not everyone is able to devote an evening, much less a morning, to monitor his or her elected officials, but most citizens have access to the Internet at their homes and offices, on their smartphones or essentially any device that has a screen these days.
To accommodate the public, some local agencies, such as Lakeway Municipal Utility District, upload video of their meetings to their website for anyone to view. Others, such as the city of Bee Cave, provide CD recordings of City Council meetings to the public upon request.
Lake Travis ISD posts board agendas and other materials online, but it does not plan to videotape board meetings.
The district’s Lake Travis TV web platform would be an ideal medium to rebroadcast its board meetings to share not only district decisions but also the many celebrations of student and staff achievements.
The fledgling West Travis County Public Utility Agency has taken a good first step in posting its agendas and minutes online as it slogs through its first few months of operations.
The View applauds the city of Lakeway for taking a step in the right direction toward more open government and encourages other neighboring boards and councils to follow its lead.