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Opinion

Norton resident disagrees with meeting broadcast

2/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

This letter is in response to James (Jack) Gainer’s letter to the editor in the West Side Leader, Feb. 7-13, 2013, “Committee member disagrees with Norton Council decision.”

I’ll start off by saying I was not then, did not vote for it, nor am I in favor now of spending money from our city budget to broadcast the Council meetings over the web or on television. At a time when Norton has little or no resources to provide the most important services to its residents, it seems a little idiotic to me to spend money so we can watch these often-times volatile meetings on TV or on our computers. The thought of spending $40,000 to do TWC [Time Warner Cable] broadcasts is unconscionable and a waste of my tax dollars. Then in addition, they want us to spend between $2,000 and $3,000* to set up a webcam broadcast, and spend an additional $250 to $500* per month for the service. I’ve always felt if it means that much to you, get off of your couch and attend the meeting. If that’s not possible, review the minutes (they are all a matter of public record). I do believe, since a lot of our Council meetings in Norton play out more like a “reality show” than a meeting, it brings interest from the community. Unfortunately it’s not interest that is productive.

By his own admission, Mr. Gainer was chairman of the committee appointed to study this telecommunications issue and come up with some ideas for complying with the new charter amendment. Also by his own admission, this committee could not come up with a favorable resolution, and in an effort to resolve the issue, turned it over to City Council to resolve. He states in his letter he believes Council decided to implement the web link based on cost only. Well, I say hurrah for Council — they got this one right. At least some of the people understand we have more important issues in this city that pertain to all of the residents. And let’s be honest. It’s not quite fair to say to someone, I can’t make the decision — you do it for me, and then criticize the decision that is made. Mr. Gainer states he hopes feedback in the future will convince them to add cable to the mix. I hope it convinces them we don’t need it.

It’s just one of many issues in this city that we continually bicker over and waste valuable resources, including our badly needed money. Will we ever get smart in Norton and realize we need to focus on issues that will grow our city, increase our tax base, want businesses to locate here and good people to stay? I’m not so sure.

Kathy Cunningham, Norton

 

* Editor’s note: In the Jan. 28, 2013, Norton City Council meeting report, which appeared in the Jan. 31, 2013, edition, Michelle Baker, who was a part of the committee that studied the issue, said the cost of live web streaming included a $1,200 start-up fee and monthly bills from $200 to $500, depending on how many hours were broadcast.

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