City Council Meeting, 1/12/2010

Yes, I’m here, and I’ll be leaving shortly, but I have very little to say, beyond my disappointment at the Montvale decision, and that my irrational crush on Mike Germain continues unabated.  (Note that I reserve the term “irrational love” for Albert Southwick alone.  If Germain had voted my way on Montvale, we may have upgrade it to “obsession”, but crush it remains.)

I’d promised to put together a voting guide to the City Council, comprising the issues I think are important.  I put together a draft that you can find here, as a pdf.   Please send me any feedback on votes that you consider important or formatting changes you’d like to see.

Now that Tracy has helped me connect to the Wifi here, I’ll also be liveblogging the Historical Commission meeting on Thursday.  I won’t always be able to attend meetings of that commission, but I’m going to try to attend at least one commission or committee meeting a week.

Update, 9.43 pm: I should never shut off my computer just as Rick Rushton gets up to speak.  (I swear, this blog will not turn into Rushton-bash-central, so could another councilor say something that ticks me off next week and let Rick off the hook?  Thanks!)

Rushton’s reference to “Judge Van Winkle” (8.41 mark) was completely inappropriate.  While one might argue (and I certainly would) that the judge took quite a bit of time to decide on the case, it is not his fault that the public has been kept from records in the name of preserving privacy, and it’s not his fault the words “drama” were redacted not once but twice.  Shaun Sutner is also not his fault.  If there had been a public comment period (and maybe there was and I just missed it!), I would have taken the Council and especially the City Manager to task for totally disregarding the public’s right to know.  We had more discussion tonight about researching regionalizing police and fire services to/with surrounding communities than we did about what our own police officers may or may not be accused of. It’s all about the benjamins and not at all about accountability.

WorcesterPD on Twitter, part two

I agree with Jeff regarding RedactionGate, especially the last paragraph.  The city government should not be in the business of preventing the public from knowing what is being done in its name, period.

At the height of the insanity, I hoped that the WorcesterPD would be able to use social media like Twitter to better inform the public about public safety news.  As I mentioned last week, the Worcester Police Department’s use of Twitter has been somewhat spotty.  Here’s a review of the past three tweets from Worcester PD:

So, this week it’s a bit more prompt, but I’m not getting much more information (in a much quicker fashion) than I would from the Telegram. 

Part of the reason this has been on my mind is that the BBC World Service recently broadcast a documentary featuring the best of a podcast called Street Stories, put together by the Tulsa Police Department.  The podcast seems to no longer be produced, but it’s a great example of what a police department could put together as both public service and public relations.