Saturday, September 27, 2008

Re: Update on BOE TV Coverage Update


Thank you for seeking clarification of my comments concerning coverage of County Council proceedings. First, I want to applaud the County Council for televising its meetings. And yes, the newspapers and website contain the schedule of the County Council meetings. My point was a different one. I am told that more than 50% of Americans now have some type of a Digital Video Recorder. In my case, I use a DVR from Tivo. But most Americans use a DVR provided by their cable, telco, or satellite TV provider. These DVRs are able to pick up programming information and not only display the information on their TV set but also use the information for convenient recording. As I understand it, the County Council does not provide this type of electronic information integrated with its broadcasts.

If the County Council made its proceedings available online—as do many towns and school districts one tenth the size of Anne Arundel County—such convenience would be less important because the information would be available on-demand. But the County Council doesn’t provide such assess to its proceedings, so convenient DVR recording is a second best alternative. If you want to look at a nearby jurisdiction with greatly superior coverage of its town council, I’d suggest checking out Takoma Park, MD. There the video, minutes, and agendas are integrated and available online.

Having noted how the County Council provides better meeting coverage than the school board, I would now, in the interest of fairness, like to note a way in which it does not. By the standards of the Google generation, the school board may provide awful online access to its meeting minutes, but at least the minutes are available online (via the AACPS BoardDocs system in pdf format). The last I checked, the same cannot be said of the County Council. If I want to find the minutes of the County Council, I must pay 25 cents a page to copy them and be the subject of gossip among the County Council administrators who do the copying and are naturally intensely curious why anyone would want such information. In other words, to find the complete record of how my County Councilor voted over a four year term, I must pay the County Council approximately $400 (this is an estimate I made several years ago based on the 25 cents a page photocopying cost). That might have been an acceptable system to access county council votes a generation ago. But for the generation in which we currently live (and for a County Council with a $16 million ten year PEG/iNET budget and every tech gadget under the sun), it’s inexcusable.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to raise these issues.

--Jim Snider

P.S. Cathy, please try out if you haven’t already done so.

Re: Update on BOE TV Coverage Update

Posted by: "CMVitale-County Council"

Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:58 am (PDT)


The County Council meets the same day and the same time each month. The same channel as well. The website has that information, as does the newspapers. If you want to record us onto a dvd from your home, no problem. I do it every week, I don't know what the issue is that you said the county council has a bad practice of. Please clarify.

Cathleen M. Vitale

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