When he campaigned for Mayor, Keith Short had promised to make our municipal government more open and transparent but, now that he’s in office, Mayor Short is doing the exact opposite!
Less than two years ago Mayor Robert Steinhagen implemented an initiative proposed by Council Member Adrianne Balkum to begin live-broadcasting of city council meetings at no cost to taxpayers! Throughout his tenure as Mayor, the two worked to improve and perfect the broadcast quality and medium. Steinhagen provided his own equipment and expertise to connect to city hall’s AV components, which broadcast clear sound and HD quality to interested citizens via the internet. With the Council’s expressed authorization, Steinhagen sold superfluous AV equipment that had never (and would never) be used, to pay for a broadcasting system with video switching capabilities that enables most smartphones & iPads to be used as part of the four different camera sources, which alleviated the need to purchase camera equipment.
The broadcasts have also provided a permanent video record of the proceedings that citizens can still view today!
This level of transparency, however, is not what Short had in mind when he campaigned for a more open government. In fact, the last time the City broadcasted live its council meetings was April 10, which was the last meeting governed by Mayor Steinhagen.Steinhagen offered the city the use of one of his video cameras and tripod and even left the equipment setup and in place for the use by the Council for meetings, however, the equipment sat for weeks on end unused, before he finally took it back.
Now if citizens wish to observe the proceedings they must attend the meetings in person, which can last well past 10 pm or depend on other citizens to provide their own coverage via personal social media sites.
By his actions, Short has worked to return government back into the darkness.