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Herald-Mail Forums

April 16, 2007

Last week's question:

Many who responded to this column recently called for better communication between citizens and Washington County government. Would it help if the county televised its meetings as Hagerstown does?

· Yes, it would be helpful to be able to access the meetings via television. I was outraged to learn of the language used by former Commissioner John Munson in a meeting last year. I believe that if video of that event would've been made public widespread condemnation would have resulted. In short, the more exposure given to the workings of the county government, the better. Perhaps those who vote for such candidates would begin to feel regret the decisions made in the voting booth.

· It would help make them accountable for their votes and we would also be able to follow the money trail!

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· Yes. They work for the citizens of the city and county.

· Yes, but I've been reading http://charterboard.org, and it doesn't appear it will be happening anytime soon. The commissioners will first have to hand-pick a task force of acquaintances to study the feasibility. They will immediately need money to pay an outside consultant and will spend many meetings waiting for answers from the county attorney on such pressing questions as "When did we officially start?"

· Three rings, no waiting. Will it be on prime time? I hope the cable company does not raise our rates.

· Yes, it would help.

· Things such as televised meetings only help communications if people pay attention to them and participate in their government. I'm willing to bet that the majority of those that are screaming for better communication are probably in the same crowd that doesn't vote and wouldn't watch the meetings if they were on.

For the people who do vote and do pay attention to what's going on and are annoyed at the lack of openness in our local governments, I'm sure this measure would benefit you greatly because you would take advantage of the televising of meetings. Of course, your politicians would take advantage as well, I've never met a politician who didn't get all giddy at the idea of having a captive audience.

· It is a start. Televised meetings will hold all accountable if they are made public. Televising them on Channel 6 is not public access for those without Antietam Cable Television. Have them posted at the county Web site so anyone can view them at any time. This also forces those in front of the County Commissioners to be responsible for their statements. These are public officials who should open their forums to the public.

· Does it really matter if we see it for ourselves? Five of seven School Board members opposed legislation proposed by a state delegate, yet he pursued it. One delegate stood alone against the delegation on another matter even with public outcry against him and got squashed in committee.

Will watching these guys make them any more accountable or open- minded and attentive to the masses, or will they just remain as John Bolton says it should be - loyal only to those who supported them?

· Yes, maybe our county government officials would who do the job that they are being paid to do if more than a dozen eyes were watching.

· Televised meetings are a helpful way to keep the electorate informed. However, once the cameras are rolling, the politicans need to remember that their job is not acting - let's please leave that "job" to Hollywood. Certain Hagerstown City Council members appear to behave differently when being broadcast on the "telly."

· I can't wait to see the Kristin Aleshire expound on Channel 6 again. He is an expert on every issue - just ask him.

· I would like to see these sessions televised - live and recorded versions (for those of us who have to work) as long as this will not result in additional fees, taxes, etc. Perhaps the County could explore the feasibility of putting this on a video playback on their current Web site. This would give the public an opportunity to see firsthand the challenges and successes that the current commissioner team experience.

· All Board of County Commissioner meetings, Planning Commission meetings and Board of Zoning Appeals meetings must be televised and recorded for rebroadcast, allowing a much broader segment of citizens to monitor the actions of our public officials.

· So how much will it cost the tax payers to see what our money is being spent on? We should be voting on every bill or new tax they pass.

· No. It will be a one-way street of communication, affording the commissioners free advertising. It will just give them more name recognition, which is probably why most of them got elected.

You think they'll hear you any better when you talk to your TV? We'd be better off ignoring them until fall 2010 and then take a look back at their past record and not current rhetoric.




This week's question:

Last week, Washington County school officials reported on steps they're taking to create a "world-class" school system. Is this just a job for school officials, or do students and parents have a role, too?

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