It’s time to turn on the video cameras at City Hall

If you’ve ever enjoyed a Wedge LIVE! video you may not realize the debt you owe to workers at Minneapolis City Hall who operate the cameras and make sure those videos make their way to YouTube. It’s been invaluable for me, and the journalism I do, that City Council meeting are recorded and broadcast to the public. Same goes for the Planning Commission.

But not everything that happens in the council chambers is streamed, recorded, and archived to video. This lack of basic transparency is a reasonably big deal at the moment: there’s a group trying to dramatically alter the way our local democracy functions by changing the composition of the City Council. The first step in that process involves presenting the idea to the city’s Charter Commission. But Charter Commission meetings aren’t broadcast or archived to video. The cameras are there, in the room where the meetings happen — but they aren’t turned on.

The Charter Commission isn’t the only board or commission that happens without a video broadcast: there’s also Police Oversight, Civil Rights, Heritage Preservation, the Board of Estimate and Taxation, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Turning the cameras on requires money in the budget — for the staff time required to perform this work. To make sure this money is included in the city’s 2020 budget, contact the Mayor Frey and your city council member.

Contact:

What to say:

In the 2020 budget I support including money for broadcasting video of all board and commission meetings that happen in council chambers at City Hall, including but not limited to: Police Oversight, Civil Rights, Heritage Preservation, the Board of Estimate and Taxation, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.”