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Board approves meetings to be shown on internet



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October 13, 2010 - After Independence Township Supervisor Dave Wagner had prohibited the posting of township board meetings via the internet, as well as shut down discussion on the matter at the Sept. 21 board meeting, Trustee David Lohmeier decided to approve it through board action.

The board voted 5-1 in favor of the motion. Wagner was absent from the meeting.

"I was a little disappointed Mr. Wagner directed our public access staff, not to facilitate and actually prohibited them from doing that, I think it's a very minor level of resource we need to put in place to do that," Lohmeier said. "I really don't like that we're moving on this as a board, but I didn't see much alternative. To me, this is just helping us be transparent and helping communicate out to the community what we're doing and what's happening."

Trustee Neil Wallace felt it was important too and was amazed how many people watch the meetings on the local public access channels now compared to when he served on the board back in 1996 to 2000.

"To me democracy is a participatory sport and you can't really participate unless you know what's going on. There is a real interest out there for folks to know what's going on (and) they should be given any opportunity to watch all or any part of our meetings," he said. "I just think it's a terrific thing and every single one of us should have been supportive of this from the outset."

Trustee Mark Petterson was concerned how the Clarkston News would use the videos on its Clarkston411 website.

"I'm not saying Clarkston News is going to abuse that, by no means, but once we set ourselves out to the Internet, we're famous around the world. I guess my other worry is there are a lot of geniuses out there on the computer. They can cut and paste and they can do whatever they want to it to suit their own political needs," Petterson said. "Ultimately what we're doing is putting our meetings on the Clarkston News' website. It's going to help their website and get more viewers to their website."

Lohmeier clarified his motion, saying it did not "give any advantage to any particular media source."

"My motion is to authorize the rebroadcast of our content. Whether it's the Clarkston News, Oakland Press, Clarkston High School and their forum, we're going to support the rebroadcast of content," he said. "If you want to put it on your Facebook or one of us to that's fine too."

Petterson said he was OK with it, he actually was hoping to "get a break" from the Clarkston News for some of the township's advertisements.

Treasurer Curt Carson felt they were putting the "cart before the horse."

"We've gone this long without it and I don't see any reason why we can't take a planned professional approach to pursuing putting this on (the internet)," Carson said. "I would be totally against just letting it out there, certainly on somebody else's website. This is our stuff and it should be on an Independence Township website."

Trustee Larry Rosso said wherever the meetings end up on the internet, they can always be contrasted with official video recordings.

"I'm not too paranoid about it, I don't think it's going to be a big deal," he said. "I think we're making a mountain out of a molehill here."

Petterson agreed with Carson.

"We are not promoting our township on our township website," he said. "I think we need to move to get a handle on our township website and improve it as much as we can and put our township board meetings on our township website also."

Lohmeier disagreed.

"What we shouldn't do is stop everything and put resources we know we're not going to put into our website right now and wait for that to be ready. Let's get the content out to the people and if our website gets so good we can then post the content on our website people can naturally go back there," Lohmeier said.

"Tomorrow we can put our meetings up on www.clarkston411.com, and we can put a link on our website immediately pointing them to that content. Let's just take the quick and easy path and not talk anymore on this."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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