One of the things that could save the City of Ypsilanti over $25,000 a year is to put public meetings, either audio or video versions, on-line. During the recent mayoral debates, a current elected official repeatedly said that it would not be feasible to save that sort of money. This official then said during the Q&A at one debate, “If the City could save that sort of money, your city council would have already done that.” Good thing this person wasn’t an advisor to Thomas Edison and his crazy idea for indoor illumination. I mean, heck, there was already 5,000 years of candle making that he was challenging, what did Mr. Edison know, he had never invented the light bulb before.
For no dollars, we at YpsiNews.com have apparently accomplished the impossible. Here is the very first Ypsilanti City Council Meeting, recorded on August 22, 2006, streaming on the Internet.
There is more to do. We need to improve audio quality. We could do that by recording from the audio system in council chambers. I would also like to work on canned intro and exits so it will make the video consistent and easy to sort through. Having a synopsis and time slices would make it easier to find particular discussions and tie that back to the approved agenda. Eventually I would like to edit the meeting down to a “best of” which could be a 30 minute synopsis of the good parts of the meeting. This was a short meeting, council meeting typically go on for three or more hours. So the video files are huge. It would also help to have a platform at the rear of the chambers to get a better angle and not have council members blocked by audience members or city staff at the front.
The plan going forward is to make as many City Council and other public meetings as possible all accessible via the Internet. If you would like to help on this project, just email me. Steve@Ypsi.com.
Both the Ann Arbor News and the Ypsilanti Courier refused to carry a story about local doctor and soldier (and my wife) Maggie Brandt and how she was featured in a billboard campaign this summer for the U.S. Army Reserve. Maggie was featured in billboards throughout southeast Michigan in an advertising campaign the Army called “Hometown Heroes”. Hometown Heroes was also the theme of this years Ypsilanti 4th of July parade but for some reason the local news didn’t see this as newsworthy. Thankfully the Detroit Free Press did, and they ran the story on August 6th. You can read the story here.