Jersey Shore residents demanding greater transparency from their elected officials. They want better online access to city meetings via video streaming and online, on-demand archives. They want to stay connected to City Hall.
Online meetings solve that problem. Most 2nd homeowners are not in town during the off-season. Even full-timers can’t always spend a few hours inside City Hall twice a month. But with ZOOM-type video conferencing, and on-demand viewing of meetings, Much more civic engagement. More watchful eyes to see how their tax dollars are being spent.
According to Press of Atlantic City, Avalon residents now demanding a video-based meeting service instead of old-school telephone-based system for remote participation in meetings.
Most recently in Avalon, a controversial proposal was introduced to build a restaurant and event facility on the dunes. Residents wanted to chime in. Phone lines were jammed. Too many wanted to participate. This Avalon Planning Board meeting had over 650 people trying to call in. Only 280 got thru according to Press of Atlantic City.
Money is not the issue. Like other Jersey shore towns, Avalon is a wealthy community.
Members of council under growing pressure to upgrade the system making it easier for remote meetings. Allow more to participate. Especially 2nd homeowners that can’t vote.
Seems like some towns like play games with times and locations in order to limit public participation?
See CRDA. Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
CRDA schedules their meetings when most can’t attend. 1pm on a Tuesday.
Atlantic City’s CRDA gets poor grades when it comes to recording their monthly meetings. Video streaming of CRDA meetings are not available. Only poor quality phone audio. CRDA meeting archives are not made available.
CRDA meets in a very inconvenient part of town. A very small room on Pennsylvania Ave that can barely seat 30 attendees. A better spot would be City Hall at 6pm. It’s a large room that can hold over 150 attendees. Easy to park. Video streaming available too. Mayor Marty Small is against the idea.
Watch this clip of a recent CRDA meeting. Very embarrassing. Shows poor fiscal management of funds & resources.
Note: CRDA has stopped providing video feeds from their meetings.
In some towns, privately funded groups record and post Council meeting video. This can often lead greater awareness of issues, uncovering of corruption, and sometimes, force change.
Technophobe politicians can no longer hide behind their lack of simple Internet skills.
LISTEN: Sneaky Margate Hotel Deal Discovered by Angry Residents
A growing number of towns stream, record and post their council meetings online. It’s cheap and easy to do.
Why do some officials want to limit public access? One official was quoted as saying: if they care about this town, they’ll show up at meetings in person. I don’t care if they’re part-time residents and 2nd homeowners.
Few towns provide online video access to school board and planning board meetings. Atlantic City does excellent job with their live streaming and archiving of Council meetings. Too bad they don’t allow easy access to video from their school board meetings.
The fact that a public citizen has to go out and get a cellphone and a tripod and show up and livestream meetings in 2021 is absurd.
In terms of transparency, the Atlantic City Planning Board is at the bottom of our list. No website. No agendas or meeting minutes posted. No line-up of board members. No by-laws. No mission statement. No audio or video recordings. Interesting to note: Chairman of the Atlantic City Planning Board is controversial BLM activist, Steve Young.
In general, very few shore towns provide video access to both School & Planning Board meetings.
Does your town stream, record and/or post video of their school board and planning board meetings?
- Brigantine offers City Council meeting video. No Planning or School Board.
- Atlantic City offers City Council meeting video. No Planning or School Board.
- Longport offers poor quality Commissioner meeting audio.
- Margate offers Commissioner & Planning Board audio. No School Board.
- Ventnor offers Commissioner meeting video. No School or Planning Board.
- CRDA meetings provides live ‘call-in only’ audio. No on-demand listening.
Occasionally, we gain access to School Board video. Very eye-opening.
- See Margate School Board.
- See Atlantic City School Board.