Lack of Municipal Transparency Keeps Downbeach Taxpayers in Dark

Ventnor Margate Zoom Meetings Transparency Vince Polistina
Local Politicians Block ZOOM.

What are they hiding? That’s a question being asked by Margate and Ventnor residents, most of them are 2nd homeowners.

Even though cost and tech are no longer a hurdle, South Jersey shore towns still block ZOOM video access to most of their public meetings. Especially School and Planning Board meetings.

Municipal transparency via Zoom & YouTube is more important than ever.

NOTE: The Press of Atlantic City just announced they’ll soon cut back on printing a newspaper. Just 3 days a week, instead of 7.  Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only. Yikes. No Sunday paper. No more carrier-delivery either.

RIP Press of AC.
  • How does City Hall spend your tax dollars?
  • Will Planning Board inform you of development next to your house?
  • Is crime growing in the school hallways?
  • What are kids being taught?

Councilman Jesse Kurtz represents the 6th ward of Atlantic City.  We call it Lower Chelsea, a beautiful neighborhood right next to Ventnor City.  

Kurtz pioneered something called ‘The Transparency Act’.  A requirement to show city meetings online. Have it available for on-demand viewing at a later date. Remote participation.

Listen to Atlantic City Councilman, Jesse Kurtz. Importance of municipal transparency:

Kurtz on WOND Radio.

Atlantic County Commissioners embrace full transparency. Best of the bunch. They utilize live video streams, remote participation and video archives.

PRO TIP: Every Atlantic County municipality should follow Atlantic County Exec Denny Levinson’s lead. The county should provide guidance and best practices when it comes to public meeting transparency.

V for Vendetta.

John Devlin of the Atlantic City Board of Education keeps pushing for greater transparency. Devlin joined a group of residents demanding live, ZOOM streams of ACBOE meetings. They also want ACBOE video archived on YouTube for later viewing.

Atlantic City School Admins, LaQuetta Small and Barry Caldwell, still blocking live video stream of their BOE meetings. Small also restricts access to taxpayer funded, internal video recording of ACBOE meetings.

Will reduction in publication days for the Press of Atlantic City affect legal notices? Probably. Municipalities are mandated to post legal notices in DAILY newspapers, even though readership has tanked.  

Towns could easily use email and Twitter to share legal notices. But most don’t. Towns still adhere to severely outdated legal notice rules. Some Downbeach towns still ‘posting’ in the defunct, Downbeach Current. ALSO: Asbury Park Press and Mainland Current are useless.

Why do towns block live video of School Board and Planning Zoning meetings? Maybe they don’t want you to see how the sausage is made. Or who keeps getting those rich contracts…

Ashley K.

Many local, state and county politicians still don’t want you to see them in action. Especially school board and planning boards. The infamous CRDA too.


Commissioner Blumberg does not support live Zoom video & remote participation. Margate School District doesn’t allow audio, video or archive of board meetings.


Ventnor does great job providing online access to commissioner meetings. Archive and remote participation too. But, Acting-Mayor Landgraf does not support live Zoom video and remote participation for his Planning Board and School Board meetings. The Ventnor School District offers limited transparency.

Note: Landgraf is employee of CRDA / State of New Jersey. Zoom video of CRDA meetings are blocked as well.

Council / CommissionPlanning BoardSchool Board
LongportOnly audio. No Zoom video.
YouTube audio archive
No Remote Participation
Poor audio only.
Audio archive.
No Remote Participation
No live ZOOM video
No YouTube archive
No remote participation
Atlantic CityLive video stream.
Video archive: Yes.
Remote Participation: Yes.
Zoom Video
No Remote Participation
No Archive
No live ZOOM video
No YouTube archive
No remote participation
BrigantineLive video stream.
YouTube archive: Yes.
NO Remote Participation
No live Zoom video
No YouTube archive
No Remote Participation
No live Zoom video
No YouTube archive
No Remote Participation

About The Author

10 thoughts on “Lack of Municipal Transparency Keeps Downbeach Taxpayers in Dark”

  1. Can someone please explain the legal reasons why any elected or appointed board in our local governments can block live streaming and participation of all meetings? It would seem to me that the cost would be minimal and if the taxpayers want that option they should be entitled to receive it. These cities spend a lot of our money without our direct approval, surely the cost of a basic website, camera, microphone and commercial zoom account will not break the bank.

    A website could be constructed to allow every resident whether year round or seasonal to enter their name, address and email address. Then every month as meetings are scheduled everyone of the email list is sent a notice and link to that meeting.

    If they decide not to enroll on the site or join a meeting, then that’s their decisions but they can’t blame anyone else for not participating. Audience participation would need to be limited on time, and only a limited number of speakers could be heard every meeting, but at least everyone could watch, listen and learn to the happenings in their town.

    Then they could post their suggestions or comments after the meeting in writing back to their respective boards. Again, can someone please explain the legal reasons this is not mandated, if the majority of the taxpayers want it?

  2. It’s a long honored tradition to spend 2nd homeowners taxes without their input or knowledge.
    After all shoebies only give the Island 80% of their tax money and are only here 3 mos or so.
    Why should they have a say or be informed?
    Down with the Redcoats!! :-)

    1. Why do people like you feel compelled to still call second home OWNERS shoobies at this point ? It serve no purpose than divisiveness.

  3. Margate is the worst at transparency. Margate business mgr Rich Deeny killed live streaming of meetings. Maury Blumberg supported that too.

    1. I really don’t know the make-up of every board, so I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything. And jumping all over them is certainly not going to coax them to do it.

      So, does anyone know the legalities behind all us taxpayers insisting on it and making it happen? Surely there is an experienced attorney in this area of law, that read this periodical that could answer this question.

      I really think we should push and make this happen.

      There is absolutely no good reason taxpayers should not be privy to what their governments are doing on their behalf, good and bad!

  4. Well, May I remind everyone that we have an election coming up……would be nice to have More caring, knowledgeable Margatians on the ballot.

    1. Whether we are residents or shoobies (I’m one) if we all have a vested interest in our beloved towns, in whatever form that may be, we should all want the local governments to allow full access to their meetings, behaviors, and decisions. In the end, it affects all of us. However, I always wonder why some of “the locals” are such haters. We’re all neighbors.

      Getting back to the real point, we really should have full access. It is our right and based on how things are running, (for example, zoning meetings and our school system) maybe we should pay more attention. We’re talking about a camera, tripod, and a zoom account. The tax office already has the name of every taxpayer, so building a web portal using that data to allow each homeowner to enroll if they care to, and have access to the site and receive “next meeting” notices is completely doable.

      An unchecked government is one of the most dangerous things. I’m pretty sure that is why the Boston Tea Party happened and the Constitution was created. You know, “taxation without representation”. By the way, most of them were shoobies! :)

  5. Christopher Baxter

    Taxpayers have a right to know what our government is doing, how it’s spending our money, and whether we’re getting the services we deserve.

    But there are fewer and fewer journalists on the front lines, keeping the government honest — and when officials don’t face questions or requests for public records on a regular basis, they increasingly lean toward secrecy.

    Making matters worse, state and local governments have vastly more resources than members of the public, allowing them to fight requests for information in court (using taxpayer dollars!) knowing full well that most requesters can’t afford to fight back.

    Christopher Baxter
    Editor in Chief, Spotlight PA

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.