"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Trying a new type of Townhall Meeting

My previous attempt to gain council support to engage more citizen involvement in the democratic process didn't get any traction. So, last night, I tried again and introduced a Notice of Motion calling for Electronic Town Hall Meetings. The idea seems to have widespread support, and we'll formally discuss the motion at the next council meeting. I'm hoping it will receive unanimous backing. Here's the text of my motion, which was seconded by Councillor Selina Robinson:

Motion to Encourage Citizen Engagement in Town Hall Meetings

Whereas the Council of the City of Coquitlam holds at least two public Town Hall Meetings a year with the intention of engaging citizen input into a variety of important local issues, and

Whereas, the number of people attending those meetings, such as the one held Oct. 3, 2012 at the Centennial Pavilion, is sometimes so low as to be matched by the number of City staff and Councillors in attendance, and,

Whereas, communications technologies, including but not limited to webcasts, Twitter feeds, and email and telephone linkages exist that have the potential to broaden the engagement process of Town Hall Meetings,

Be it resolved that Council direct staff to examine the possibility of, and to report back on, the staging of future Town Hall Meetings which are webcasted and, for the benefit of those citizens who are watching the webcast, that such meetings also employ communications technologies allowing, but not limited to, the receipt and display of emailed and Twittered comments and questions, and also allows citizens to communicate their questions and comments by phone in a way that their calls can be broadcast within the meeting site.

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