Tamarac Commissioner Harry Dressler and Mayor Beth Talabisco sold the issue of broadcasting city commission meetings not once, but twice during their campaigns for their city commissioner and mayoral race.
While it was an attention-getting platform that may have helped attain more votes, neither Dressler or Talabisco did much to make these promises become a reality.
The issue of broadcasting our city meetings was researched and presented to the mayor and city commissioners back in October 2006 by Information Technology Director Levent Sucuoglu. Only Talabisco and Dressler who were in attendance then, are still on the commission today.
According to the minutes taken during the workshop dated October 23, 2006, a few were concerned about broadcasting meetings. Residents would realize they were on TV and there would be grandstanding.
Patte Atkins Grad, who referred to the Mayor and commissioners as “Team Tamarac,” said she didn’t really want to lose the respect they had for one another by having TV cameras at the meetings. She looked forward to the meetings which were both stimulating and productive and she would hate to think the TV cameras would make the meetings anything less.
Atkins Grad said she watched other cities on TV and did not like what she saw. She also said she was not prepared to vote pro or con on this item at this time and asked that staff incorporate it into the next citizen survey questions to determine how constituents felt about televising meetings.
Of course, the cost at the time was probably high because they were only looking at providing cable access. Considering the fact that not every resident had Comcast Cable didn’t make cost sense to them at the time. The price for web streaming was probably higher six years ago compared to today. At the time of this meeting, only 60% of all residents were using the internet. Today that number has increased considerably to over 86%.
Dressler, who was for Sucuoglu’s proposal, said that the more people can see how government works, the better.
The other two commissioners at the time, Vice Mayor Portner and Commissioner Sultanof were against it.
Dressler, Talabisco and Atkins Grad decided to table the item and wait for the citizen’s survey to see if residents really wanted it.
Six years have gone by. and the cities that surround us are all broadcasting or streaming their meetings. The city of Tamarac which says it is committed to transparency, still does not. All that it would require is for Mayor Talabisco to have this issue researched again by one of the staff members. There is an incredible amount of information from other cities who would be happy to share their costs associated with this. See Article Here
Here are the cities in Broward County that are broadcasting or web-streaming their City Commission Meetings:
- Coral Springs
- Cooper City
- Dania Beach
- Deerfield Beach
- Fort Lauderdale
- Hallandale Beach
- Oakland Park
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach