Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Barstow Citizen Oversight on the Internet

When it comes to protecting our democracy, the drum I beat the most is Public Oversight. That means you simply pay attention to what your elected officials are up to and that way you know when it is time to take action when things go awry. In Barstow, before the internet and before Councilman Joe Gomez made a push to get our meetings on the internet, the only way to conduct this Public Oversight was to get your butt off the couch, turn off the TV and spend hours at a time watching meetings that can often get boring on many of the agenda items. But after fighting Joe Gomez kept pushing the idea, we now have the luxury of watching the meeting in the comfort of your home or office. Best of all, if you miss them when they are live, you can see them whenever you want. To the technically challenged like myself, I have broken down the steps necessary to do just that.

How to View City Council Meetings

If you live in the City of Barstow and have cable TV, then you can watch the Meetings of the Barstow City Council, Planning Commission, and Fire District, live on Chanel 6 and later as reruns. Otherwise, you can view them on the internet along with the agenda for the next meeting as follows:

1. Go to the Barstow City Website - or Click Here.

2. On the horizontal directional bar, click on “City Government” and then on the drop down menu click on “City Council”

3. On the new window there is a menu at the left of the screen, click on “Agendas and Minutes”.

4a. Regular meetings - On the new window there will be another menu on the left of the screen. Click on “City Council” or Click Here or cut and paste the following:

4b. Special meetings - On the new window there will be another menu on the left of the screen. Click on “Special Meetings” or Click Here or cut and paste the following:

You will notice that the video for the Special Meeting of August 28, 2007 is broken into two different videos:

Special Meeting - Open Meeting Prior To Closed Session,
Special Meeting - Continued Meeting Following Closed Session

Skipping ahead when watching the video - Underneath the video screen is a time bar that will allow you to move ahead to any point in the meeting. Just below that time bar on the right is a time counter which tells you how many hours, minutes, and seconds into the meeting. Between now and the time that am able to become technically able enough to record and edit relative portions of the video, I will direct you there by giving the exact time at which the comments occur. For example if I mention something that happened and I cite the time as: [2:43:26] In that example, the comments I am directing you to watch would be two hours, forty-three minutes, and twenty-six seconds into the meeting.

For your convenience, there is a drop down window under the video that will allow you to “Skip Ahead” to another agenda item in the meeting. The complete Agenda and other relative documents are on the right of your screen.

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