Cruising around the Flemington website, www.historicflemington.com the last week in December to my surprise I learned that this year Boro council meetings will be broadcast via our website.
In this day of “Tivo “ this and “Tivo” that and Podcasts and ipods, we are accustomed to watching or listening to what we want when we find the time. And that convenience in these hectic days surely has its merits. But, on the one hand as Heisenberg notes, deliberately observing the process changes the process. Hence there has been much ado about the wisdom of televising court proceedings. Not knowing who is observing them may discourage residents from speaking their minds. We live in a very small borough. There is no anonymity as there is in Congress with its televised broadcasts. It may on the flipside invite grandstanding. On another hand, Boro hall is no more than five minutes from anywhere in the Boro and interested parties can go to council meetings, express their views, ask their questions and discuss Boro business with council members, personally. Not possible when relying on a broadcast. On still another hand, watching broadcasts may invite more interest and increase attendance at Boro council meetings. Boro residents, observing Boro council operating with full transparency, will inform the citizenry and the citizens ought to see to it they are informed because actions taken by council members are predicated on the consent of those they govern, basic John Locke and the contract between the governed and those who govern them. We are entitled to be sure council is doing what we want it to do because the power to govern in Flemington, America comes from the consent of the people. Given the nature of this broadcast issue, so very discretionary, it might have been nice to see what the residents thought about nudging our Boro into a more technological, no- holds- barred venue. After all some residents like the bit of respite Flemington offers from the hustle of the technological age and settle here for that benefit, small town life and goings on. Years ago we voted on the color of our Christmas lights, red and green vs. all white as we prepared to decorate our little hamlet. The traditional red and green won out. We are like this in little Flemington, personal, but we are open to the new and exciting too.
When I asked my still councilman husband about this new broadcast development and how it came to be and what other members of council thought, he advised me that the issue of broadcasting meetings, its pros or cons, were never brought to Boro council during his tenure. So broadcasting Boro council meetings was just set up and announced on the website with no discussion on Boro council. This I do not understand.