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Mayor's Veto Leaves Residents in the Dark

In addition to sharing fun events happening in the Rincon Hill neighborhood or nearby that may allow us to meet and to get to know each other as neighbors, I also strongly promote civic engagement on this blog. As Howard Dean used to say, if all you do is vote, you get a C- grade for civic engagement.

One of the basic ways to get more involved is to attend public meetings. Unfortunately, most meetings are held during hours that most working folks are unable to attend if they want to keep earning a paycheck or do not want to use their precious 10 or 15 days of annual vacation time for that purpose. Luckily for us, 14 of the major board, committee, and commission meetings are recorded and available for viewing either online at SFGTV or on Comcast cable on channels 26 or 78. There is also a colorful summary of the Board of Supervisors meetings provided by local blogger “Sweet Melissa” at sweetmelissa.typepad.com.

However, there are about 100 oversight groups that are not recorded and available for residents to hear or see – 100 oversight groups that require you to be physically present if you want to capture what was discussed.

The Board of Supervisors recently passed legislation that would require the City to record all public meetings held at City Hall and post archives on the Internet for interested parties to review. The estimated cost was only $76,000 – in the context of a $6 billion plus budget, that is peanuts. Sadly, Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed the legislation and left the citizens of San Francisco who cannot attend these public meetings for various reasons in the dark. This is something to think about if our Mayor decides to run for Governor.

In the meanwhile, maybe the folks who can and who do attend the 100 or so groups’ meetings can take on the task of recording and posting the meetings to iTunes or another easily accessible spot. I’d give those folks an A+ for civic engagement. 🙂

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