City Council Meetings Go Live

New administration plans to live stream and bring government to the people.

A webcam, tripod and laptop will soon become fixtures at Long Beach City Hall, as the new City Council will live stream all of its meetings starting Tuesday.

During her campaign, President Fran Adelson vowed to podcast the meetings. When she and her fellow Democratic running mates Len Torres and Scott Mandel were inducted to the City Council on Jan. 1, Adelson had the ceremony live streamed and the webcast was posted on the city’s website, archived under the “City Government” tab on its homepage. Now the new-look administration will do the same with City Council meetings, which are held the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

“I’m so excited because it will give people who aren’t able to be here the opportunity to know what’s going on in the city and be part of what’s happening,” Adelson said after the induction ceremony, which had a peak of 66 live stream viewers. “And this may inspire them to come to a meeting or at least get involved.”

The trio of equipment cost the city $630, and Gordon Tepper, the city’s director of online communications, will record each meeting using USTREAM.TV. The webcasts will include Good and Welfare sessions, in which residents can address the council on any government-related issue. The sessions have long been held at the council’s first meeting of the month, but at Tuesday’s meeting the council will vote on a resolution to extend these sessions to each meeting.

These measures, including monthly meetings that  council members plan to hold in neighborhoods throughout the city, are aimed at encouraging residents’ participation in local government. “Dialogue with our citizens is very, very important to us, and we want you to know what’s happening in our city,” Adelson said during her induction address.

The administration has also started to revamp the city’s website to make it more user-friendly. Adelson found that portions of site were underutilized. A tab that visitors can use to contact the city via email, for example, was moved from the bottom left of the homepage to near the top and center.

“It was such a small, little feature that it didn’t really work,” Adelson said. “Now that’s the first thing you see when you start reading the page.”

Adelson also plans to include a “community videos” section, to keep users informed about the goings-on in the city. “We want to have different organizations and different people send us videos,” Adelson said.

The city is already making more use of the scroll feature on the homepage. “Any time there is some kind of important notice, we will feature it prominently on the main page,” Gordon Tepper said.

When Tepper started to work for the city last June, he immediately launched the city’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. As of Monday, the Facebook page has 1,754 fans and Twitter has 194 followers. The Facebook account attracted many new fans as Hurricane Irene slammed the city last August, and Tepper was constantly updating the social media pages with information.

“The social networking sites are, in many ways, far more valuable than the actual City of Long Beach website,” Tepper said. “People may visit our website once a week or once a month, but they'll probably log into Facebook virtually every day.”

laocoon January 23, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Apolitical? Are you kidding or ignorant? He's the son of a lifetime-appointed Democrat judge. For his salary you could get an IT guy with a PHD. Maybe he does a good job, but the job should be Civil Service and appointed by examination. More typical corruption.
Vera January 23, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Well, lets hope the new comptroller is better than the last one who knew the city was broke, yet played along with the coalition's goal to hide that fact till after the election. I don't think the last comptroller was a CPA either, was she? And how many times did we hear the coalition hacks talk about how we won't know about the surplus till after the audit and Moody's Moody's Moody's! They knew LB was broke. Some people are too stuck on party lines, rather than giving the new leadership a chance. I have to admit - so far they seem alot better than the coalition. Are they perfect? doubtful, but they seem to be a far cry better then the coalition and their financial deception. Bet charlie is glad he doesn't live here and the outgoing council should hang their head in shame as they walk down the street for the mess they left this city in, the last minute promotions to their hacks and for screwing their neighbors.
Vera January 23, 2012 at 05:40 PM
In all honesty, i couldn't give a darn if people are CSEA and non-union workers. What this city needs are people who will do the job and do it right. I could care less where they live - the previous administration has show us that LB residents do not necessarily do what is right for the city because they are too worried about who butters their bread. I do like the fact that the new city manager is moving to Long Beach, so far he seems like he is doing a far superior job than the prior city manager.
Candygram for Mongo January 23, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Let's hope they don't put feces on his car
Bobby January 23, 2012 at 09:24 PM
laocoon? do you even live in long beach? judges are not appointed in long beach, they are voted in, nor are they lifetime positions, elections every ten years. also, according to these sites, gordon was appointed by the coalition and is a civil service employee, appointed by examination. never let facts get in the way of a good, angry story. the best part is that he probably is an it guy with a phd. full disclosure, i've never even met him. so which side is the corrupt one, the one that hired him or the one that is in power now? not everything is an evil conspiracy about giving unqualified hacks jobs.


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