Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Video of the Dunwoody City Council Meeting of July 11, 2011

This evening the Council finalized the City's voting districts, deferred the bond discussions another session for more information and minor tweaks, we discussed our capital paving contract and are looking to add a few extra streets as our bids fell short of the $2,000,000 allocated, had a few first reads and then had a discussion regarding a possible crosswalk at Tilly Mill and Binghampton to be installed when the new asphalt is laid down in the Fall.

My fellow Councilmembers chide me for never being on camera, I guess it is more my forgetfulness with a number of more important items taking place when I am talking, than my lack of vanity but figured tonight was a good night to turn the camera as I specifically had an item on the agenda that I proposed.   I even created a highlight link to the discussion of the crosswalk (click here - http://ustre.am/_14SMR:Mkk) and posted my own photo above which I rarely do.


Bob Lundsten said...

Two comments about last nights meeting.
First I strongly believe the process of combining work sessions and voting session need to be ended.
The purpose of these two meetings is unique. The public needs to know when each of these meeting will be held. Changing of those schedules and combing meetings for the convenience of council members or staff is problematic. Contrary to our belief, not everyone reads the websites (other than yours maybe). Set the schedules and stick with them so people will know what the deal is.
Secondly, last night’s discussion over the new Council tax Districts was a shambles.
At public hearings ALL documents or maps should be at least made available to the folks that are present at the meeting. Most folks do not have access to iPads of laptops like you have at the council tables. The map discussion was interesting in that council members were asking questions as to map changes, which map was original, what were the final changes and so on.
However there was no visual reference point for the public in attendance to actually see what you all were talking about. While the commitment to paperless is admirable it places an unfair burden on those in attendance.
The arrogance of those on council who did not think it was necessary for the public to see what you were voting on at the time was simply unbelievable. Councilman Ross’s comment, “I have seen this and I am ready to vote” shows a total disregard for the people.

DunwoodyTalk said...

I hope soon online viewers (via the city's live feed) will be shown documents, maps, photos, etc. during the meetings. The city spent a lot of money on technology, and I am not seeing the results. I won't even discuss the ongoing microphone issues that seem to take place on a weekly basis. I submitted a work request online so I can track the progress of this. As always, thanks for putting out your video feed - it's a useful backup for when the city feed suddenly disappears.

Chip said...

Don't forget the petti-fogging about John H.'s request to pave a short section of Tilly Mill that's in Doraville to make the entrance to Dunwoody more attractive.

Instead of working constructively, we heard a lot of posturing and rhetoric about how cost-conscience a couple of Councilpersons are. What horse-hockey was played last night!!!

This Council spends 1.6 MM estimated for ChatComm to snuggle up with Sandy Springs. This Council entered into an agreement with Sandy Springs to pave a road (Dunwoody Club) that everyone agreed wasn't even on the list of roads needing repaving....but $40,000 to cooperate with Doraville on a quid-pro-quo to improve a Dunwoody gateway, well!!! We have to hold the line on spending somewhere...

Here's an idea worth trying...a lot of marketing and TV response groups have chairs outfitted with five buttons (from strongly disagree to strongly agree) or ("I'm bored to tears" to "What a good idea", etc.

Since the City Manager seems completely unable to provide reliable microphone and video, let's redo the whole she-bang and add this "audience polling" technology so when Councilman Shortal starts with his "just one thing..." "One more thing...." and "let me repeat the conclusion that everyone just reached as though it were my idea and suggestion...." the audience response would be tactile and visually displayed.

By the way, Bob L. failed to call the City Attorney out in print for his faux pax yesterday. It's been a long-standing practice that Public Comment is a "one-way" street instead of a dialog. Our esteemed City Attorney violated that provision last night. Kudos to Farmer Bob for his quick "Hey! This is my comment!"


Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice me sitting there for two hours last night ready and willing to answer to any questions about my SLUP application? I had been called upon by letter to attend incase any questions came up that I could have answered, ad indeed there were questions I could have clearly set straight without wasting everyone's time speculating over this and that (the hours I intend to teach are an example). And yet, no-one allowed me the opportunity to come forward. I may as well have been invisible. Changes need to be made to the application process. It takes far too long and wastes far too much of my personal time (2 hrs last night for example). No joke, I got my green card in less time than this!

BeEwe said...

Is there a part 2 video? The video I viewed was for a work session - no city council meeting, and even then, it stops short of the end.
Also, the only one I can ever hear clearly is you John. Do the other microphones even work? And hope one day I can watch the video without having to endure commercials.

John Heneghan said...

Please allow me to make a few comments.

Bob you are correct, the district map should have been available in our packet as well as at the hearing for public viewing; with your help at identifying the issue we deferred the item until later in the evening so that both council and meeting participants were fully informed.

DunwoodyTalk, the city has some ability to putting items up to the live feed but the person who would be doing that is the City Clerk and to be honest she is quite busy taking notes and time stamping the video which is being posted by the city. There are backup members of staff that may be able to do this but this is still a new system and not even officially announced.

Chip, I raised the issue of repaving a small section of Tilly Mill Rd which is technically in the City of Doraville but this section of road is also directly in front of Dunwoody Residences and Dunwoody Businesses. I have been in communication with City of Doraville leaders but please be aware that they are in a transition period with an upcoming election for a new Mayor and changes in the City Council therefore they could not commit funds to join in our repaving contract at this time. I thought my suggestion had merit and believed that an IGA for a swap of services for repaving was fair and if there was a monetary difference that the amount might then be within Doraville’s budget. That being said, Council didn’t seem to agree with my arguments but keep in mind that the asphalt isn’t being laid for several months therefore anything could happen between now and then. A new Mayor of Doraville is being elected on Tuesday and she may weigh in on the issue of how she wants a Gateway into the City of Doraville to appear. Plus keep in mind that the item being discussed will be up for a vote at the next meeting and this gives ample opportunity for yourself and others to make their wishes known.

Your audience polling idea has merit, and one way to do it is to live tweet council meetings as they happen. If you have a group of dedicated participants using the same hash tag (maybe #dunwoodycc), the live stream of comments may actually make the meeting more interesting than watching the meeting alone. Take a look at what Peach Pundit use to do with the Georgia Gang and the same thing can be done on twitter.


John Heneghan said...

Stringguru, thank you for attending the meeting and I’m very sorry that this process is longer than it should be. You are the first resident going through this process (that we adopted directly from DeKalb County) and we will be using this experience as a way to modify the requirements. Last night was not a public hearing and most of the questions council had were really on the process of a SLUP and not on your specific issue. Last night I asked if you should be brought before council for questions or comments and that was deferred until the hearing at the next meeting. You also know that even though I was told that we couldn’t talk, I still found a way to communicate directly to you in order to explain the process since I could feel your frustration from across the room.

BeEwe, as Bob stated in his comment above, last night’s schedule was typically a work session but the city attorney has deemed the verbiage of the meeting schedule to allow a voting meeting at all meeting sessions, as long as they are advertised as such. Sorry but I have a three hour limit on my free USTREAM service and last night’s meeting lasted about 3 hours and 10 minutes therefore I didn’t see the need to start a new recording when I didn’t believe it was worth it. There was no public comment at the end of the meeting therefore I don’t believe you missed much.

The videos I post are completely done solely by my doing, with no physical or ongoing assistance from the City. I used my city expense account to purchase a good computer, camera and microphone but don’t see the need to pay USTREAM a minimum of $100 per month to provide ad free videos.

The city has not officially announced what I am about to tell you since it is still in the testing phase but it is an open secret that the city council meetings are now being streamed live on the internet, with no advertising and then you can play back the entire meeting or click the section of the meeting that you are interested in watching. Last night the voting meeting was held in the work session room and in the work session format (confusing I agree) therefore we tested lapel microphones which worked quite well if you watch the city version of the video.

In order to watch the city videos, do the following. From the main City of Dunwoody government website, find and click the Agendas and Meetings icon in the horizontal scroll bar. In the list of meetings, find the City Council Meeting from Monday July 11th and click the link that says audio. In the top right hand corner you will see the meeting streaming with no audio (muted) and eventually the meeting starts at 7 pm sharp and the audio comes up. Here’s the neat part, if you want to see the video specifically about the 2011 Capital Paving and by suggestion for Tilly Mill Road, just scroll down and click the appropriate link (M1) to the left.

Someday when the City masters the uploading of their streaming meeting video, I may stop providing my video stream; that way I too can join in and live tweet the meeting as it happens.