Thursday, November 29, 2012

SF Sunshine Panel
Meetings to Air on TV?

At the November 7 meeting of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, I used my public comment time to request the panel provide a timer at the lectern where the public speak and that the hearings begin airing on the city's cable channel. In essence, I'm trying to sunshine the sunshine panel and it's about time it took advantage of all technological tools to engage with taxpayers and citizen watchdogs.

SOTF member Todd David, who has been the subject of much criticism from me and other open government advocates because of his lack of sunshine advocacy and full understanding of the SOTF, is now pushing for my ideas to be implemented.

He sent this note to Supervisors John Avalos, Mark Farrell, and Jane Kim, and Andrea Ausberry the secretary for the panel, which David shared with me:

I would like to request the public broadcasting of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Meetings via SFGTV. I believe it is in the public's interest to begin broadcasting the Task Force's meetings.
And David sent this email to the same folks:
I would like to request a timer for the dais used for public comment at the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Meetings.  A timer would allow members of the public to know exactly how much time they have to provide testimony and share their opinions.
These small requests are laudable, but longtime sunshine advocate Ray Hartz Jr offers a larger context to David's requests and the SOTF:
The current lack of a timer is problematic for people speaking before the Task Force.
Having the timer available is a function of the room used: the larger rooms at City Hall have the time built into the podium and the smaller ones do not.

Having the SOTF televised is a great idea, but, again a function of the room. The Ethics Commission had to be moved into one of the larger rooms to be able to have the room properly equipped with both cameras and video monitors. Room 408, where the SOTF usually meets, is not equipped with either cameras for SFGTV style video presentations or video monitors to allow those in the room to see what is being televised. 

While I feel Mr. David is an area of concern, I believe the "holdover" members of the Task Force, the only ones with ANY knowledge of the Sunshine Ordinance, are the real area for concern.

Mr. David is only the most apparent member of the SOTF with problems from Sunshine advocates perspective. The body as a whole has only the three "holdover" members to keep it from being totally uninformed as to any knowledge relating to Sunshine. 

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