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Local governments should definitely start reopening meetings to the public.

Mayor Willie Rosas and Mayor of Fredonia Doug Essek last week expressed their support for the public attendance at city council and village council meetings, and in our opinion, the city council and village council should reopen their meetings.

It is difficult to gather public opinion when meetings are held electronically, and the public should be able to participate more easily in local government.

This doesn’t mean that video streams should go away, however. If local governments really care about reaching as many people as possible, local councils that have streamed their meetings live or posted their meetings on YouTube should continue to do so.

State legislation requiring videos to be taken at local meetings is unlikely to be approved by the state legislature this year, but we do know people are watching the videos that are being taken right now. Last week’s Dunkirk Common Council meeting was broadcast over 300 times while the April 20 meeting was viewed over 470 times. A few hundred people have logged in to watch the meetings of the Dunkirk school board. People watching online are unlikely to speak in front of the board, even though the meetings are open to the public – but they obviously care enough about what’s going on in their community to watch a local government meeting on. their computer. rather than one of the hundreds of TV channels on offer these days.

Video of local meetings is not a substitute for in-person meetings, but it is a wonderful addition to in-person meetings.

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