The Ithaca Journal used their Daily Opinion column from their editor to comment on government meetings - Dryden government meetings to be exact. Some highlights (read the entire editorial):
-About a week ago, we saw a rare occurrence in Tompkins County. A town board — in this case Dryden — broke from its routine and held a regularly-scheduled meeting away from Dryden Town Hall.
-Last Wednesday, Dryden met at the Varna Volunteer Fire Company. It was the first of at least a few meetings the board will have in different parts of the town (the largest town in Tompkins County). In April, David Makar proposed that the town board should meet at one of the town's four community centers or four fire stations every other month.
-Hopefully, the Dryden Town Board is successful in its pursuit, and other boards — school boards included — follow. It may increase interest in government affairs and allow more community members access to their elected officials.
One of the Varna Volunteer Fire Company members that attended told me later that he had to step outside during part of the meeting - he was number 57 in a room that had the legal fire capacity of 56. He was keeping track and stepped out as others came in.
I was really happy to see a good turn out from the local media, not for me personally, but so that people that couldn't attend the meeting could find out about it from other sources. The Ithaca Journal, Tompkins Weekly, The Dryden Courier and WHCU all had reporters listening and staying late to ask questions after the meeting. There were public hearings, department reports, committee reports and resolution review and passing. I felt good having public participation and it reminded me of the annual town meetings that are held each spring in Berlin, Massachusetts where I grew up. These meetings become informative and educational, but also social and community building. Perhaps the more we understand about actions, the better we can respond to those actions.
I hope that we can continue these public meetings in community centers and fire departments in 2008.