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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How far have we come in Italy?

Municipal Council meetings are public events. They could and should be filmed and made available to all citizens who do not join the meetings. All you need to do is enter, tell that you would like to record the proceedings and then just film.
At the municipal council meetings they take decisions that can affect our future, including issues regarding water distribution to healthcare and from education to environment.
The municipal councillors are our employees and, as such, they are obliged to publicly account for their doing.
What I am writing is nothing revolutionary by any means. Were this to be read by a Spaniard, or by an American for that matter, they would be quite surprised because they aknowledge this as normality.
In Los Angeles, City Council meetings, which are their equivalent of our Municipal Council Meetings, are broadcast live via cable TV on Channel 35 and on the Internet. Information is a public service. Municipal debates are public events.
The decisions made at these meetings belong to the public records.
Mayors and councillors who prohibit the filming of council meeting proceedings have a somewhat exclusionist view of politics.
What they don’t appear to realise is that their salaries are paid by the very people who wish to film the proceedings and thereby check up on what they are getting up to. The Municipalities themselves should be voluntarily filming Council Meetings and making them available live on-line, and they should accept any viewer's comment made on the Internet.
Dear Mayors and Councillors, what have you got to hide? All those Euros that enable you to make ends meet or, better still, to live rather high on the hog are given to you by the citizens.
When these citizens walk into Council Chambers, you should welcome them with open arms. These are your bosses that are coming to visit you. These are your true principals. Should you decide to have them evicted by the Police or the Carabinieri (and on what grounds would you be entitled to do so?), they should turn around and withdraw the mandate they gave to you in the first place.
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