Friday, February 8, 2019

I am curtailing my coverage of the council. How to stay informed about what happens in the Metro Council.

For the last three years I have been covering the meetings of the Metro Council in detail.  I have covered what happened in the Metro Council for much longer than that but in the last three years I have methodically covered the council.  I have read every agenda and every agenda analysis, read a lot of the bills, and posted a blog post on the topic of "what's on the agenda." I would point out what I perceived to be the most important items, summarize the legislation and provide commentary. I would then watch the meeting, post a video of it and provide time-stamp notation to the best parts where one could go to that point in the video and see a good debate or speech or explanation from a member of the body.

I am curtailing my coverage of the council.  Covering the council in such detail had become more like a job and an obligation rather than a pleasurable activity.  I was not having fun. The Council meets twice a month and those meeting seem to be coming faster and faster.  Also, the Council has had some six hour meetings in the last year. I have leaned to watch meeting at double speed but still to watch in sufficient detail to properly notate and report on what occurred has proved very time consuming. I admit that knowing I was the best informed person in Nashville about what went on in the Metro Council gave me a certain amount of ego satisfaction but one never knows if anyone else appreciates what you do or even notices.

I will continue to stay informed and report on the most important stuff before the Council but I am not going to meticulously study every Council agenda and then watch every meeting.  For those who do care deeply about what happens in the city let me give you some tips and links for watching the Metro Council and being well informed.

To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person. I see very little reason to do that. If it is an issue you care deeply about and you know some council members, your presence in the audience could impact a vote but probably not.  You can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site, or if you have Roku there is a Metro Nashville channel that carries the program.

You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel  or you can watch a video of the meeting on the News and Media web page. If you are going to watch the video it is worth learning to watch it in double speed because much of it is real boring and you can listen faster than councilmen can talk. If you open the video and click on the little gear symbol on the bottom of the video screen you can change the speed. If you are not offered that option, there is a setting adjustment you can make. It is different for different web browsers. Just search "How to watch a video in double speed," and you will lean how.

You need an agenda and a staff agenda analysis to really understand what is going on. If you just watch the meeting without these tools it will be hard to understand what is under discussion. To access the agenda go to this link, and you will find the most recent agenda.  For the staff analysis, follow this link.

To access the minutes of the meeting follow this link. The minutes will give you the official version of what happened and give the results of roll call vote and the text of amendments and substitute ordinances which you may not other wise have from just watching the meeting.  The minutes, however, are usually not posted until the Friday following a Tuesday meeting.

It is easier than ever to keep informed about what is happening, but even with all of the available technology it still takes some effort.  To be really informed about Council activity one needs to watch committee meetings. I only watched committee meetings occasionally.  Most real discussion and explanations of  issues takes place in committee meetings.  If you are going to watch any committee meeting, the most important committee is Budget and Finance.

I may resume my methodical coverage of the Council after a period of taking a break, especially if I get any encouragement. In any event, I am going to stay informed and will try to report on the most important legislative activities.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all you have done. I hope you resume coverage of find someone that can provide the summaries you have.