Many times the traditional news media likes to argue that online media has no effect on public policy. They want to keep this fiction in place because they are hoping to stop the erosion of their reader/viewership. Today we proved that online media has the reach necessary to influence public policy.
At 9:44 this morning, city council met in a Special Session meeting to discuss and take action on three agenda items. One of the item’s, number two on the second special meeting agenda called for adopting an ordinance requiring any city council person to have two additional city representatives agree to post an item on the city council’s agenda.
As I reported to you, on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, city council voted to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance requiring two additional signatures from city representatives to add any item to the city council’s agenda. Currently, any city council person can post any item to the agenda. Earlier today, I posted my comments about this item was nothing more than an abuse of power.
Part of my argument is based on the fact that city council scheduled the vote for today, instead of the traditional city council meeting date – every Tuesday. For me, this seemed like an attempt to adopt the changes without giving the community an opportunity to voice their opposition.
I was the only media outlet to alert everyone that the vote would be taken today, instead of on Tuesday.
As a result, I know there was significant social media mobilization to thwart this vote because it was an obvious power grab. I also know that letters/emails were sent to all of the city representatives and the mayor asking them to reconsider this action.
Today at the meeting, at the request of Oscar Leeser, the item was deleted.
Therefore, the measure was not adopted and any city representative can continue to post items directly to the city council agenda. This is a clear victory for anyone interested in a public policy agenda that values government transparency.
I believe that this item was deleted as a direct result of my alerting you to the vote today and the resulting online and social media mobilization. There was no other media alerting you to the fact that this vote was going to take place. Some of the news media even reported the erroneous information to you by leaving you with the impression that this measure had been adopted already.
Today’s public policy based on transparency in government was a direct result of my alerting you to the proposed vote and your hard work in mobilizing your displeasure to city council. Clearly, today’s events were a direct result of my blog and your activism in ensuring that this power grab has not been approved.