Live streaming: yes, no, maybe

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Two weeks after three trustees walked out of the Green Mountain Falls board meeting, the tone among board members and Mayor Lorrie Worthey was productive.

At issue for trustees Howard Price, Mac Pitrone and Ralph LoCascio were the commercials attached to the live streaming of the meetings. Added to their angst over the streaming were the fees charged to remove the commercials.

By the meeting on Oct. 2, everybody had calmed down and agreed to discuss the issue. But the three trustees maintained their position that commercials as well as the fees would not be allowed.

Unlike most meetings, several residents showed up, presumably, to see what would happen. “I want to express my agreement with the mayor on the issue of live streaming,” said Ken Nord, speaking from the audience. “I'd also like to express my disappointment in those three that walked out on the meeting in September.”

If the trustees were still in the dark about the people behind the live streaming, Larry McKnight, pastor of Joyland church and site of the temporary town hall, revealed the source. “I just want to clear up this `mystery citizen' thing,” he said.

The video equipment belongs to the church and has been used to introduce live streaming to the Sunday services, McKnight said, adding that a member of the church, Doug Estrada, was the camera man. “For any role I played in the confusion I apologize. The offer is still on the table,” McKnight said.

The commercials are the result of the church's association with Ustream, which offers the free internet connection, McKnight said. “Just like anything else, if you get hotmail, for instance, there's junk on all of them,” he added.

More conciliatory at this meeting, the mayor requested a decision by the board on the issue of live streaming.

But Price continued to hammer the commercial aspect. “Commercials that say `if you don't want commercials, send us money,' is wrong. Dead wrong,” he said, pounding his fist on the table. “We should be in charge of our own, where it goes, how it gets used and who handles it. I have no problem if the church handles, but this was just pushed on us and that shouldn't happen.”

With six minutes missing on the videotape in addition to the poor quality of the streaming, another wrinkle surfaced. “If we had a better Internet source, it would get a lot better,” Estrada said by way of explanation.

For trustee Jane Newberry, the missing six minutes was the clincher, particularly if the town decided to do the streaming.

“The town is a statutory town governed by the Sunshine Laws which means, if we do it ourselves, we, by god, better get every word the minute roll is called to the very end,” Newberry said. “However, if you (the church) record it, I would really like to see a resolution that says `this is a personal recording and not a representation of the town' because we need to protect our town according to the Sunshine Law; I want that to be clear. Even if we put this on videotape I would still recommend that the minutes are always the official record.”

Newberry agreed to draft a resolution and present it at the meeting Oct. 16