I am writing to take exception to the June 16 article by Rich Lord regarding City Council's efforts to bring live video streaming of council meetings to the Internet ("Council Seeks Vendor to Put Meetings Online"). Mr. Lord poked fun at some members who used a little drama over the years to make a point, and said council plays to the camera to showcase pets and torture other officials. Surely he knows there is a much larger purpose.
The city clerk's office has been exploring video streaming for council for some time, because it is the right form of technology for today's environment, and because Pennsylvania Right to Know laws and transparency in government are what the public -- and the media -- have been asking for! With video streaming, if you want to watch the discussion of a specific topic, you no longer have to sit through an entire meeting. You type in a key word and the technology brings you directly to that discussion. If you don't subscribe to cable, or if you live outside the city limits where the government channel is not accessible, you can use your personal computer to watch the meeting 24/7. I'll bet a lot of residents who live in the suburbs may still be interested in the hub of local government.
Let the public be clear. Pittsburgh City Council has one of the most open forms of government. Our Web site contains a Legislative Information Center that is state of the art, and video streaming will be added to the menu. We are open for business.
MARY BETH DOHENY
City of Pittsburgh