Following city council meetings in Los Angeles as they happen are not much of a challenge. One can listen in over the phone or watch on TV or online. If you miss it live, you can always watch later online -- or download the audio to podcast it.
But if you want to take advantage of your civic right and make an on-the-record comment before laws are made or voted down, it's quite a time commitment: Go downtown, wait for your agenda item (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours), and try to fit everything you want to say in a few minutes. Basically, you're looking at a half day of your time to talk for three minutes.
That could change.
Freshman City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents portions of Silicon Beach in Venice, will be testing out video testimony at a City Council committee meeting on Wednesday. "People shouldn't need to take time off work and fight traffic in order to make their voices heard at City Hall," he said.
Appropriately enough, Bonin chairs the Transportation Committee.
At the meeting, fellow council member Bob Blumenfield, chair the City Council's technology committee, will speak during the first agenda item via online video, as well as some invited members of the public. The comments, however, will not be official. "This has not gone through the City Attorney or City Council process yet," explained David Graham-Caso, spokesman for Bonin. Rather, this is a test to see what works, what doesn't, and how to proceed. (Will Bonin's Silcon Beach constituents be impressed his Lean Startup approach?)
The meeting's agenda includes a report on a potential funding shortfall in the Expo Phase 2 Bikeway project, a motion to rescind a policy that allows the city to penalize drivers for parking at inoperable parking meetings, and a status report on the Sepulveda Pass Corridor Improvement project.