Broadcasting continues: Council overturns decision to discontinue meeting broadcasts

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Eureka Springs citizens can tune in to

city meetings once again.

On Monday night, the Eureka Springs

City Council voted to overturn its Jan. 8

decision to discontinue broadcasting all

city meetings on Channel 21 and sharing

council meetings on Youtube. Mayor

Butch Berry placed a reconsideration of

that vote on the agenda at the beginning

of Monday’s meeting, saying he heard

received comments from citizens asking

for that to happen.

Some of these citizens spoke at the

meeting during public comments, starting

with LauraJo Smole. Smole said she

was upset when she heard the council

voted to stop broadcasting the meetings.

“The first thought that came to my

head was, ‘What were they thinking?’ ”

Smole said. “Then I found out there was

no finding out what you were thinking,

because a motion was made and it was

voted upon. There was no discussion.”

She added, “I find it very interesting

that without discussion it was a unanimous

vote. It’s somewhat disturbing

to know the council is willing to make

major decisions without any discussion

about them.”

Harold Meyer agreed, saying he objects

to the discontinuation of broadcasting.

“Even a member who requires a special

hearing device to be able to hear the

meeting voted for stopping captioning,”

Meyer said. “I question the motives behind

this. I don’t believe it was because

of the cost.”

It seems the council members were retaliating

against citizens who have been

pushing for ADA compliance, Meyer

said. Cameron DeNoewer said a group

of citizens had been talking about raising

money to pay for closed captioning on

the meeting recording.

“Instead, you make a hasty decision

without stopping, asking questions, embracing

your community, embracing

your resources, asking for help to solve

this problem to make everybody happy,”

DeNoewer said. “Now, we have a bunch

of angry people based on hasty decisions.

Once again, the people at this table are

not doing due diligence looking at their

local resources and asking for help.”

He continued, “You never stopped to

think, ‘How can the citizens help us?’ If

it’s important to the citizens, we can help

you. We want to help you. If any of y’all

lose your hearing, you’re going to wish

you had closed captioning.”

Alderwoman Kristi Kendrick said she

was proud of the council for moving

city meetings to The Auditorium, where

council members have to face their constituents.

The greatest point of discord

for the council, Kendrick said, was meeting

in the courthouse jury room where

citizens couldn’t attend. Another factor,

she said, is the broadcasting of council

meetings.

“Certain council members relish playing

to the camera and certain members of

the community love watching the reality

show certain council members love starring

in,” Kendrick said. “Now, the council

is no longer meeting in the jury room

and citizens can attend council meetings.

As long as council is broadcasting meetings,

citizens will have no incentive to

attend and the televised slugfest will

continue.”

Kendrick moved to stop recording

all city meetings, with the only record

being kept through the minutes. When

no one seconded her motion, it died.

Alderwoman Melissa Greene moved to

resume broadcasting all meetings, and

alderwoman Mickey Schneider said she

agreed with that. She left early when

the council voted to stop broadcasting,

Schneider said, and she wouldn’t have

voted in favor of it.

“What you’re doing by cutting off all

broadcasting, and I do understand it’s all

or nothing … what you’re doing is you

are alienating and cutting off an awful

lot of this town,” Schneider said. “I have

friends who are working in a shop on

Monday nights. The only way they can

stay up with what’s going on is to watch

it on a little teeny TV they bring to the

shop.”

Greene said she looked at the city’s

Youtube channel and saw a surprising

number of views on the council meeting

videos.

“It’s about three quarters of our population.

That told me people are actually

watching those,” Greene said.

The council voted, with everyone

agreeing to resume broadcasting except

for Kendrick.

“We will begin rebroadcasting,” Berry

said.

Also at the meeting, the council

heard from Berry about the lease for Dr.

Beard’s office on Norris Street. Berry

said Beard has a month-by-month lease

until the city attorney can draw up something

else. That location is one of the

places considered for the new city meeting

room, alderman David Mitchell said,

and he moved to renovate the building

so the city could hold meeting there. The

council voted, with Kendrick, Mitchell,

Terry McClung and Greene voting for it

and Bob Thomas and Schneider voting

against it.

The council gave the hospital commission

the OK to spend $141,000 on a

piece of property adjoining the hospital

for the upcoming renovations and deferred

an ordinance adding planning recommendations

to the code.

The council’s next regular meeting is

scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, at

The Auditorium.

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