Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Zoom's return allows public engagement

| March 23, 2023 1:00 AM

In a recent letter to the Daily Bee, Mike Leita, (who I believe is a sitting Bonner County Planning commissioner) furnished us with his background as a county commissioner in Yakima, Wash. He followed this by providing us with a tutorial on how citizens should and should not behave when addressing county commissioners. 

His last paragraph detailed his reasons for not supporting Zoom as a means for the public to engage their elected officials. These included his claim that Zoom is "not public," has "significant" technical difficulties, and participants choosing not to listen or engage with others. He then opined that citizens "must" give public comment before the BOCC, not behind the "private curtain" of Zoom.

A quick check of the Yakima County commissioners' official web page shows the following statement; "Yakima County welcomes you to join our open public meeting in-person or virtually." The page then provides the link to Zoom and telephone numbers to dial in by location. 

So, if Yakima County, Wash., which is 2.24 times larger than Bonner County and five times greater in population (his words) allows and encourages citizen participation via Zoom, why does he object to the citizens of Bonner County having the same privilege?