Planning Commission Meeting Videos here!
After many months of public requests by SPON for the Newport Beach Planning Commission meetings to be video recorded and televised (as they are in most other cities), on February 23, 2016, the City Council voted 2 (Dixon, Petros) in favor to 4 (Selich, Muldoon, Duffield, Peotter) against televising.
In response, from March 3, 2016, though January 19, 2017, SPON, at its own expense, recorded and posted Planning Commission meeting videos for the public to view online. Watch them on SPON’s YouTube Channel here or in the SPON Video Library.
The City finally relented by placing Item 12 on the Council’s January 24, 2017, consent calendar, directing staff to begin “filming” and making available the Planning Commission meetings and adopting Resolution No. 2017-10, amending then City Council Policy A-13 to remind the Commissioners to behave with decorum while being filmed. The item was unanimously approved, without comment.
Starting February 9, 2017, the City finally took over responsibility for video recording and posting the meetings. Those can be found in the City Planning Commission video archive. The meetings are still not broadcast or streamed live, but in addition to being archived, the recordings are later shown on the City’s cable station, Newport Beach TV.
The following archives SPON’s effort to accomplish that —
Overview: In response to numerous earlier requests from SPON, Mayor Dixon asked that the question of televising Planning Commission meetings be put on the February 23, 2016, Council agenda.
More than 70 community members either emailed the Council or showed up in person to support the idea of televising, live streaming and archiving videos of the meetings. No one wrote or spoke in opposition.
Council Action: Despite the clear and unanimous public sentiment, Council voted not to televise the meetings [Dixon and Petros voted in favor of televising; Selich, Muldoon, Duffield and Peotter voted to oppose televising; Curry was absent]. The Council members’ arguments for and against are well worth listening to. Click here to view the Video; click on Agenda Item #16 to skip directly to this matter at 59:16 minutes.
The vote against televising the meetings is worrisome on several levels:
- The equipment and largely automated technology is already in place for City Council meetings and needs only to be turned on during the Commission meetings and manned.
- Staff indicated there was ample budget to cover the $3,600/year extra expense ($50 per hour). Most meetings are under two hours so the actual cost will likely be closer to $2,500/year.
- Council arguments against televising meetings focused on these concerns:
- that the public would stop coming to meetings
- that commissioners might be inclined to grandstand more if televised
- that access to videos would aid litigants against the city
- and, ironically, that commissioners (and Council members) wouldn’t have the benefit of public comments delivered in person before voting
- The Planning Commission itself expressed displeasure both with the Council’s decision and with the fact that no one asked their views on the matter. However an expected noticed public discussion of the matter by the Commission has not yet materialized.
SPON’s Next Step: We are not giving up on this request. While we work to gather more support in the community and on the Council, SPON, at its own expense, has retained a videographer who will videotape Planning Commission Meetings beginning March 3. Videos will be posted to our website and/or You Tube for public viewing. Be sure to watch for our progress on this action on our website.
YOUR Next Steps:
- Check SPON’s YouTube Channel to view videos which we post after each Planning Commission Meeting
- Write to City Council members to let them know how important these videos are for government transparency
- Write letters to the editors of our local newspapers. Be sure to include your name, city of residence and phone number (not for publication but allows editors to check with you if they have questions).
- Newport Beach Independent (Feb 26, 2016)