Former Pleasant Prairie village board member Alex Tiahnybok banged the drum again this week for village board meetings to be televised, a position I don't necessarily oppose.
Besides making comments at the Monday night's village board meeting, Tiahnybok repeated his call today over at his blog.
There are, however, several problems with Tiahnybok's rant.
First, there's the cost factor. It costs money to acquire equipment, personnel and cabling to enable this. That money isn't in the village budget. Tiahnybok seems to bring up this idea a day late and a dollar short -- after the budget process has been finalized -- and as a trustee he never introduced any formal legislation to televise the meetings.
The legislative process requires much more than saying, "I think we should ... " but rather includes research, getting cost figures and preparing and introducing the proper legislation.
To do this outside the budget process -- and mind you, Tiahnybok has never done his homework and come up with a specific plan, either when he was on the board or now -- would require that the village take money from the contingency fund.
With one of the worst winters in recent memory and increased costs for snow removal and ice control, I think most people would agree that the contingency reserves are better utilized for public health and safety such as keeping the streets safe. That's a "no brainer."
I commend Tiahnybok for his citizen journalist efforts in placing video recordings of village board proceedings on You Tube but the reality is that these delayed broadcasts don't have the same value as a live broadcast. Plus, there doesn't appear to be a strong interest in the delayed broadcasts.
If Tiahnybok is really serious about this, he'll do his homework and come up with a sound, workable proposal including cost estimates. He should then work with the village board to see that this gets considered in the next budget cycle. But just floating the trial balloon without any substance doesn't cut it.
In fairness, it's been my position that an intermediate solution that could be done quickly and with little cost would be a live webcast of the audio portion of the meeting. But if given the choice between having the streets clean this winter and telecasting village board meetings, I'll support clean streets.
Editor's note: I fully anticipate comments supporting and bashing Alex Tiahnybok and will moderate them heavily. This is because those comments are likely to generate more heat than light. We've talked about this subject before and the record here speaks for itself.