City Council Meetings Observations Essay

City Council Meetings Observations Essay

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The Dahlonega City Hall was crowded on the evening of March 1st 2010. The seats were full, except for at the very front, and the standing room was filled almost out the door. The crowd, mostly made up of students, leaned in to hear as the voices of the City Council members faded in and out of the faltering sound system. The six City Council members and the mayor sat along a bench as if they were the judges at a hearing. Because of the ongoing discussions and the crowd, I thought I had arrived a few minutes late; but I was able to find a seat in the front two rows. Despite how packed the small room was there were plenty of empty seats in the front. I had thought the meeting was well on its way by the way conversation was going and apparently I was not the only one who shared this feeling. After a solid forty-five minutes of talking about parking laws and if there was a parking problem in the city, the mayor stood up and thanked everyone for coming. Most people took this as a sign that the meeting was over and started to pack up and leave. However this was just the meetings call to order. Following a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance the City Council meeting began.
The order of the meeting followed the standard set of procedures for a public meeting. First the person would stand and present say what they were looking for, mostly variances, and presented their case for it. Then, people in the audience were able to stand and ask questions if they had any. The audience was then allowed to voice their opinions about the proposition. The board would then ask the proper commission head to share more about the proposition. A short time followed where the council members reviewed the facts and shared their opinions about the subject....

... middle of paper ...

...evision. I feel there are several simple things could be done that would make the meeting more accessible to not only first time attendees but also citizens in general. First of all by giving a very brief introduction to who the Council members are and why they are on the Council, as well as the who the people on the side bars are and what their purpose for being there. Just a brief background, five minutes at the tops, would give a background enough for newcomers to have a basic understanding of what is going on. Another thing that could be done to make it more accessible would be to explain the purpose of the meeting or to give out an agenda at the beginning. By attending this public meeting, I was able to see that the grandeur that is portrayed on television is very fake, but the importance is vastly downplayed.

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