Sunshine or Sunset on Kauai

SUBHEAD: Kaua'i County Council online Minutes are now searchable and cut-and-pasteable, but not current.
By Brad Parsons on 9 July 2009 in Aoloa Analytics A second insightful letter to the editor, by a librarian, on July 7th commented on the initial Minutes up on the Kaua'i County Council website were image files only, not OCR, not cut-and-pasteable, and not searchable. The next day, July 8th, I was in a Council Member's office and we noticed that that had been changed on July 8th and the Council Minutes on the public website are now OCR, searchable, and can be cut-and-pasted. I noticed later, though, that the minutes online to the public are only through June 3rd, not anything from the two meetings nor committee meetings since then even though the Minutes have been created at a minimum from the mid-June Council Meeting already.
image above: Sunset over Hanapepe Heights from the valley. Photo by Juan Wilson Additionally, the public still expects action on all three goals listed at including allowing all Councilmembers to place items on the Council agenda and circulating Council Service documents equitably to all Councilmembers in a timely manner, something that can be seen is not being done just by the date stamps on the few Minutes posted at Below was the second excellent letter to the editor in addition to Ed Coll's on this matter: Public Deserves Real Accessibility By David Thorpe on 7 July 2009 in the Garden Island News
I am a librarian. I know how crucial making important information readily accessible to citizens is to sustaining democracy. I would like to expand on Ed Coll’s July 4 letter in The Garden Island. He makes it clear that reporter Michael Levine’s contention in his July 3 article “Council minutes posted online” that “it appears one major gripe has been rectified” is incorrect. Mr. Coll is absolutely right that in making key public documents available on the county’s Web site, mere accessibility is not enough. These online documents need to be useful, easy to use, and searchable. Council staff’s scanning printed minutes to create image files, and then converting these to Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format does little to really enhance their accessibility to the public. As Mr. Coll says: you can’t copy and paste parts of the document to use in writing testimony; you can’t search it. You also cannot search for the documents by keyword on the county’s Web site like you can for those from other county commissions, boards, and departments. The council needs to follow the example of other county agencies and put documents online the modern way — converting digital text files to .pdf files. This process takes seconds and the online documents created are so much more useful to the public, and can get put online faster. The public deserves real accessibility to council public documents. The actions described in the article will not achieve this goal. A few meeting minutes, recap memos and agenda outlines do not constitute real accessibility. To really give the public the information it requires to effectively participate in public decision making, a lot more types of documents need to be posted online: full agenda packets and accompanying documents; the public testimony and correspondence, full text of resolutions, bills and committee reports, relating to each agenda item; and full text departmental staff reports on topics before the council or Planning Commission (plus documents like permit applications and draft EISs and EAs). The county’s IT specialist, Eric Knutzen, has said that the administration is about to start posting and even doing live video streaming of the meetings of the planning and police commissions. These files would be enhanced to allow searching by topic when the saved videos are posted online. The technology is here now, or will soon be, to have streaming video of live council meetings — and why not have the meetings shown live on Ho‘ike. That’s real open and transparent government. Other counties in Hawai‘i are offering their citizens online access to all or most of the documents and files I have listed above. Kaua‘i County departments, boards and commissions have been posting a host of documents online for awhile now. Why not the Council? Is it that the council chair and council clerk fear that ready public access to council documents online will lessen their power? That’s not a valid reason. It’s also a violation of the state’s Uniform Information Practices Act. These documents belong to the public. They will be used to make decisions that will impact our lives and the lives of future generations. We have a right to have ready access to these documents, so we can effectively participate in decision making that affects all of us.
see also Island Breath Golden Oldies on Council Scerecy:

1 comment :

Anonymous said...


Very good input here. Give the citizenery a chance to comment and assist in the direction of policies which directly affect us by making the minutes from Council meetings more workable. Donna D'Alessio

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