Citizen Wausau

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Why We Never Know

by on January 28th, 2011

Have you ever had a friend seek you out for advice?  A situation has come up in their life, and they need you.  You sit down, they lay out this long and quite complicated issue involving money, people’s hopes and dreams, and other things.  You listen, consider the information given and formulate an idea, a path, options and resolutions.  You give your friend the advice and your friend simply ignores you.  Literally does not acknowledge that you gave any advice at all.  Just keeps on as if nothing happened.

Then later, you bump into your friend and ask about their problem.  And your friend lays out a well-thought-out response to their problem.  They talk about its great success, and then stop talking.  You realize somewhere along the way that what they did was follow your advice.  So, you are left with two courses, internally to be happy that your friend followed your advice, or you can be like me.  Be puzzled at the fact that your friend did not acknowledge your advice, ended up following it anyway but then failed to acknowledge your worthwhile help.

I am pretty sure that my way reveals a giant flaw  in my ego based life, but still.  I wonder about this constantly.

And this brings me to an announcement I received today from the City of Wausau.  It turns out that they are going to start streaming city council meetings.  Sure, most of us will say that they are like 16 years too late, but so what?  At least they got here, that whole tortoise and the hare metaphor comes into play, I assume.

But, I think back to the Cable Access TV debacle of not so long ago.  One of the objections to the cutting of the Cable Access TV station was that people wanted to be able to see city council meetings.  Mayor Tipple did not really speak to the public about anything; he simply gave a statement at a council meeting, some work group was suggested, and it just faded into the ether.  Never heard from again, really.  This is what I like to call The Tipple Strategy.  It’s a little bit like little kids pushing vegetables around their plate, hoping it looks like they ate some.

But, now, after all this time the city sent out this announcement…

“In an effort to provide convenient access to local government, the City of Wausau is pleased to provide a link on the City’s website to view the previous City Council Meeting.  At this time, we are not able to provide a full library of video’s but will post the current video every Wednesday (or Thursday) following the meeting.  The link below can be found three ways on the City site….Under “Announcements” on the bottom of the Home page; Under the “Government Tab”, then “Video’s”; or by clicking on the “Department” tab, then “City Council”, then “Minutes & Agendas”, then “Video” as outlined below.    If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Mayor’s Office.  Thank you.

I suppose this returns to leadership as much as anything.  Would it have hurt the city to say something to the effect of, “We paid attention during the discussion about the loss of cable access, and heard the suggestion for streaming, and have worked to make that a reality.”

Did anyone in this city know that the city was working on making this happen?  Maybe Pat Peckham did, but it’s his job to go to every meeting that the city has.  The rest of us have to count on the city to communicate this information to us, and no one knew.

Do not get me wrong, I am glad the city caught up to 2004, and is putting videos on line.  Mind you they are not live, they are not streaming, they are not downloadable, but at least they did something.  Right?  I am happy that Mayor Tipple and his staff clearly cared enough about what the citizens thought to create this program, since it was a medium-sized kerfuffle, when he decided to end Cable Access.

You know how I know he cares, because I am psychic.  Because if I was not psychic I would have no way to know anything that the mayor is doing, because he does not bother communicating with anyone.  Do you think the city would benefit from telling people it is working on something, and letting them feel as if their leaders want the citizens to be part of the process?  Sure they would.  Has that happened?  No, it has not.

But, let me say, this version of transparency is a good one.  A sort of good one.  It’s a little like your nephew asks for Doc Martens for Xmas, and you buy him Skechers.  Sure, they look the same, but they are not the same.  But, at least the kid got shoes.  I suppose we can say, at least we got video.

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