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Politics

Computer lets anyone watch council

By ANNE LINDBERG
Published July 18, 2007


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Mayor Jimmy Johnson has never been able to sit in the comfort of his home and watch a replay of himself chairing a City Council meeting.

That's because Johnson, like many other city residents, lives east of Lake Seminole. Seminole's cable channel does not extend there. Those folks are instead treated to Pinellas Park's council meetings.

But all that has changed. Seminole residents who live east of the lake, or anyone else for that matter who has a computer, can watch council meetings and workshops any time they want - from anywhere they want - whether they're in Europe, Africa or Timbuktu.

Beginning earlier this month, Seminole began "voicestreaming" its council meetings and workshops. To watch and listen, go to www.myseminole.com, look on the left side of the screen and click on the words "watch council meeting."

The stream can be watched any time until the next meeting, when it will change.

The goal, said City Manager Frank Edmunds, is to give residents as many chances to find out what's happening in their city government as possible. That means there's more than just voicestreamed meetings on the Web site. Council agendas, links to other governments in the area and a city calendar are just a few items that can be found on the site.

The voicestreaming also enables the city to get around the limits of cable television, which does not broadcast Seminole's television channel east of the lake.

Seminole is not the first Pinellas government to use the tool. The County Commission voicestreams its meetings. Viewers who click in after the meetings are over have the option of watching the entire meeting or clicking on the agenda item they're interested in and watching only that part of the meeting.

Seminole's voicestream does not have that capability yet, but Edmunds said it's a goal.

[Last modified July 17, 2007, 20:50:53]


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