April 11th, 2009
Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,
Today’s Blog is going to be a little different because it will consist entirely of a report I filed inside Mississauga Council Chambers last Wednesday as Council went “in-camera”.
It’s essentially my incredulous and frustrated response to the chronic blight of citizens being limited to MINUTES of Council meetings. Being limited to reading the accounts of all the He-Saids, She-Saids They-Saids of municipal government meetings through manicured MINUTES.
MINUTES —someone writing stuff down, just like it was done back when papyrus was first invented!
So, crabby, I vented into my video camera my own “Why aren’t we recording all meetings on VIDEO? Or at least AUDIO?” report.
Today’s Blog will be the transcript.
Video: MISSISSAUGA CITY HALL: KEEPING VIDEO RECORDS OF CITIZENS BUT NOT OF THEMSELVES? (8:17 min)
I have to say that Council today was really remarkable in the amount of “He-Said She-Said They-Said” that was going on. And they were talking about going back to minutes of meetings.
Well, I mean, I happen to know when you compare the video of the Council and even General Committee meetings –the video that I shoot, and you compare it to what actually makes it in the minutes, we’re talking about Creative Writing here. And that’s a problem that is systemic here at the City of Mississauga.
And what they write down is essentially [a] manicured message of The Corporation and that’s pretty well anybody who’s required to write a report of some kind.
And what was particularly fascinating was reference to what happened at various in-camera meetings. Now in-camera meetings are closed, secret meetings –really, away from the public. In fact the word, “in-camera” means exactly the opposite.
They go off into a special room up there. I guess it’s on the third floor and then away from the public. We don’t know what they’re talking about in there. And there seems to be, no not “seems to be” –certainly, there was considerable debate as to what it is that they actually said in behind closed doors.
And it’s left me to wonder, surely the in-camera meetings aren’t limited to somebody taking notes [whispering into camera] because City of Mississauga is not good at taking notes. You don’t want them to take notes on you.” [whispering ends]
[Pauses to think…]
We’re in the new millennium. 2009 now. And we’re witnessing an entity –indeed, pretty well all municipalities -that they limit the minutes of their meetings to what someone chooses to write down and record.
And just from my own experience and research and two years of Freedom of Information documents –to be able to tell the difference between what they [City of Mississauga] say publicly and what The Reality shows, you know, they do privately…
‘scuse me, telephone.
[cell phone call interrupts. Fade to black. Fade in]
Where was I? Right. We’re in a new millennium where the kind of camera that I’m using right now to record this has seven hours of recording time. [reaches for digital recorder] We have digital audio recorders that can record for days!
And yet we’re limiting things to minutes of meetings –in other words, Pen and Quill Technology, and the public is limited to what someone chooses to record.
And in my own experience, and this is researching and securing documents through Freedom of Information, it’s often what they don’t record that screws you over royally.
And I’m just wondering when the debate between, “well this was said and that was said and this was left out and no, no, no you don’t have all the facts” -what I don’t understand is why they can’t have [points] on that computer screen, because I can do it at home -go to my hard drive, I can go right now and find out what the March 11th meeting said about Enersource or about some corporate policy or what by-law was passed or what wasn’t –and I can’t understand -why we’re limited to someone’s view of what happened!
That’s why I’m recording this! Because I know the inventive Creative Writing that goes on here. Because the selective “memory” [gestures] within these walls is obscene!
[whispers] It’s obscene!
And I uh, just two weeks ago, I secured Freedom of Information on Report Writing for Mississauga Corporate Security and it was a pdf file [Ed: incorrect, I meant “Power Point” files] and there were three documents. And while it didn’t say directly that you should keep stuff out, it did warn the guards that anybody could secure or ask for their records –and by the way, I do.
And they also mention “Freedom of Information” as being one.
So they don’t want to write down something that doesn’t advance the interests of The Corporation.
And you know, you’ve got Parrish and Adams saying one thing. You’ve got Mahoney saying something else and you know [reaches for digital audio recorder] let’s hear it in here! Or better yet, on video.
And I really think, one of the things is, forty or fifty years from now –because I think our democracy is being eroded something horrible, just.
We’re allowing our governments to use technology unfettered and that includes [points to Council Pelco PTZ “Pelco One”] these frikkin’ video surveillance cameras without any oversight!
And they’re using this sophisticated technology and yet citizens forty/fifty years from now, when they’re going to want to know how Mississauga came about. How it responded to the Smart Growth. How it got the transit system it developed. That’s happening right here, right now! This is The History.
And we’re allowing –citizens are allowing the history of this city to be [points to Council] to be written by them! And, and, it isn’t just that, it’s all Ontarians are allowing that to happen. Whether it’s in Vaughan, in Whitby, in Ajax, in Brampton, in Oakville. All citizens in Ontario –and I’m going to use the word “victimized” -are being victimized by minutes of meetings as opposed to it being recorded and the actual video record of every Council meeting, of every General (Committee) meeting, of every Audit Committee meeting should be part of the record!
And I know why it isn’t. I know why it isn’t. Because a video record cuts through the “He-Said, She-Said”. Cuts through the selective reporting -or even the lies. Because.. [long pause]
I, uh –the thing that happened today with Councillor Parrish and her frustra-I can understand the frustration! I can understand what it’s like to be stonewalled, to have delays, to be treated with disrespect –and by the way, being bullied, intimidated, threatened and [very long pause] I can understand her frustration.
[even longer pause]
They’re coming back (from in-camera). So let me record it this way.
Let’s add “no video records of things” and “selective minutes, selective reporting” as another Root of Youth Violence.
The Mississauga Muse