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Project News: And Readers Like You……

May 23, 2011

As I outlined in my post announcing this project, I have every goal of making this citizen driven, with both contributions by others and guidance driven by those who follow county politics and government. In keeping with that goal, we’d like your feedback on three issues related to our coverage here and what you’d like for us to cover. Right now, we have a fairly robust schedule, but again, we’d like to know what YOU want to see. Keep in mind that these polls are just advisory, but we will take your feedback here (and in the comments below) into consideration as we plan our future.

First off, what sort of coverage do you want to see on this website? Right now, our goal is to present a preview for each government meeting, live tweets during the meeting, a wrap up reporting the outcome for each meeting, and video of the proceedings of the meeting. Our reason for this is we recognize that some people want more, some people want less. For those who want just a quick update, there’s Twitter. For those who want a more comprehensive overviews, there’s the blog. For those who want to see everything in context, there’s YouTube. But what do YOU want to see?

Secondly, we’re trying to figure out what meetings to cover. Right now, we’re planning on focusing on School Board Meetings, Board of Supervisor Meetings, County Planning Commission and the Town Council Meetings for each of the three biggest towns. But there could be other meetings you’d like to see covered. Below are some options:

Next, we have a specific question regarding the Board of Supervisors. As you may or may not know, starting with incoming County Administrator Doug Walker, the county has started hosting monthly worksessions on the first Thursday of each month. This is lieu of the Board’s traditional committee system. These meetings are used only to discuss issues, with no binding votes taken, but are considered public meetings under the state’s open meetings law. However, it is not required that these meetings have complete minutes issued, only that a recording be available for public review. It’s unclear what sort of traction these meetings are gaining, as many issues are still be just discussed at the board’s regular meetings. However, they did play a clear role during budget negotiations. So, should we cover board worksessions?

So there you have it. Let us know how you want us to cover meetings and what meetings you want to cover. Use the polls but feel free to leave comments below as well. Good, bad, ugly, we want to hear it all–transparency is our game.

Also, a note. In starting up this project, I knew it would require a great deal of work. I firmly believe that many hands makes for light work. However, there’s also the issue of expense. Right now, I’m not spending much–just time–so getting others involved is the core focus. However, gas isn’t cheap, and there may very well be copying and printing costs down the line. We’d also like to do some light advertising to let others know we’re out there. We’re not begging for money…..right now, anyways. I haven’t figured out if we may become a non-profit and there’s no mechanisms in place for accepting funds. Still, I’d like for you to think about how you may be able to support this project with either your time or money. If you have any feedback, know we can always be reached at shenandoahsunshineproject@gmail.com.

Thanks, and let the sunlight in!

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