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Project News: How to use this website

May 25, 2011

I realize that the first stop to this website can be a dazzling, if not confusing, display. We already have videos, links to PDF files, and yes, lots and lots of text (if you’re new to following county politics, get used to that). So just how do you make use of this all? Isn’t the point of this website to make county government LESS confusing?

Well, why yes, yes it is. And that’s why over the next few weeks we’ll be unveiling more and more features to help you better explore your local government. One part that we’ll be rolling out slowly is the above Guide to Local Government. Here you will find a page for each part of local government. Well, yes and no. Allow me to explain: there will be pages for the Board of Supervisors, the County School Board, a combined page for the constitutional officers, and a page for each town government. On these pages you will find biographical information about office holders, election results, campaign finance records, voting records, links to public documents, and links to our own meeting previews and wrap-up. However, please, don’t hold your breath. For starters, collecting some of this information will take time. Additionally, the biggest focus is on getting coverage off the ground. As we get information from this coverage, we’ll start building these sections.

Until then, however, the easiest way to browse the site will be using the categories to the right. Again, each body will have its own category. Under each category, you can click to find more detailed coverage, organized by reverse chronological order (newest at top). Each body will have five subcategories:

  • Meeting Previews: This is where you will find comprehensive previews for upcoming meetings
  • Meeting Wrap-up: This is where you find reviews of meetings and (in most cases) video of the proceedings
  • Public Documents: Documents such as presentations before the board, contracts, and budgets
  • Public Notices: Notices that are required to be published, presented as published in a local newspaper of record or on the body’s website
  • Issue Analysis: This is where you will find more detailed posts about specific issues–note that these aren’t articles or columns in a traditional sense, but rather posts offering more specifics about the myriad and often complicated issues that face local government.

Additionally, to the right, you’ll find Project News. Our Media Monday wrap-ups will be hosted here, along with general news about the project (such as this post).

We hope this helps you make sense of this all, and again, welcome!

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