Open meetings do not require television
Right now, a controversy has risen apparently over whether or not council committee meetings should be televised. There are arguments on both sides.
Of course, the public is entitled to know what goes on at council committee meetings as well as regular council meetings. That is embodied in the right to know laws. But putting it on cable is not required.
Meetings must be open to the public and anyone is entitled to attend. They also must be advertised in advance.
In many ways, televising committee meetings would be beneficial to the public. Those who could not go in person could click it on when desired. But television cameras recording every grimace, frown, disenchantment, enthusiasm and other form of expression by councilmen and audience members on the tube may intimidate some. In fact, they may hold back on expressing their true feelings when they are trying to put proposed legislation in its final form.
Without the cameras there, they may feel freer to bring out shortcomings of issues that have a lot of public approval. And those shortcoming should be known by all of the councilmen who have to vote on them. There is a better argument for televising regular council meetings after proposed ordinances and other actions are hashed out and closer to adoption.
Whatever the councilmen choose to do is certainly within their rights to decide. So long as their meetings are open to the public to attend, they are doing the right thing.
Carnival has returned to normal after a slowdown during the early years of recovery from Hurricane Katrina. The Krewes of Lul and Allemands put on good shows and brought a lot of spirited fun to the streets of St. Charles. And New Orleans overcame its problems which linger to stage one of the best group of parades in history.
People from every state in the union and around the world come to South Louisiana at this time of year when we look upon everything in a fun-loving atmosphere, put on a mask and take on a new identity. It adds a dimension to our existence that is most enjoyable.
Even more traditional than Carnival is the season of Lent which is now upon us. During it we are to remind ourselves as we put away our masks that we are humble human beings. We must obey the laws our our faiths and governments.
We should deny ourselves some of the pleasures we treasure to let ourselves know that human beings can make choices. We should expand on the commandments we follow during this season which will help us make adjustments in our ways of life when necessary.
Prayer may not be in everyone’s vocabulary but it certainly helps to signify that we believe we are not the supreme force in this universe. It has brought out the best in people and certainly should be used whenever a specific or general need arises.
We need periods of joyous celebration and serious meditation. It is necessary to our frame of mind and spiritual life. The seasons of Carnival and Lent bring them to us. We are fortunate that our heritage in South Louisiana welcomes them both.
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