City Council members don't like the idea of Lake Station residents recording them at public council meetings and are moving to outlaw the practice.
"My problem is a resident can take a recording, edit it and make it say anything they want," said Councilman Todd Rogers, D-3rd, who called for the ban on private video and photographic devices.
According to Rogers, someone has videotaped the council's meetings for almost two years and refused to say how the recordings are being used.
"When I ask what they're doing with the tapes, they won't answer. They just say they have a right to record," Rogers said.
City Council President Keith Soderquist said he heard the videotapes are shown at local bars where council members are laughed at for any mistakes they might make.
"I don't mind the camera. I'm a public official and if someone wants to come and record me, Well, whoop-de-do," said Soderquist, who is running for mayor on the Democratic ticket.
Soderquist said he is concerned however about private residents who appear before the council and don't want to be videotaped.
He joined the rest of the council members in requesting that City Council Attorney Michael Deppe draft an ordinance barring private videotaping.
Under the proposed prohibition, no recording devices would be permitted at a council meeting without the council's consent by vote.
"It is essential that council members and members of the public be able to speak freely and without the threat of being recorded and photographed," the draft ordinance states.
It's unclear if the ordinance runs afoul of the Indiana Open Door Law, which gives the public the right to observe and record government meetings.
Deppe could not be reached for comment. Lake Station City Attorney Ray Szarmach was not available either.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Lake Station Wants To Ban Private Recordings Of Council Meetings
The Lake Station city council is considering a proposal to ban private citizens from recording their council meetings. One council member complained that the recordings are being played at area bars to entertain patrons. After watching WNDU's recording of Roseland's last council meeting, I can understand why some people might find entertainment value in viewing a council meeting. The Gary Post-Tribune's Karen Snelling writes: