To the editor:

The time has come to move Bloomington City Council study meetings to the council chamber where the public can find it and it can be televised.

I was heartened at a recent council candidate meeting sponsored by the Bloomington Chamber when all eight candidates agreed that they favor such a move.

Mayor-elect Tim Busse was the first to respond. He said he favored moving the study meeting to the council chamber, but not necessarily to televise it.

The other candidates, including newly-elected council members Jenna Carter, Dwayne Lowman and Shawn Nelson, agreed by not objecting, prompting the moderator to say, “You all agree.”

This is a victory for more transparency the public is demanding.

For example, had a study meeting been conducted in the council chamber and televised last summer, people on the east side would have learned then that the council had reached its choice to have the aquatic area in Valley View Park studied as a site for a new community center.

To be clear, the study meeting is perfectly legal. It is recorded, and any resident can request to hear the recording. Minutes are written but not published in the city’s official newspaper.

Council members can gather information and discuss a proposal, but cannot vote. The public cannot address the council during the meeting where the council has its back to those attending.

The second-floor Haeg conference room is technically equipped for the staff to present its information and recommendations. It is also where the members discuss their differences as they reach their consensus. I attended several of these meetings when I tried to get the council to partner with the YMCA on building a new community center.

I applaud the council candidates who on that one fall morning, set in motion the concept of moving the study meeting to the council chamber where more residents can become aware of it, attend it and view it on television.

Now it is time for the council to act on those intentions.

Don Heinzman


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