Council Public Comments Aren't Televised, So Winston Streams From The Dais

Dec 12, 2017

The Charlotte City Council next month will consider whether to resume televising its pre-meeting citizen comment sessions - a practice halted after meetings were disrupted last spring. Newly elected at-large member Braxton Winston favors the change. At Monday's meeting, he took matters into his own hands by streaming the forum live from the dais. 

Charlotte residents traditionally have had 30 minutes before meetings twice a month to address the council on whatever topics they choose. The sessions were televised and streamed on the Government Channel -- until last spring. The council moved the forum to a smaller room -- and off video - after a couple of meetings erupted in chaos amid protests over police shootings and immigration.

The forums returned to the council chamber in October, but they're still not televised. So on Monday afternoon, new council member Braxton Winston promised to do something about that.

"As of right now, the public forum will not be broadcast, but we will surely try to live stream that. It's a little different from the dais, but we're going to work it out," he said in a Facebook video.

And so he did. The video and audio weren't broadcast quality, but Winston made his point.

Winston brought up the TV issue at the council's dinner meeting beforehand and said he planned to seek a council vote.  Newly-elected Mayor Vi Lyles stepped in and said she would put it on a future agenda.

A city spokesman says the council is tentatively scheduled to consider the change at its January 8th meeting.

Also at Monday's meeting, the council approved a $1 million upgrade to the traffic light system uptown. The work will add traffic cameras, connect signals by optical fiber, and allow the city to remotely adjust signals during big events.  The council also accepted a $1.7 million state grant to nearly double the number of B-cycle bike-sharing stations around the city.