Texting During Council Meetings (and in the Library)

Anyone who’s watched an open meeting of City Council will have seen council members fiddle with their iPhones and Blackberries to check their latest emails or text messages. Councilmember Sam Liccardo now argues that those messages should be disclosed to the public as part of the city’s policy on open governance.

“Council meetings are open to the public for a reason,” Liccardo says, “and if we’re voting on a matter and outside groups are using private means to communicate with us about how we should or shouldn’t vote, the public ought to know what’s being said and who’s saying it.”

The issue, which is not currently covered by city ordinances, could come up for debate as early as today’s City Council meeting. Perhaps that would be a good time to text your representatives and let them know whether or not you support the proposal.
Read More at KLIV.

Speaking of texting: It happens all the time. You’re stuck in a bar debating (1) who won the Second Battle of Vicksburg, (2) what were the names of the Seven Dwarfs, or (3) whether it really can rain cats and dogs. San Jose residents now have a simple way to find the answer, and it’s free of charge.

No, not Wikipedia.

All they have to do is text 66746, followed by AskSJ, and a professional librarian from the city’s public libraries or San Jose State University will text them back the answer. Questions can be texted 24/7, though unlike Wikipedia, libraries have set hours, so you’ll only get your answer between 1 and 6 pm. And there are some questions that even the best librarian can’t answer, such as: Where can I find a place to park, so that I can pop into the library and look up the answer myself?
Read More at KCBS.

1: General Robert E. Lee.
2: Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy.
3: Not cats and dogs, but it can rain frogs and fish.


  1. Chuck lost his IPHONE and it has been recoverd at PEANUTS

    Found on Reed’s ITUNES account

    “I’M Too Sexy”

    “Fight the Power”

    SALT AND PEPPA’s greatest hits


    Nancy and Pat can meet me for drinks, but in a public place, I do not perform those things.

    Armando and that stuff with the mayo has to stop.

    Meeting Pete at the movies, Victor takes the DVDS too often, the ones in the wrappers

    Think cheerful, they will refill the blue ones

  2. Why don’t they just turn off their phones during a public meeting, or is that too easy a solution? What a non issue.

  3. It is an issue when Councilmembers are receiving their instructions from the invisible puppetmasters. You don’t want to know who is pulling the strings? I, and many others, do want to know. We should not have a secret government running SJ.

  4. Steve said,“Why don’t they just turn off their phones during a public meeting, or is that too easy a solution?”

    You mean be professional and respectful enough to listen to public comment, and the issue at hand without being rude, and playing with their phone or computer? Nahh. Never happen. They’re in office now; we can go jump in the lake.

    I hope you voters out there remember all this next year when you re-elect the SAME people into office

  5. Kathleen, you just sent every Councilmember running to find their dusty copy of Websters 9th edition. Your choice of the words Professional and Respectful are two that they don`t understand.

  6. All public business and all contact by and to elected officials should be made public, irrespective of the sending or receiving source.

    The fact that this must be in an ordinance or they won’t do it speaks volumes about our politicians.

  7. Several speakers at last night’s Santa Clara City Council meeting objected to their pictures being taken claiming they had a right to speak at meetings in privacy.  Huh??

    One of them, Stephen Hazel, who carries a sign with him proclaiming himself to be God, said taking his picture was blasphemy,

  8. Just goes to show, you can’t legislate ethical behavior. Attempting to proscribe unethical behavior just legitimizes everything not identified.

    How do we get voters to elect representatives with solid moral and ethical cores?

  9. When Pat Waite talks people listen. 

    Waite hit the nail right on the head about the principles of good government.  Bravo!!

    For example, there are people who use “ethical” principles to discriminate or violate people’s right to privacy.  Case in point, Jamie Matthews attempted to use a committee interview process to make people disclose their views on the stadium.  However, one of the leaders of the anti stadium movement who referred to our mayor as a “mule” received McLeod’s vote over a leader in the veterans memorial movement, and the head of one of our founding families.  My point is that you either treat everyone the same, or you simply, as McLeod should have, do not ask, or tell.

  10. Mr. Rowen #8,
    What does some delusional citizen at a Santa Clara city council meeting have to do with text messages San Jose city council members receive during council meetings? Also, what is the point in actually naming this delusional person who obviously has emotional problems? If he bothers you then perhaps you can just ignore him rather than make him the topic of your rather bizarre post.