Monday, June 11, 2018

Why did the City of Lake Worth go dark last week? There is a good clue at the end of this blog post.

And it’s ironic that just as Riviera Beach began the Live Streaming of public meetings. . .

. . . this City of Lake Worth ended Live Streaming of public meetings.

In other words just as Riviera Beach went Live Streaming our City went to dark. Last week (Tuesday, June 5th) was the monthly Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Board meeting and thought about watching for a bit to see what was happening. The meeting was not Live Streaming. Instead there was this message on the City’s website:

Unfortunately due to ADA requirements for live streaming being cost prohibitive, at this time the City of Lake Worth has suspended all live streaming of City meetings and events. [emphasis added] City staff are working to determine an adequate solution to make live streaming a feasible option in future. Video and audio recordings of meetings will still be uploaded and made available following a City meeting, this change only effects the live streaming aspect. The City of Lake Worth apologizes for any inconvenience caused.

Then there is this “Accessibility Notice”:

The City of Lake Worth is committed to making our website / social media accessible and user-friendly for everyone. If you are having difficulty viewing or navigating the content on our website, or notice any content, feature or functionality that you believe is not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, please call our Public Information Officer [Mr. Ben Kerr] at 561-586-1631.

Just wondering. Does making the City’s website and social media efforts more “user-friendly for everyone” include zombies?

Kidding aside, this latest news about the Live Streaming video is a bit discouraging. True. Very few of the public watch Live events especially of something so mundane as a P&Z meeting and usually the video is available the next day anyhow. But when so many in the public are waiting for the next big leap forward in how this City of Lake Worth communicates with the public, a step backward is not encouraging.

Whilst on the topic of communicating with the public there is good news as well. For the very important City Commission meeting coming up on June 19th the City of Lake Worth published three public notices in The Lake Worth Herald! These public notices were full size as well to get the attention of the public which is very good news.

But unlike the public in Riviera Beach, you won’t be able to watch Live Streaming meetings like the one upcoming later on this month, unless the staff in this City manages to find an “adequate solution to make live streaming a feasible option”.

To the question. Why did
this City go dark?

To try answering that open-ended question
here is a recent correspondence.

You decide if it’s credible or not:

Person 1: Is lack of live streaming due to lack of closed captioning? YouTube does closed captioning that is fairly robust on saved video. Reading between the lines re notice on website.

Person 2: We use YouTube for that purpose. The issue is the Live broadcast is being questioned since we do not hire people to do that. It is expensive and there are lawyers out their targeting cities. Check out Ft. Myers.

P1: I see. Union issue?

P2: No. ADA is now being used by lawyers as a tool to sue and settle.

P1: Got it.

P2: It’s an unfortunate state of affairs when lawyers use a law with good intentions to troll for business. It’s like the last time ADA was used by the lawyers to go after handicapped parking and businesses.

If this is in fact another trolling lawyer using the ADA to target this City “with good intentions” hopefully this issue will be resolved soon enough when that lawyer or lawyers packs up and leaves town. Stay tuned as they say.