transparency | live streaming government meetings | it’s time!

streaming council meetingsIt’s time – “For the sake of transparency, former mayoral candidate Tony Dastra livestreams City Council, school board meetings” Lancaster Online

Definitely, this is an idea that’s right. Lancaster County’s been slow in adopting live streaming of government meetings. Across the nation and the globe, live streaming has been part of some government meetings and websites.

Here’s a comment following the above Lancaster Online article:The Mayor, every member of City Council, the Superintendent and every member of the School Board should be EMBARASSED (sic) that this responsibility falls on this kid (no offense intended) to livestream meetings to inform the public at large and provide accessibility to those who can’t get to these meetings. This is totally unacceptable and the same goes for the Lancaster County Commissioners too – I don’t think Tony is there and he should not have to be. What is wrong with you people? What are you hiding from? I don’t have the time to start it and it should not be necessary, but I would gladly donate to a GoFundMe to support Tony’s efforts…he should not bear the entire cost of keeping us informed when our elected ‘leaders’ FAIL to do what should be simple in 2018. Thank you Tony! Stay in their faces, I know they want you to go away but keep fighting for ALL of us!”

LIPNews, too, acknowledges the importance of transparency and the ultra-importance of local news resources: It is only because of Dastra that we know that city resident Billy Weisser has now twice addressed city council knowledgably about MAW Communications and LanCity Connect and his excellent questions have never been answered and LNP has completely ignored the fact that he spoke and the questions he raised.

Companies like Town Hall Streams have sprung up “to fit a need in the market place, a simple, low cost and effective solution for towns to stream live and archive meetings.”

The above graphic is from the Kingston, Australia Website. It live streams meetings.

Lancaster, California web steams its meetings.

There was a time that a local news resource was chronicling Marietta’s government meetings. That resource, Marietta Speaks, dabbled with video recording, too in this post:

The most recent post at Marietta Speaks is from June, 2016 … the site is no longer updated, it appears. A blog site, operating under google’s Blogger template, the owner of the site is not shown.

see-trrough city

We’ve met and spoken with Tony Dastra several times to get a handle on the technology needs for livestreaming meetings onto facebook. Here’s Dastra’s transparency site, his facebook streaming spot, SEE-THRU CITY, LANCASTER, PA.

So a few years ago, we purchased a quality JVC video camera with the intent of livestreaming Columbia Borough’s municipal and school board meetings. Time constraints and uncertainty about “how to” integrate into a facebook site have hindered our intentions.

Livestreaming government meetings remains a back-burner goal for Columbia news, views & reviews … an important goal because the machinations of governance are important and ought to be open to people who just cannot attend the meetings.

Several years ago, a local news resource, ColumbiaPA Online, did video record some council meetings.

We’re still working on the mechanics of the project. If you know someone who is tech-savvy and wants to volunteer to help out with this project, send an email to


  1. This would be great but I would prefer it didn’t happen on Facebook. Have you looked into something like Go to Meeting. Im no techie but I can offer my time to the project if that’s helpful.

    On a larger scale, I would like to see the law changed to make governments post legal notices to their website instead of some foreign (Lancaster) newspaper that I have no other need or desire for.

  2. The challenge with Go to Meeting is that it costs money; it’s not a free platform.

    Yes, we, too, are totally in favor of having government entities broadcast their meetings. Here’s what the Minneapolis Public Schools do:

    There are lots of ways that government entities can demonstrate transparency – many are affordable.

    The model that Tony Dastra uses in Lancaster ( ) uses facebook – currently it’s free.

    We’ve looked into ways to have video (either recording or streaming) but on the platform we use for Columbia news, views & reviews, it’s just not on the menu. Have looked into a FTP site, but that’s expensive too.

    Zoom says it has a free plan, but it limits meeting recording to 40 minutes. That’d be a problem. Other plans, too, cost.

    Again, it’s a “time & money & tech savvy” combination of temporary obstacles.

    Certainly I appreciate your offer to collaborate; want to send me an email to discuss?

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