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Council meetings a click away
Manteca extends access by live streaming
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They definitely won’t ever be popular on YouTube.

There’s not a lot of action as it is mostly talking heads.

Even so the “stars” of the live stream are hoping Manteca residents will “click on” so they can follow municipal business at twice monthly council meetings.

The official debut of the webcasting of Manteca City Council meetings starts Tuesday, Feb, 16, at 7 p.m.

It’ll give residents three options to see their City Council in action. They can drop by the council chambers at 1001 W. Center St., watch on Comcast Cable Channel 97, or sit down at their computer.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton noted it was part of an ongoing effort to make the public’s business more accessible to Manteca residents as well as by anyone anywhere in the world with web access. He noted only about 40 percent of the homes in Manteca access Comcast Cable TV.

A live test run actually took place last meeting. A tech set up a tie in that fed the Comcast coverage directly to the Internet in real time. It went off without a hitch.

While the images aren’t exactly compelling, the audio was crisp and easy to understand.

The webcasting of the meeting will be archived on the city’s website and broken down by subject.

You can see what last week’s meeting looked like by going to , click on “mayor and council” under departments and then click on “council meeting video”. It is here you can view the meetings live when they take place or access the archives that are also available by agenda item.

There is also a split screen that will allow residents to click on PDF files detailing agenda item backgrounds and staff reports to follow along.

The Internet access via the city’s site would also have the ability to have the agenda background files downloaded in advance.

Last year, the council shifted to Tuesdays from Mondays for their twice monthly meetings to give the council – as well as the public – more time to examine agenda items. The staff, as part of the move has been getting the agenda out by mid-day the Thursday prior to the meeting and sometimes as early as Wednesday afternoon. Prior to the shift instituted on Pinkerton’s watch, agenda packets would be distributed on Friday.

The city has also stepped up its communication of city business and activities by the institution of a week in review report with details of what municipal departments have done in the previous week. Pinkerton also has a blog that he updates almost daily. He’ll reference city activities plus provide links and information on other cities and reports involving the ongoing crisis in government funding.

It follows up on the city’s launch of on-line reporting of neighborhood concerns and complaints in 2008.