It’s not as if one has to battle dragons or crawl through hell to get to a Las Vegas City Council meeting. Yet, driving across town seems an equivalent nightmare for those wanting to bemoan (or endorse) new sewer lines, alcohol licenses or zoning issues. Schedules are hectic, people are lazy and chambers can be a bit empty during meetings. Surprisingly, the city actually cares.
That’s what we’ve gathered, anyway, from its new program, one that allows citizens to participate in City Council and Planning Commission meetings by commenting online about agenda items. Now, civic-minded locals need not be physically present to voice their opinions and grievances.
From grocery stores, office lunchrooms, public restrooms or anywhere else where there’s a Wi-Fi signal, they can chime in by clicking on an agenda item and posting a comment. (And if contemporary society has learned one thing from the Internet, it’s that people love to chime in.) The comments, accessed through the “Meetings & Agendas” tab on lasvegasnevada.gov, can be seen by council members but will not be visible to the general public until they become part of the official public record.
But before anyone starts rubbing their palms and licking their lips, a city spokesman points out that a certain level of decorum and civility is required. Virulent Internet trolls will be as quickly ejected from the digital conversation as an unruly member of the public shouting in council chambers.