While national and Idaho government have large media outlets shining light on their doings, most local governments have the need for better communication with residents. The city of Twin Falls is no exception. City government is remarkably transparent with archives of agendas, minutes, and videos of their recorded meetings on a fine website. Reporters don't cover every meeting and when they do, only part of the meeting. Even so, the need for better communication was recently expressed during a strategic planning meeting. Civic participation requires basic knowledge of your local government, but there is one more thing the city can do to improve communication.

Participation in your local government is a hallmark of democracy, which we have inherited from our ancestors. To paraphrase Cicero, it is up to every succeeding generation to apply a fresh coat of paint to the edifice of our civic institutions. In order to do that and be informed of the issues, all we must do is go online, and we can learn exactly what our government is doing. However, many residents excuse themselves from this basic duty of civic awareness. One action the city could take to wash their hands of our ignorance would be to put out meeting notes the day after each meeting. The CSI Board of Trustees does this right now. The meeting notes are not official minutes, but simply give you the gist of the meeting. They are shorter and more timely than minutes. Residents may still have to sign up to receive an email or RSS feed. The city could probably put them on social media like Facebook or Twitter.

Even though it is incumbent on us to be aware of local government, there is still one more effort they can make to communicate with the people.

John Kapeleris

Twin Falls

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