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Cook County Board meetings to be live-streamed starting Tuesday

Monday, April 16, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by Bridget Doyle

Cook County commissioners have been known to yell and even curse at each other over the years, and the public now will get a chance to watch online as meetings unfold.

The proceedings have been a bit calmer under Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who announced the live-streaming Monday. Meeting video from the County Board, Forest Preserve District Board and county committee meetings will be streamed and also permanently archived online. The first one is Tuesday at cookcountygov.com.

“Hopefully, commissioners behave,” County ClerkDavid Orr said in jest. “But if not, they’ll be very visible.”

The push for online streaming came from the League of Women Voters of Cook County, Preckwinkle said.

“New technology will allow the secretary to post meeting video within 24 hours,” she said. “Previously, this might take weeks.”

The initial cost to install cameras and other equipment was $243,000, including the tab for the rest of the year’s webcasting. The county estimates that broadcasting meetings will cost about $40,000 a year, compared to $100,000 spent in prior years on a camera rental contract.

League of Women Voters President Cynthia Schilsky said it's a step forward for the county and should help citizens to be more informed by taking advantage of better access to meetings.

“My mother’s 91 years old and she watches the Naperville City Council meetings live,” Schilsky said. “There’s opportunity for people to become involved and interested.”

Later this year, the county plans to broadcast meetings live on the Cook County Government Channel (Comcast Channel 900).


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