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October 29, 2007

NorthamptonistTV Presents: Mayor Higgins On The Community Radio Hour


Yesterday evening, Valley Free Radio's Community Radio Hour played host to Mayor Higgins for a full hour. Above is a three minute video of the Mayor discussing the role she believes the City Council and the Mayor's office can and should play in helping to keep an informed citizenry. The Community Radio Hour blog should have an mp3 file of the full show up shortly.

UPDATE:: The mp3 file of the full one hour show is up, you can find it here.

It was a very invigorating discussion, and at the end of the show, the Mayor expressed her desire to return to the show and do this again, either as a citizen if she was not re-elected, or as the Mayor if she does win re-election. And I have to say, I think a great service could be performed for the community of Northampton if the Mayor would do a radio show like this on a regular basis.

Unable to work some issues into the broadcast, after we went off the air, Mary Serreze, myself, and the Mayor had a spirited discussion about parking issues in town, and the two biggest issues facing the working class and working poor in Northampton -housing and jobs. It was this discussion that I found most engaging and informative, and it was a bit more free flowing and open, with ideas and visions being bandied about, and talk about differing perceptions about whether or not parking, for instance, is really a problem in Northampton. It was this kind of conversing that I feel would be very important to have on air on a regular basis, a conversation not hampered by the reserved formality I felt while on air, speaking to a Mayor who was running for re-election, with the obvious framing of the issues that carries as far as what topics you and your guest might be discussing.

I'd like to note that I am grateful the Mayor came up to the radio show to speak on air and discuss the issues. Additionally, as happened after the show was off air, I really think doing a show with an open and free flowing discussion format should happen weekly, or at least every month. A radio show where the Mayor comes up to speak not about her record, or a re-election, but about the minutiae of keeping a city running, and how best we as a community can achieve our goals and desires.

Discussions about mass transit, parking, housing, jobs, money, taxes, etc...etc...A conversation where we lay the facts out on the table, talk about what our options are, and how we can work together to achieve the desired results. Because that's what community is really all about. But as the Mayor is fond of espousing, we live in a representative democracy, and if you don't like the way you are being represented, you can vote for someone else. Well, I would offer this challenge back.

People may or may not choose to vote for someone else in an election. In the meantime, we have who we have. As our elected representative, would you agree to participate in a weekly or monthly venue where the Mayor of Northampton is on air with the hosts and a relevant party, for 60-90 minutes, disseminating information, advice, and suggestions on the chosen topic(s), helping to inform the community about the issue, and how best we might address it? As opposed to inviting the public to vote for someone else, would you invite the public to have a two way discussion with you about the issues we face as a community? In a setting that is informal, and allows anyone tuning in to participate?

I for one would like that very much, and I imagine many others would also. Or maybe not, maybe this is not as engaging as I find it. I don't know, what does anyone else think? Would you find a weekly or monthly radio show with the Mayor and others as guest -discussing issues we face as a community- valuable, informative, or helpful?

LABELS: northamptonist tv, local politics, citizen journalism, city government,

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