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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Get on the train, folks

Yesterday was a slow day on County Supervision (i.e., no new content), because I had to fill in on the night cops beat and babysit the police scanner all night. But at least two things worth mentioning happened, and they both fit in nicely with the point I will now try to make.

First, District 4 Supervisor Brent Oleson blogged about Wednesday morning’s supervisors meeting. He thinks the taxpayer will get slammed if all the county’s legislative wishes are granted, and you can read his take on the meeting here. I will try to get the minutes posted today.

Second, KCRG-TV9’s Claire Kellett did a Wednesday story explaining Twitter to the good people of Eastern Iowa. Twitter is a website where anyone can publish what he or she is doing, moment by moment, for anyone to see. It’s a cross between a blog and a Facebook status update. It really is a useful way to stay on top of what’s going on. Kellett interviewed District 3 Supervisor Ben Rogers, who said “I’m going to use it to broadcast meetings I am going to, and discussions that were had that deal with county business, because I really like to get the feedback.”

Here at County Supervision, we’ve been following Twitter for a few months, and we’ve got Twitter feeds posted on the right hand column of this blog not only for Rogers, but also for Oleson and Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, who’s been on Twitter for longer than anyone in county government (Is he still in Germany, or what?).

Here’s the point of all this: If you care about Linn County government, and you have something to say, you should get involved in the online discussion.

I’ve been quietly lobbying several people to start blogs, and my success has been comparable to that of a human head forcefully confronting a brick wall. But I will persist. Blogs and Twitter are simple, free ways to articulate viewpoints and communicate with large numbers of people. If you are an elected official, they are tools to help you communicate with constituents and be transparent — about discussions and decisions. WordPress and Blogger are good, simple places to start a blog. Twitter is even easier.

There’s no reason Oleson should be the only supervisor blogging, that Rogers, Oleson and Miller should be the only elected officials tweeting, or that I should be the only private citizen writing about county government. Get on the train. And contact me any time to discuss this. I’m at adam.belz@gazcomm.com or (319) 398-8273.

More news coming later today.

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Don’t laugh. It could be interesting.

I’m going to try, when it’s possible, to cover Board of Supervisors meetings live using Twitter and this blog.

I know, I know, who wants live updates from a supervisors meeting. I have two responses to this:

1. The supervisors are making decisions that affect our lives.

2. I’ll try to make it interesting.

If you want to follow the updates on Twitter, e-mail me and I’ll invite you to the website, which means you’ll automatically get my updates. My screenname is adambelz. Ideally, this could get to the point where there’s a live conversation going on during the meetings, and people out there can pose questions and make comments on what’s going on.

Also, and this is a standing invitation, everyone is welcome to post on this blog. Write something and then e-mail it to me at adam.belz@gazcomm.com
Eventually I want to have a group of you who regularly posts. (Steve Valley, I know you’re out there somewhere!) Even political candidates are welcome. If there’s any interest, we may have to develop some guidelines, but for now, I just want to encourage participation.

Filed under: County Government, Flood, , ,

RSS Linn County Auditor on Twitter

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RSS Brent Oleson on Twitter

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RSS Ben Rogers on Twitter

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RSS Chuck Grassley on Twitter

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RSS Adam Belz on Twitter

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