A candidate to replace outgoing Bloomington City Council member Isabel Piedmont-Smith has proposed an initiative that he thinks will help communication between the council and its constituents.
Darryl Neher’s plan is called Connect 5, and encourages individual constituent contact through phone, e-mail and in-person visits, as well as creation of a website offering blog, video and comment features and live simulcasts of monthly meetings. Neher says his plan would also allow live electronic participation by city residents in council meetings.
“I certainly hope it raises the level of expectation for any city council candidate in particular,” he says, “because the idea that making oneself available to the constituents should be expected.”
Neher’s primary election opponent in District 5, Megan Hutchison, says she too would like to increase communication, but adds she’s talked to constituents who aren’t as plugged-in as those Neher describes.
“And so you have to either go door to door,” she says, “or send mailings or you know go to their churches or wherever they are.”
Neher says he’s not worried about people being left out because he still thinks that city council members should be visible in their district and available for face-to-face meetings.
He says he plans to have monthly meetings to allow people to talk to him in person.