Port meetings to be live-streamed beginning in May


BELLINGHAM - Port of Bellingham Commission meetings will be viewable live online, beginning May 6.

At their Tuesday, April 15 meeting, port commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with Spinner LLC of Bellingham to provide a live webcast of the twice-a-month port meetings via the port's website. An archived video of the meetings will also be available for later viewing by members of the public.

Port Communications Coordinator Marie Duckworth told port commissioners that Spinner and its owner, David Brown, submitted the best of four proposals for providing the web-based access to port commission meetings. Duckworth said Spinner had the most experience and also offered the best price: $425 per meeting, adding up to $6,375 for the rest of 2014.

In recent months, port critics have been challenging the three port commissioners to make their operations more accessible and transparent to the public.

Earlier in 2014, commissioners considered moving their regular meetings to evening hours to make it easier for some people to attend, but only Commissioner Mike McAuley favored that idea. Dan Robbins and Jim Jorgensen voted to keep the meetings at 3 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month, as has been the practice for many years.

Robbins and Jorgensen also had little enthusiasm for getting live telecasts of the meetings onto the city-run BTV10 government channel, but they did agree to seek proposals for a webcast, and now that step will be taken.

Robbins observed that the cost to the port would be about $3 a minute based on the average length of commission meetings.

"Three dollars a minute it's going to cost, to hear us speak up here," Robbins said. "I hope that makes us transparent."

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or john.stark@bellinghamherald.com . Read the Politics Blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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