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BLOG: No on Measure N -- A Look at its Rules for Smartphone Use

A look at Measure N, Section 12.01.09 - Digital Communication Devices.

There are many reasons to vote no on Measure N, but one of the strangest and least known proposals within it is section 12.01.09.

Section 12.01.09 - Digital Communication Devices.  

“Digital communication device” encompasses smartphones, laptop and tablet computers and other similar hardware capable of sending and receiving electronic messages or accessing the Internet. Here's the wording: 

A member of a legislative body may, during a meeting governed by the Brown Act or this Chapter, use a digital communication device only if it has been provided by the City to assist members in their official work and linked to a display screen mounted behind the member in the meeting room, allowing citizens present to observe how the member is using his or her device and to read whatever messages are being sent or received by that member during the meeting. Information sent, received or stored on such devices is subject to the applicable records retention statute in the Government Code and to the disclosure requirements of the California Public Records Act and this Chapter.

Sorry council member, you can't use your own smartphone during the meeting,  however, the City will give you an iPad and have the contents displayed on a video screen mounted behind you.  REALLY?!

Please, proponents of Measure N, what threat to democracy is being halted by banning a council member from checking his/her smartphone?  Are you worried that a text will come in from the "shadow government" of Dixon telling the member how to vote? Help me to understand.

Who will pay for these monitors? How big will they need to be so people in the back row of the chamber can see what Google search a certain council member is making?  Does any other city in America--no the world--do this? 

Want to say something about this story or Measure N in general? Leave a comment below or post a blog directly to Dixon Patch. Just click this link and you're ready to publish! Email me at justin.cox@patch.com if you have questions. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bil Paul September 28, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I could be wrong, but I think the intent of this part of Measure N is to prevent council members from text messaging with each other in a hidden electronic way during meetings, texting with members of the audience in the chambers, or texting with people outside the building (during meetings). Also, as we all know, habitually looking at smart phones etc. can be really distracting when one should be paying full attention to the meeting at hand. I can remember one instance when Mike Ceremello was addressing the school board when board member John Gabby was only paying attention to his smart phone. Ceremello asked if he might have Gabby's undivided attention. Gabby was a bit embarrassed.
Bil Paul September 28, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I would also assume that another intent of this electronic device rule is to give the public the same access to information regarding matters before the council -- as the council members themselves have.
Steve Steiert September 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Bill: What do they say about "intent"? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Would you extend the need to have..... "the same access to information regarding matters before the council -- as the council members themselves have." ....to ANY work product of the council? So any website visited--even at home-- by a council member during the course of his/her official duties should be available to the public? Any phone call that a council member makes in an effort to learn more about an issue should be made part of the public record? Any magazine read by a council member should be......you get my point. At the heart of Measure N is a COMPLETE mistrust of our elected officials. Forget any reasonable checks and balances (which are already in the Brown Act), measure N goes WAY beyond any common sense on openness and accountability.
Bil Paul September 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Yes, I would agree that some of what Measure N seeks to do is based on a mistrust of elected officials. Some would say too much mistrust, as you say. Others, no.
Greg Coppes September 29, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Unlimited speaking time, come on. I guess we have to many policeman. Not having one on duty a couple of shifts a week isn't a bad thing. To bad the fire department is at the OSHA minimum or we could cut them also. We need a better solution.
Ian Arnold September 29, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I've been at meetings of various organizations where an elected official has excused him- or herself due to a family emergency. Under this proposed ordinance, an elected official would be required to ignore calls, texts etc., coming in on a personal device and--in the event of an emergency--any emergency message from a spouse, parent, child, physician, etc., would be displayed on a screen for all to see. Whatever happened to a reasonable expectation of privacy?
Kerry Jacobs September 29, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Do you really think that by twisting the truth and lying to the citizens we will believe you? WE, the taxpayers, have paid for the iPads that the council uses during the meetings. Going "paperless" is great. However, we want to know who is e-mailing the council members to vote a certain way and who on the council you are texting, are you playing games on your iPads during the meeting or are you checking to see if your favorite team is winning the ball game? The screen is for the iPads WE gave you not for your personal cell phone so lets not try and spin this measure any more then it already has been. Shame on you for your lies. And you want to represent me on the council??? No thanks ! Maybe you should run for office in Bell Caifornia they allow this type of government. Or they use to at least. Lets stop the corruption this November 6th by voting YES on Measure N and Drew Graska for city council.
Steve Steiert September 29, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Kerry "Shame on you for your lies." What lies? Are any of these statements lies? 1. no personal cell/smartphone/laptop use in the chambers 2. display screen mounted behind the member in the meeting room to show what he'she's up to 3. any information that comes into that city-provided device is public record I'll restate my earlier post: Please, proponents of Measure N, what threat to democracy is being halted by banning a council member from checking his/her smartphone? Are you worried that a text will come in from the "shadow government" of Dixon telling the member how to vote? Help me to understand.
Kerry Jacobs October 02, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Warren Salmons lied on the article he wrote in the Reporter. Every word is a LIE. Why is he fighting so hard against Measure N? What are we going find if the city records will be accessible to the citizens? We know he patted his salary and managed to retire at $120,000 tax payer funded dollars a year, what else did he do? Could it be another scandal If Yes on N passes and the taxpayers find a currupt Government here like in Bell Ca ? Why are you guys running so scared ? Y
Mike Smith October 02, 2012 at 04:51 PM
"Please, proponents of Measure N, what threat to democracy is being halted by banning a council member from checking his/her smartphone? Are you worried that a text will come in from the "shadow government" of Dixon telling the member how to vote? Help me to understand." Yes, that is the reason.
Steve Steiert October 02, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Kerry, with all due respect, what lies? Here's the link: http://www.thereporter.com/forum/ci_21666130/measure-n-voters-should-inspect-ordinance-care Please paste the parts you think are lies and Opponents of Measure N will respond. Your claim about: "What are we going find if the city records will be accessible to the citizens?" These records are already accessible under the Brown Act. I'm not sure what you think is hiding in City Hall.
Kerry Jacobs October 03, 2012 at 12:07 AM
I know true facts are uncomfortable for the elites. The citizens of Dixon can see through the lies and we will vote YES on Measure N. My question is why all these "former chair holders" are fighting so hard to defeat Measure N. What back room deals we will uncover when Measure N becomes a law ? I think someone is sweating . Ronald Reagen once said. quote" Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so. end quote. lol Now Go ahead and call him a liar too.
Steve Steiert October 03, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Kerry, with all due respect, "What back room deals we will uncover when Measure N becomes a law ?" Citizens already have access to city documents under the Brown Act. Not sure how Measure N would help you prove your theory that something lurks in a file cabinet in City Hall. As far as "former chair holders," I am an not now, nor have I ever been a "chair holder," or a member--past or present--in the Rotary, DDBA, Chamber, Lions, Boat Club, or Friends of the Pee Wee Football. I just think Measure N is a badly written, expensive, and unnecessary proposal.

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