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Reader's View: Keep meeting in-person, Duluth City Council

The ability to hide behind virtual meetings would take “being human” out of the equation for anyone from the community who wants to be heard.

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The Duluth City Council is pushing for easier virtual meetings (“ Duluth City Council seeks ability to resume remote meetings of boards, commissions ,” Jan. 9).

Recently, I was part of an appeal and voiced objections to the council alongside my neighbors. At the appeal, I witnessed council members, without working computers, unable to read, or look at visuals related to, our appeal. An email received later from City Councilor Hannah Alstead read, “My computer along with Councilors (Roz) Randorf and (Terese) Tomanek’s were not working so I couldn’t even pull up the appeal during the hearing.”

As appalling as that is, had the meeting been virtual, audience members would not have witnessed the abhorrent injustice occurring right in front of us.

Aside from that, the council’s current, in-person format allows our voices to be heard, even if it entails putting our emotions on our sleeves. That is life, and the council needs to understand that. The ability to hide behind virtual meetings would take “being human” out of the equation for anyone from the community who wants to be heard.

Most of us know how distracting life is at home. The TV scrolls breaking news, the dog needs to poop, the kids want popcorn, just got a text — “Shoot, let me read that, it’ll only take a second.”

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By pushing for easier virtual meetings, what councilors don’t seem to understand is that facing the public is, and always should be, a required part of their job, period. Why? Because their decisions affect my life, my neighbors’ lives, and our community. Time and again, I’ve witnessed the council incapable of putting the shoe on the other foot. One day, one of them will have an issue and will want to face city leadership in-person. What goes around will come around then.

I hope the Legislature is listening and does the right thing (Our View: “ Reject City Council push for easier virtual meetings ,” Jan. 17). Keep all meetings in-person.

Becca Mulenburg

Duluth


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