Hey, Wait a Minute |”I’m leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes…”

Note: “Hey Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area.

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“…it’s 9:45 p.m. I am leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes, because I need to sleep at night. … There is absolutely no reason why we should be having a meeting that lasts more than four hours …”

At the most recent meeting of Bloomington’s city council, on July 31, councilmember Allison Chopra offered some candid commentary on the length of the meeting.

Chopra said in part: “…it’s 9:45 p.m. I am leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes, because I need to sleep at night. … There is absolutely no reason why we should be having a meeting that lasts more than four hours …”

The criticism that councilmember Chopra expressed at the meeting—of her colleagues and herself—was serious business. I think it’s worth watching Chopra’s remarks as she made them, in their entirety.

But how likely are you to click on a link to a four-hour meeting video? I’d guess the answer is: Not at all likely, because you are not a local-government nerd.

What if I tell you that her remarks begin at about the 2 hour 53 minute mark, so you can easily navigate to the exact spot in the video? I’d guess the answer is still: Not at all likely, because you are still not a local-government nerd.

What if I tell you the link will take you to the exact spot in the video where Chopra starts talking? All you have to do is click: CLICK HERE NOW to watch Chopra deliver fire and brimstone on the topic of meeting length.

I think you’re probably gonna click through, even if you’re not a local-government nerd.

Creating a link that goes to the exact spot in a CATS (Community Access Television Services) video is not some dark magic, accessible only to sophisticated internet programer-type people. It’s easy enough that even clods like me and you can figure it out.

Here’s the short version: Take the permanent link to the URL and add “&t=N” where N is the number of seconds after the start of the video. The link above looks like this, with the extra time-code bit in bold:

http://catstv.net/m.php?q=7118&t=10373

If you wonder where to find the permanent link or think that calculating the number of seconds sounds tedious, CATS has you covered.

Here’s three annotated screen shots that lay out the details.

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CATS 2 Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 10.56.27 PM
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CATS 3 Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 10.56.35 PM
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I think this gadget is a fantastic tool. Off the top of my head, linking to the exact spot in a CATS video could be useful for:

  • Journalists who want to let readers see for themselves that an elected official really said what they’re reported to have said;
  • People who deliver public commentary at a meeting and want to share their remarks with others;
  • Candidates for elected office who want to show voters exactly what they and their opponents have said;
  • Rank-and-file citizens who watched the meeting and don’t understand what someone meant, who then post the link to social media with a simple question: What did Councilmember X mean at this spot in the meeting?

I’m sure there are other use cases. Anyhow, let’s get on with some direct linking!

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