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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Public Meeting Etiquette and Laptops ... Again

Just a few days ago, in a post entitled Public Meeting Etiquette and Laptops, I pointed out that when municipal officials stare into their laptops while being addressed by members of the public, it's perceived as rude. This observation annoyed the hell out of a few anonymous members of local government, who feel they can multitask. In the meantime, they ban the use of cell phones while driving on the theory that others can't.

As I mentioned at the time, this is where iPads beat laptops. They are so small that nobody seems to even notice them.

At last night's Zoning Hearing Board meeting in Bethlehem, Ken Kraft used his to check out a web page mentioned by a property owner who wanted to run his business from his home. As you can see, it's barely noticeable.

Kraft pays $14 per month for access to the Internet because Bethlehem officials won't give him the password for the City's WiFi. That's funny. Mayor Callahan gave it to me right away. I haven't tried it yet, but it's FU.


Anonymous said...

Should communities require a ban to forbid laptop use during government meetings? Isn't this Schlossberg the same guy who last summer supported a cell phone ban for Allentown because he said it distracts drivers and yet now he's
saying he's not distracted as he surfs during public meetings?

Anonymous said...

Bethlum city council doesn't use computers or cell phones. They don't need to - they are on permanent ignore

Anonymous said...

"This observation annoyed the hell out of a few anonymous members of local government, who feel they can multitask."

Anonymous said...

great ad line for Ipads.

Anonymous said...

some sanity please. At many a meeting a petitioner will hand up exhibits, drawings, maps etc and board members will look at these while people are talking. Is that a problem? If so no one has complained on this blog. If a board member is doing the same thing but on a laptop how different is that? Could a board member look at the ordinance in question while listening? Are you really comparing driving to listening?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've explained already that it's a matter of perception. You can have the best of intentions, but with your face partially obscured by a laptop screen, the public will think you do not care. It does not bother me, and I wrote about it only bc I have hear comments from so many people and then saw some of them on MM's blog.

Anonymous said...

It's not the use of the laptop, It is the a long stare for the entire time every one spoke.
When you are being spoken to, an occasional glance will let you know that you are being heard.
Is that polite?