Posted by: hepowers | December 15, 2009

CATCH – Citizens at City Hall

In Hamilton, Ontario, we’re fortunate to have a group of volunteers who attend city hall meetings, record the discussions in great detail and write reports to summarize.  I’ve been on CATCH’s email list for a few years now and always find the reports interesting.  There is far more detail and information to these reports than a newspaper can manage in a limited column space.

In addition to these reports, CATCH’s website offers:

  • explanations of ‘How City Hall Works’
  • lists of each municipal committee, how it functions and links to the committee’s reports
  • recent news relevant to the municipality.

A very suitable quote from Barrack Obama is included on their ‘About’ page:  “The more freely information flows, the stronger a society becomes. Citizens can hold their own government accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas and encourages creativity.”

I began reading CATCH’s informative reports when I was new to Hamilton and found their information very helpful for getting to know the political scene here.  So, thanks to CATCH for a job well done and much appreciated!

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Responses

  1. These kind of groups provide a useful service. After working for years in journalism, I know that reporters from the media that cover the meetings and city hall can’t report on everything. As you said, there isn’t the space in the paper and even less air time on TV and radio.
    Some reporters try to get around this problem by writing blogs and/or regular columns.
    Teaching a course in covering city hall this past fall has reinforced by understanding of local government and the role in plays in the everyday life of residents.
    And I’ve always believed the more watchdogs on city hall and politicians in general, the better. Reporters can’t be everywhere and see everything.

  2. Thank you Helen for making me aware of Catch. I did not know this group existed and I will be looking at the website.


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