Government should be in-person, with video
Local governments should absolutely begin reopening meetings to the public.
Garnering public opinion is difficult when meetings are held electronically, and the public should be able to more easily participate in local government.
That doesn’t mean video streams should go away, however. If local governments really care about reaching as many people as possible, those local boards that have been livestreaming their meetings or posting their meetings to YouTube should continue to do so.
State legislation requiring video be taken at local meetings isn’t likely to be approved by the state Legislature this year, but we know people are watching the videos that are being taken now. The people who are watching online aren’t likely to speak out before the board even if meetings are open to the public — but they obviously care enough about what is going on in their community that they’re watching a local government meeting on their computer rather than one of the hundreds of television channels being offered these days.
Video of local meetings is a poor replacement for in-person meetings, but it is a wonderful addition to in-person meetings.