09 April, 2011

Why Don't St. Albans Council Members And Voters Demand That Mayor Callaway Post Basic Info at City Website?

Attention WSAZ TV, WOWK TV, WCHS TV, Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail and St. Albans Monthly: The next time you report on drugs and crime in St. Albans, please tell us where and when St. Albans' residents can attend a neighborhood watch meeting. This information isn't posted on the City of St. Albans website.

As of this writing, Mayor Callaway still isn't posting the times and dates of neighborhood watch meetings on the City's website. He also hasn't posted a map of the city's wards so St. Albans can go to the city website and find out which ward they're in and who their council representative is.

The April issue of  St. Albans Monthly contains a spring clean up schedule for each ward but no information whatsoever on how citizens can find out which ward they're in without calling the sanitation department between the hours of 8 to 4 Monday through Friday. Why not just post the ward map on the city website? 

If Mayor Callaway is sincere about his war on drugs, he'll arm citizens with what they need to be foot soldiers in this war. The citizens of St. Albans need to know which ward they're in, when and where  that ward's neighborhood watch is meeting and who their council representative is. Since this is the Information Age and, though many St. Albans council members want to deny it, it's natural for citizens to expect to find basic information like this at their city's website. The internet is not a fad and it's not going away so stop pretending that if you just ignore the internet it will go away.

Since the City of St. Albans already operates a rudimentary website, St. Albans will incur no additional costs of operations by simply uploading a ward map to the site.

And isn't there anybody on your staff who can extract neighborhood watch information from members of city council? Hey, I have an idea: instead of issuing council members a check, issue them a memo that says they'll get their check when they submit neighborhood watch info for publication on the City website. Remind them that we're in a war on drugs and the foot soldiers don't know where to go to get their orders.

Members of council should be INSISTING that this ward information be posted at the City website.

I recently attended the Ward 7 neighborhood watch meeting where I raised these concerns. I had to work way too hard to find out where that meeting was held and, no, I didn't find the info at the first place people expect to find it - the www.stalbanswv.com website. I found the date and half a location on the WSAZ website. I say "half a location" because Kallie Cart's story said only that the meeting would take place at "the United Methodist Church" but she didn't say which one so I had to call the only Methodist  church in Ward 7 to confirm that the meeting was, in fact, at the St. Peter's United Methodist Church. Citizens shouldn't have to Google and make phone calls to find out where to go to get their orders in the drug war.

So, members of the media, since The City of St. Albans doesn't post the information its citizens need on the city website, would you start reporting this information in your news reports when there's another cop shooting or drug bust in St. Albans?

Below, find a list of St. Albans council members (from the www.stalbanswv.com website) . Call each council member and ask them about neighborhood watch meetings in their wards. Be the first to report it.

St. Albans, WV Mayor and Council

Dick Callaway
722-1273 (home)
727-2971 (work)

Vice Mayor / Council At Large:
Helen Warren
727-7456 (home)

Council At Large:
John Boles, Jr.
722-3612 (home)

Council At Large:
Jerry C. Cogar
727-6785 (home)

Ward 1:
Robert J. Keiffer
722-6473 (home)

Ward 2:
JD Adkins
727-0817 (home)

Ward 3:
Ronald K. Colby
727-2667 (home)

Ward 4:
Cheryl Thomas
727-8429 (home)

Ward 5:
Dan Cain, Sr.
722-2576 (home)

Ward 6:
Loretta Griffith
727-9153 (home)

Ward 7:
Desper Lemon
727-5344 (home)

Ward 8:
Kevin Pennington
727-5790 (home)

Ward 9:
Stephen Donelson
727-8690 (home)
Higginbotham At Large is not a candidate for any elected office. I call my blog Higginbotham At Large because it is the name an editor once gave to a column I wrote for his paper.
If you are a St. Albans resident, you believe in competent, transparent government, you believe the internet is not a fad, you are a member of Gen X or Gen Y, and you plan to run for St. Albans Council or Mayor, please send me an email.

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