The Greensboro City Council requests that the public participate in meetings virtually but makes that participation difficult, if not impossible.

Each Greensboro City Council agenda has this preface: “The City Council Chamber is open to the public; however, residents are encouraged to participate in the meeting virtually.”

Those who, in an attempt to be good citizens and follow the wishes of the City Council, pretty quickly find out that trying to follow what is happening at a meeting by watching the live feed is frustrating.

The new voting process, which has finally gone live, flashes the vote on the screen for less than a second, certainly not long enough to read – particularly when you consider the graphic on the screen reads, from left, “ncilme-ghtow: lmer-ells: lmer-urm: cilmer-uzuait: Mayor-augha: Mayor Pro-Tem-ohnso: cilm-ath: cilm-Holst: clime-offma.

The votes are displayed in a horseshoe shape, which would seem to be an indication that they are listed in the order that the members of the City Council are seated at the horseshoe shaped dais, but that is incorrect.

Deciphering the list, it doesn’t appear to be in any particular order.  To fill in the blanks for those who may be confused by the partial names, from left, the list with full names rather than what appears on the screen are District 1 City Councilmember Sharon Hightower, District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells, District 5 City Councilmember Tammi Thurm, At-large City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, Mayor Nancy Vaughan, Mayor Pro Tem At-large City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson, District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny, At-large City Councilmember Hugh Holston and District 4 City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann.

This appears to be a random listing of the members of the City Council.  It is not the order in which they sit on the dais, not in order by districts and certainly not in alphabetical order by last names.  It is possible that the members of the City Council are listed in alphabetical order by their mothers’ maiden names, but the Rhino Times is not privy to that information.

Thirty years ago, the City Council had a mechanical board at the front of the chamber that displayed the votes.  It made a lot of noise as the “Yeas” and “Nays” clacked into place but, after all the clacking stopped, the vote total was displayed for everyone to see.  Perhaps the city should pull that old board out of storage and install it in the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber.  At least with that mechanical board people could see how the members of the City Council voted without using a top secret decoding ring.