Hobbs, N.M. -- I recently discovered the City of Hobbs has been soliciting an “advertising opportunity” to Hobbs businesses. In a letter linked on the home page of the City of Hobbs website by city Communications Director Lindsay Chism to local business owners dated June 3rd 2015, the City of Hobbs announces "a partnership with CGI Communications, Inc. to produce a series of online videos.” A video introduction featuring City Manager J.J. Murphy posted this week on the city’s website endorses the “help of CGI Communications.”
“Technology has changed the world and businesses must adapt or risk falling behind,” the letter continues. What’s ironic is that Chism’s letter says that “Statistics show that video improves online visibility and drives more action.” I have been asking the Commissioners, the Mayor and City Manager to televise and stream commission meetings for the last 4 months.
Having been a founding member of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Hobbs, my question is, who asked the city government to showcase businesses on the city’s website? Why is the city now spending taxpayer money with CGI Communications to do what our local chambers do already?
Murphy ended the video with “Keep an eye out for our videos and check back to our website often for updates and information on what’s happening in the City of Hobbs.” Why is using video such a great idea except when it’s used to inform and educate Hobbs citizens on the way in which our Commissioners, Mayor and City Manager conduct business? It's amazing the amount of hypocrisy involved in this decision! And I’m at a loss for when this decision was made. Did a request for proposals go out on this project? Did local or regional companies bid on it? During what meeting did the commission vote to approve this project and the contract with CGI Communications?
In the past few months I've had many interactions with commissioners via phone conversations and in public meetings and I was always told, "We think televising commission meetings is a good idea" or " I don't see why we shouldn't," but actions speak louder than words!
I'm once again questioning how city officials are open to utilizing video everywhere in the city except in the commission chambers during public meetings? At the last commission meeting I spoke during the public comment portion. I was told by Commissioner Newman "no one else in the community called me to have the public commission meetings televised…only you and one other gentlemen have brought this to my attention."
My main focus is televising and streaming Hobbs commission meetings so the public can have the same opportunity to be educated, informed and participate in the process that runs this city. Who’s with me?
Marshall is a Hobbs High graduate and former NMSU student. In 2013, Marshall returned to Hobbs from Las Cruces to support and improve his community through activism and enhanced public dialogue about important — and often overlooked — issues that merit the community’s consideration.