Sunday, January 13, 2013

View: Garwood Tip-Toes into the Digital Age (should be running)

It's no longer necessary to schlep down to the bank anymore to pay pills or transfer money. Nor is it a necessity to make special trips down to the halls of government to get essential documents or information.

For better or worse, in our increasingly digital world there is no excuse to not know the exact estimates, costs, or any other factors (contractors, safety violations, plans, etc) of major municipal projects. The current back and forth between the Council and the Westfield Leader is a waste of time. The basic facts that are being debated should be at the fingertips of anyone who owns a computer (or can stop-by the library to use the ones we all own). In 2013 there is no need to have government officials or newspaper reporters acting as gate-keepers to such essential, and basic, information. This needs to change.

Garwood's government is not exactly a technologically advanced body at first glance (just take a look at the current borough website), but there are hopes in the not-to-distant future that will change. First off, the borough's new Council President is the youngest in the borough's history. That's a good start. She seems to know that Garwood needs to cater to young, internet savvy citizens who can find the facts on their own.

The Mayor (who actively takes part in social media to update residents) also wants to update the digital reach of the borough, kudos to her. The Garwood Police Department is a fine example of the strides the town is making. It supplied real-time alerts during Hurricane Sandy, and it quite user friendly.

Newspapers offer perspective and the Westfield Leader does a fine job, but the facts need to come from the source- the borough itself. News outlets can question the facts, but we need to at least have a baseline to work from.

That said, if the Westfield Leader was wrong in its estimate of the Athletic Field Complex it should print a correction (and it seems they were wrong on a number of figures). And it's the hope of many in town that the facts will be easier to access in the future.   

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