October 2018: News From The Mayor
Looking local people in the eye is so important
A few weeks ago I did my first Facebook Live event to answer questions from members of the public. It’s an engaging feature where people broadcast videos live to others, encouraging debate and conversation about different topics. I really enjoyed the experience, spending an hour answering questions on transport plans, homelessness, housing developments and the recent decision on Temple Island.
I’m planning to hold more Facebook Live events, at different times of day, so that more people can speak to me directly on issues that matter to them. Details will be on my Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can also find previous exchanges. Anyone can submit a question to me via firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing at Mayor’s office, Bristol City Council, PO Box 3176, BS1 5TR. My cabinet members are always approachable on issues in their portfolios, and local ward councillors are also great sources of information and guidance about the council and local communities.
I have my own blog site (www.thebristolmayor.com) which I use to keep people up-to-date with what I’ve been doing and share my thoughts and views. Similarly, these Bristol Voice columns are an important way to reach people who might not have access to the internet.
In a time of ‘fake news’ and growing use of social media I am really pleased to have opportunities to communicate with people directly. One part of being a city leader, unlike national politicians, is that I make my decisions while looking local people in the eye. Recently there have been some very well attended council meetings, with lots of views and questions put forward on a wide variety of subjects. This forum is an important one for local democracy to debate the facts.
As well as these contributions to our city’s conversation, I believe it is essential we have a representative media to ensure the diversity of world views are shared. This is especially important at a time when more people are increasingly finding their own news online and becoming sceptical about what they are being told. I hope that by starting these sessions more regularly I can add another way to engage people with local politics and give that opportunity to openly question and debate about what’s best for Bristol.