« Home

Meeting Notes

I began attending council meetings in the late spring of 2006, starting with the meeting where our former city manager was fired. I took some notes by hand, but mostly spent my time listening and learning. In October I began bringing a laptop to council meetings and typing notes as I listened. I realized, as long as I was doing that, I may as well make them available to other citizens who might want a summary of the meetings more detailed than the official minutes, without having to watch many hours of council meetings. Therefore I offered them to Maplewood Voices, where they are published on the web.

Taking these notes has been an important part of my learning process about the city council and Maplewood government. Do you remember writing term papers in high school? I think part of the idea of term papers is that to organize information and rephrase it in your own words, you have to understand it first, and the whole process really helps you remember it. Or, to use another comparison, if you've ever worked on a car engine or anything mechanical, you know there's a world of difference between looking over some diagrams versus sticking your hands in, taking it apart, and putting it back together.

Anyway, as I wrote these notes, I had to try and understand what people were trying to communicate during a meeting, and restate it by typing while continuing to listen to the next thing being said. I discovered that it's a lot more challenging to take notes on the fly that other people are supposed to be able to understand, compared to scribbling generally indecipherable notes to myself. On the bright side, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. As I figured out the ins-and-outs of more issues before the council, I found it a lot easier to understand and record what people said on the those topics, and I think the quality of the notes has therefore improved over time.

-John Nephew



Community Involvement


Want to help? You can donate online, or print and mail the Contribution Form with your check. Thank you!
Powered by Blogger & Blogger Templates. Customized by Michelle Nephew.
Prepared and paid for by the
John Nephew Election Committee,
628 County Road B East,
Maplewood, MN 55117