Journalists should be city council watchdog

In one of her recent Urban Compass columns for the Toronto edition of free commuter daily Metro, April Lindgren says that journalists are needed to keep city councils in check and to be around to ask questions and keep tabs on what elected officials are up to.

She points to the media’s failure in Vaughan, Ont., north of Toronto, where developers accounted for the bulk of municipal campaign contributions and “developer-friendly councils OK’d hectares of unsustainable urban sprawl.”

She writes:

“Reporters covering council meetings witness those unrecorded votes on
development-related issues. They can ask councillors to explain their
vote. And they can cross-check who received financial support from the
applicant company.”

And in Vaughan?

“It’s not a record to be proud of. But it’s one that can be improved —
if there’s anyone left working in newsrooms to do the job.”