HOW many of you out there have actually seen our councillors in action? How many of you have actually attended a council or committee meeting?
I would surmise the answer is probably not a lot.
When Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver was first elected he promised a more transparent, democratic and open local authority.
There will be some critics who say that hasn't particularly happened.
The cabinet decision-making process has been thrown out and now policy development groups are dotted here, there and everywhere on the council diary with many, if not the majority, held behind closed doors.
A dog poo summit being held in private. What's all that about?
Well, mayor Oliver is being given the opportunity to silence those critics by giving the world and its wife the chance to watch council meetings live and as they happen.
Labour councillor Darren Cowell, supported by Independent Vic Ellery, is putting a motion to full council that its October 17 meeting should be used as a pilot for a webcast of proceedings.
They say the timing could not be better as it falls in Democracy Week, which runs from October 14 to 18.
The motion reads: "In so doing, the council will widen the possible audience and help promote democracy.
"This action will demonstrate the mayor's objectives of being open, inclusive and democratic."
I would suspect that many of you out there would rather have your teeth pulled than watch a live council debate.
But these are changing times. Technology is developing by the day. We are servants to Twitter (as are some Torbay councillors) and Facebook. That makes it easier to engage and communicate from afar.
The council should be challenged on its business. Some very important issues are being discussed and decisions made which will shape the future of the English Riviera for many years to come.
This will give you the chance to see exactly what is going on and, if the House of Lords is anything to go by, see which councillors, if any of course, struggle to keep their eyelids from falling...
I SEE a couple of large transport/highway schemes have won vital funding, but not the project which would have brought a direct benefit to Torquay town centre.
The so-called Torquay 'gateway' plan was designed to enhance junctions, alter the road layout and improve public transport into town. An important ingredient was reversing traffic flows through Torre back into the town centre. At the moment it travels up and away.
But the scheme has failed to get Department of Transport support.
Torbay Council was bidding for £5.4million towards the cost of the £6million master plan, saying that 80 per cent of all jobs and 76 per cent of homes predicted in the draft new local plan are proposed around this route.
Instead the government has agreed to put £7.3million towards improvements to the Torbay Ring Road between Churscombe Cross and White Rock, and £3million towards a rail scheme for stations at Edginswell, Torquay and Marsh Barton, Exeter.
The council insists that the Torre scheme is not dead in the water, none more so than councillor Robert Excell who has been campaigning for years for the traffic flows to be switched through Torre, where (possible conflicts of interest have always been made clear) he has run a business for many years.
Cllr Excell, a member of the South West Heart of the West Local Transport Board, said that when it became clear the DoT funding was going to be cut, they had had to put forward schemes which were 'shovel ready'.
Cllr Excell said: "We are looking to see where we can get other funding for the Torquay Gateway scheme. It is a high priority. It has not been put on the back burner.
"The board were very disappointed that we had to make those hard decisions but we had to look at which schemes were ready to go."
He started campaigning about Torre 10 years ago.
He says: "The Gateway scheme is still being worked on. It is a priority in the Local Plan, but the details are not quite ready.
"We are looking to see if we can get funding from elsewhere and move it along.
"I fought for it 10 years ago and it went through full council. It was agreed but it was stopped.
"I was keen to have it changed then. I was in the chamber of trade fighting hard for it on behalf of the businesses up there.
"We were told back in the 1980s that it would be a trial period for three years and it would be reversed back."
Town centre councillor Darren Cowell is writing to mayor Oliver urging the council to still pursue the project.
He aid: "I am asking the council to look at it from an economic regeneration perspective. The traffic reversal would not relieve congestion but would greatly improve access and for between £250,000 and £500,000 could make a massive difference."
Cllr Cowell has also tabled another motion to full council calling for other means of financing the scheme to be investigated.
The town centre needs all the help it can get at the moment. Torre has to be a priority.
Rail schemes and Ring Road improvements all seem a bit cart before the horse.