PHIL WIELAND: Would a vampire reality show reflect poorly on county

2012-11-16T00:00:00Z PHIL WIELAND: Would a vampire reality show reflect poorly on countyPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
November 16, 2012 12:00 am  • 

More real than any reality show ever seen on TV before: it's Porter County Government on Parade.

And when I say it's more real than shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashians," "Ice Road Truckers, "Ax Men" and "Moonshiners," I mean, of course, more boring.

Let's face it, you could replace Porter County Council President Dan Whitten with Snooki and it still would be about as exciting as watching paint or Carole Knoblock dry.

A proposal to televise the meetings of the County Council and the Porter County Board of Commissioners has been under consideration for a year. If it takes a year to figure out what to do with something so seemingly mundane as televising its meetings, just imagine how spine-tingling the deliberations must be on real issues, like the purchase of ego polish (despite the obvious savings to be realized when buying by the metric ton).

The cost to install the cameras and software needed to video the meetings is $15,000, or about 20 minutes worth of the interest earned from the bazillion-dollar nest egg the county is sitting on from the sale of the former Porter hospital. The fact they can't decide how to spend the nest egg is not a factor because the money would come from the county auditor's funds collected from the crackdown on homestead deduction violators.

"In terms of transparency, this is the ultimate tool," Auditor Bob Wichlinski said.

The idea of recording the meetings for airing has been talked about for years and, although some councilmen and commissioners said they don't have any objections, officials have refused to do it citing financial or other reasons. Now that finances can't really be considered a serious deterrent, what other reasons could there be?

Maybe they worry about being too boring, so what they need is some programming tips to attract an audience. They could take a cue from the "Survivor" shows and vote somebody off the board each week. Or they could copy "Ice Road Truckers" and hold the meetings on a frozen pond that might give way at any moment.

Maybe a "Real Housewives ..." style shopping trip for a new snow plow or voting machine (with or without matching purse and pumps). I think there's some real possibilities with the concept of Commissioner John Evans or Whitten playing the role of "The Budget Whisperer." The way they often pick on each other's ideas, they might try calling it "Here Comes Nanny Nanny Boo Boo."

Then again, it could be that whole transparency thing, but that could be turned into a TV ratings smash. Vampires are popular now, so how about calling the show "Resident Evil of Porter County?"

Vampires' reflections don't show in a mirror. Maybe real blood suckers can't be seen on TV.

The opinions are those of the writer. He can be reached at phil.wieland@nwi.com or (219) 548-4352.

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