To the editor:
It was recently brought to my attention that members of the Salem City Council are interested in having the city purchase iPads for their use at meetings. (All but Councilor Tom Furey, who doesn't use email.)
I think the idea of using technology to cut down on all the paper copies that need to be prepared for the council meetings is good. I think the ability to transmit information electronically would also be good, and give more residents access to information.
I think iPads are good, but what I don't think is good is having the city pay for something the councilors should be paying for themselves.
They are paid a salary and received a stipend for expenses. Why not use that money to purchase an iPad? I don't have an iPad (yet), because I can't afford one — and I'm working two jobs and going to school. They cost almost $600 apiece, so to buy one for every councilor and the city clerk would cost $7,200!
IPads can do a lot for making information more available, but they can also be used to watch movies, play games and other things that are not council-related. If we buy part-time, paid city councilors iPads, why not buy them cellphones? Or iPhones?
Councilors, times are tough and, if you want an iPad, buy it yourself like the rest of us have to. (No offense.)