Technology is a double edged sword. Cases in point are local city council meetings when cities like Mission Viejo issue iPads to city council members. These small lightweight devices replace the large cumbersome 3-ring binders containing the current Agenda and back up material for each meeting.
While seemingly innocent, these same iPads can also be used almost like TelePrompters where other council members can signal their colleagues how to vote or to respond to tough questioning by applicants and those opposing specific agenda issues. Those inputs can come from two feet away to the council chambers or anywhere in the world while the average person sitting in the council chambers or watching at home is clueless that this could, and may actually be occurring.
In a five member city council it is not a violation of the Brown Act for 2 members to discuss specific city business. However, to have the technology which enables you to look smart while getting prompted by the use of your iPad is troubling if not illegal. This reminds me of the movie Broadcast News with Bill Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter where the news anchor is getting input to his ear piece from the show producer.
These mini TelePrompters should not be permitted inside the chambers. Each council member should be capable of standing on his or her own without the crutch of outside support. They can have the iPad at home but should use the 3-ring binders in open session meetings to avoid the perception of clouds overhead impacting the ultimate decision making.