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City installs more outlets in Council Chambers

May 11, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

Huntington Beach's public works staff recently completed upgrades at the Council Chambers necessary to maintain some of the 21st century's gadgets: basic power outlets.

The chambers had so few power outlets that when the City Council went paperless early this year and began using city-issued iPads, there were no outlets near the dais to keep the devices going, said Public Works Director Travis Hopkins.

"This was built in the 1970s, and that would be prior to any computer that anyone thought would fit in the room," Hopkins said.

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The outlets were installed on the dais by in-house staff and cost the city about $2,000, he said.

Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby bought a laptop with a 10-hour battery life when he was appointed to the commission, but nonetheless, he said he's happy to see the outlets installed.

"It's totally about time that they joined the 21st century," he said. "I'm please to finally see the city join the modern age, and that will allow a good diversity of electronic devices to be used on the dais to analyze information during meetings."

Although the iPads are powered with batteries, they have their limits. Council members would have to be sure the devices were fully powered before the meeting starts, and the batteries could run out if a meeting goes on for hours.

There are no plans to upgrade the entire chambers, but some additional outlets may be installed in the audience, Hopkins said.

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