LeBron, Barnhart, Lupien ‘Zoom’ in on Residents’ Concerns


Patti Singer

Beatriz Lebron, RCSD School Board Commissioner

Beatriz LeBron, RCSD School Board Commissioner

A Monroe County legislator, a Rochester City Council member and a Rochester Board of Education Commissioner sit home and host a Zoom call-in … .

It sounds like the start of a joke, but in the era of COVID-19, it’s a solution to the problem of how to keep an anxious public informed of what’s happening in the community.

Rachel Barnhart, Mary Lupien and Beatriz LeBron are scheduled to hold their first Zoom public conference at 5:30 p.m. March 23. The three plan also to host virtual meetings at 5:30 on March 25 and March 27, and to set a schedule based on demand.

Go to https://zoom.us/j/2020092857 and follow the prompts. If joining from a cellphone, you may need to download the app.

LeBron said Lupien came up with the idea a few days ago. “Rachel was, ‘I love it. Let’s do it,’” LeBron said.

The three women are friends, and each one has held livestreams for their constituents.

LeBron said she and Barnhart have co-hosted online events on hot topics. “We have a lot of things we’re in a similar train of thought, in terms of accountability and transparency, but we are totally different people. They make for interesting lives, because we don’t always agree.”

They bought a subscription to Zoom, an online meeting platform that is becoming more popular as people work from home and still need to talk to colleagues or clients. They announced it on their social media channels and asked their followers to share the link.

As for how many people will participate, LeBron said that 75 had indicated through social media that they were interested.

“This is uncharted for us,” she said.

LeBron said that each woman would say that she’s speaking for herself. But she expected each of them to provide updates on what their governmental body is doing, both in general and to address the COVID-19 crisis. She said she would talk about school budget, scheduled to be presented March 24 by the superintendent.