Friday, November 14, 2008

Commentary on TV Board Meeting

Wednesday's meeting of the Plainfield Cable Television Advisory Board was a depressing reminder of the need for better communications in the city.

Click here for Dan's report.

The board is supposed to oversee cable television activities, make recommendations and reports, serve as liaison with Comcast and "encourage and promote full utilization"' of cable television resources and more. The full ordinance, with all 16 duties and responsibilities, is posted on Councilman Rashid Burney's web site. Scroll down to Article 26.

Both the web site and the programming on Channel 74 remain weak, with little more than a year left to go in the current administration. On Wednesday, Public Information Officer Jazz Clayton-Hunt gave the board an overview of the programming on Channel 74, including coverage of seminars on business and home ownership, Plainfield Symphony performances, "Hello Plainfield" and "Plainfield @ Work" programs and community events.

But ongoing coverage of City Council meetings is still in the works. Board members said they often get requests for such coverage, but Clayton-Hunt cited technical issues. Staffing is another issue, board member Peter Briggs noted. The board asked Clayton-Hunt to prepare presentations on the programming and council coverage, possibly to be given at the Nov. 24 City Council agenda session.

The "Music in the Plaza" summer events were taped, but attendance was low, Clayton-Hunt said. In response to a board member who said she didn't know about the music events, Clayton-Hunt said they were publicized on the city's web site. True, but event listings are under "Community Resources," a link that sounds more like social service agencies.

Clayton-Hunt said her office also wants to invite "intellectual resources" in the city to take part in interviews, but there is no studio available. Board member Dottie Gutenkauf suggested checking the schools for space. Other possibilities discussed were the YWCA, the YMCA or Harvest Radio studios in Plainfield. School board member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq, who asked about the status of an educational channel provided for in the Comcast franchise, was asked to check on possible studio space in the schools.

Clayton-Hunt also presented a four-page "wish list" of equipment to improve communications, one page of which contained items needed immediately. Board member Jan Massey asked her for an inventory of current equipment, but she didn't have one. It is unclear how the wish list could be addressed now anyway, because the FY 2009 budget for the year ending June 30 is now being finalized

The board itself needs a chairman, more members and a meeting schedule for the coming year. Briggs, the husband of the mayor, was the chairman but had to step down due to board bylaws. The board does not have a list of current members, terms and vacancies. According to the Municipal Code, the board is supposed to have 11 members, but only three were present Wednesday.

Anyone wishing to serve on the board may download an application from the city web site and submit it to the mayor's office.

The next Cable Television Advisory Board meeting is 7 p.m. Dec. 16 in City Hall Library.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This shows the lack of leadership provided at the administration level. How can you be 3 years into an administration and not have boards filled? Isn't that part of how an efficient city government runs?

And there isn't staffing? For what in the heck are we paying people on the payrole? Isn't that staffing?

I also understand that there is a council liaison for this board. Anyone know who it is and how often he/she attends?

We need change more than Washington. Let's make sure it happens in November 2009.

8:53 AM  

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