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The Observer

By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Lights, Action, Live TV!

Uploaded: Dec 23, 2010
San Ramon City Council meetings are recorded and then broadcast one or two days after the meeting on Comcast Community TV30. The November 9th meeting wasn't broadcast until five days later. I attended the TV30 Board Meeting the following week to ask that the meetings be broadcast at least the next day, but I was told there could be technical or staffing reasons that made that difficult.

The three other Tri-Valley Cities, Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin that contribute to the maintenance of TV30, all broadcast their City Council meetings live. Even the Livermore Area Recreation and Parks District and the Pleasanton and Dublin School Districts have meetings broadcast on one of the three channels dedicated to Community TV.

Our City Council Meeting cannot be broadcast live because the City Hall does not have a cable TV insertion point to send the video signal back to the distribution hub for broadcast over Comcast channels 28, 29, or 30. So I asked the City Council at the November 23rd meeting to add an insertion point to the City Hall so that meetings could be broadcast live.

The Council has delayed doing this until the new City Center is built, but a City Center has been planned for a dozen years and still isn't built. So it is about time the existing one is wired for live broadcasts. Other meetings, like the Planning Commission and Public Hearings on zoning and the General Plan could be televised live on one of TV30's stations too.

I asked Dublin San Ramon Services District to record their meetings, which are held one hour before the live Dublin City Council meetings. This would require only one camera person to tape it. It should not be expensive and would make those meetings more accessible to residents of Dublin and San Ramon who can't make a 6 pm meeting.

Last year San Ramon's State of the City address was not taped for broadcast on Community TV. Pleasanton's was and I believe at least one other Tri-Valley City's. I asked Stewart Bambino, President and CEO of the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce, to be sure to have the State of the City Address taped this year. That way residents who cannot attend the Chamber's lunch meeting or cannot afford the $35 price tag, can see the Mayor's address on TV30. Bambino said he would look into it.

Two years ago TV30 was in big financial trouble. The City Councils of the four Tri-Valley Cities voted to take control over the stations and appoint the Mayors to the Board of Directors. When the Cities took over the stations, the local TV30 News was dropped because it was too expensive. An inexpensive news program, Media Roundtable, which consisted of reporters from each city discussing the major issues each week, was also dropped.

A monthly show, Slice of Life, was added to the schedule, with a half hour devoted to each of the four cities, but this was later cut to one Slice of Life with a six-minute segment for each city. Slice of Life amounts to little more than PR puffery for each city. Except for the Mayor's Report and Robin Fahr's Conversations show, there's very little local news on TV30 worth watching.

The news was gutted from TV30 because of cost cutbacks, but now that TV30 has regained its financial footing it should be put back as a public station with a Board of Directors separate from City Government. There's no way that TV30 can objectively cover the news in the four Cities with the Mayors of each one sitting on the Board of Directors. The Mayors should go back to Mayoring and give TV30 back its independence.

Comments

Posted by jrm, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

Way to go Roz...just wanted to say this was an awesome article. San Ramon is way overdue for an overhaul of their "transparency" of government. Stay in the hunt on this broadcast issue please!


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