Give CAT-10 a chance to get back on track
August 15, 2005
Now that city officials have the attention of the Carson Access Television Foundation, we hope they will give every opportunity to the foundation’s board to get back on track after a rough couple of years.
In a fairly scathing report, City Manager Linda Ritter outlines several valid reasons that city supervisors could decide not to renew the foundation’s contract, which provides $110,000 a year to operate two public-access channels, 10 and 26, on cable TV.
Public-access television has an important role in showing public meetings, community announcements and other local programming to cable TV viewers. Carson Access Television Foundation is run mostly by volunteers, and the contributions they have made over the years shouldn’t be discounted.
Unfortunately, the entire operation was tarnished by the embezzlement conviction a year ago of the former executive director. It not only brought down the foundation’s image but left it with thousands of dollars in debts and unpaid obligations.
The foundation could have thrown up its hands and given up right then, but instead it reorganized and attempted to fulfill its obligations. That it hasn’t met all of them appears to have more to do with the embezzlement than with lack of effort.
City supervisors, who will talk about the foundation’s contract on Thursday, are well within their rights to demand solid answers and a plan of action before considering a renewal.
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On the other hand, the contract doesn’t expire until Dec. 31, and we’ve not yet seen an alternative plan from City Hall. It’s a bit hard to evaluate whether it would be better.
We’d like to see city officials and the Carson Access Television Foundation work closely over the next few months to come up with a strategy that fulfills the intent of the contract without scuttling all the hard work put in by the volunteers, who truly have the interests of public-access television at heart.
That may mean starting over, but it doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch.