Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kingston Public Access at Risk of Shutting Down


We have all heard the rumors and rumblings over the possible closing of Kingston Public Access TV on February 29th due to lack of funds to maintain operations. The KPA commission has asked that the City of Kingston take $10,000 from the City's general fund to provide emergency funding for the station.

Some producers have claimed that the Mayor and certain Aldermen want to silence them because they are critical of the current administration. I disagree with that logic, the criticism is not working...the Mayor and his Council all won reelection. I do believe that the Mayor and certain Aldermen are hesitant to fund KPA because of a current commission that refuses to hold producers accountable to the rules and procedures that they have adopted. Also, there is an outstanding $3,000 liability that the Commission owes the City that needs to taken care of.

At this point the deadline for the Council to give money to KPA has passed and in order to maintain funding the Commission needs to raise $800 to continue for another month.

During that month the Commission must immediately make an appointment with the Cable Committee and the Mayor to find a way to agree on funding. My suggestion would be for the Council to make the Commission do the following :

By March 5th Enforce all the current rules that are in place; which includes cutting back all hour long programing to a half an hour.

By March 10th Present the council with a full accounting of all monies that have been raised and spent. As well as providing the Council with a budget that will include what the City funding would be used for.

By March 15th Come up with a payment plan between the KPA Commission and the City Comptroller's office to pay back the $3,000 that is currently owed to the City.

By March 20th Present to the Council a plan to become self sufficient. The City of Kingston should not be paying for KPA on a permanent basis.


After all these milestones are met, then the City's Cable committee should recommend to the full council to take the necessary money out the general fund to pay for KPA. Public Access is an important tool that has been abused by many for a long time. I think if the Council is shown that KPA will work with them and enforce their own rules, they will be willing to help KPA get on it's feet.

40 comments:

UCP said...

Thanks, Support Channel 23............................

Anonymous said...

Sounds good! Thank you for taking a stand that doesn't include a wobble. N.S.

give me some truth said...

Jeremy

Dont you think the City Council
has better things to do then
babysit Kingston Public Access?

It was the same 'crew' that took the City to Court and sucked 20 K
OUT OF US.....The TAXPAYER'S.

Go Jimmy Go.....

Anonymous said...

Too little, too late. KPA is done. Why is KCR able to fund itself for the most part throught private donations and KPA has to feed off our tax dollars? No one has been able to anser that question. We are all suffering enough without feeding you and your friends little hobbies.

Anonymous said...

The mayor probaly funds KCR. Here and there.He has his hobby on friday's on the radio.

Anonymous said...

The problem with public access is that too many "producers" don't do anything more than spread rumors, lies, unsubstantiated allegations and nasty names. Give them a microphone and put them in front of a camera and they think they're broadcast journalists. Worse, some of the few people who watch actually believe what they're saying.

BeenThereDoneThat said...

Is there a valid reason why Kingston Public Access television cannot be privately funded or subsidized? Why blame the City of Kingston if they refuse to fund it?

Another political blog pointed out the city's failure to fund the station is an infringement of first amendment right of free speech. This is not the case--they are merely refusing to grant KPA further public funding for the station. The bottom line is KPA must either find a way to meet operating expenses or shut down entirely.

A novel solution for KPA is to accept advertising during their one hour production-- if this is allowed. After all, Blaber's Commentary and News accepts advertising which demonstrates a large following to local business. Advertising revenue will encourage Jeremy to be more responsive and objective in reporting political news

Anonymous said...

It is against the law for a public access station to accept advertising (producers can get underwriting for their shows, but that doesn't go toward the operating expenses of the station - just the show itself). But, if you look on your cable bill, there is a franchise fee of almost $3 a month. That money doesn't go to Time-Warner - they're just collecting it. Kingston taxpayers are paying almost $36 a year through Time-Warner to be sent directly to the city. It's essentially a tax - that money goes into the general fund. It adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Why can't Kingston - and the other participating communities (Ulster, Rosendale, Marbletown, town of Kingston, Hurley, Esopus) - forward a fraction of this money to keep KPA afloat? So...you complain that KPA is feeding off our tax dollars - we're already paying; the money isn't going to where it's supposed to go.

Anonymous said...

The city and surrounding towns gets a combined $400,000 in franchise fees collected by Time Warner on our backs - the subscribers.

The towns and city are not using those fees to enhance local programming at all. Shame shame on all the towns and especially the City of Kingston.

Anonymous said...

How about folks stop paying the franchise fee? If it isn't FOR public access television, it seems to me that if there is any validity to paying such a fee, Time Warner is the wrong place for collecting it. Rename it. Claim it. Be honest about it. Let KAPA fend for itself. And be done with it.

If a portion of the Time Warner Cable fee (the franchise fee) doesn't indicate a commitment to local cable television --- then tell the public what it is --- collect the fee on THAT (whatever it is....? basis --- & send it through appropriate (Time Warner doesn't sound appropriate, at all...) channels.

Anonymous said...

The franchise fees paid by Time Warner to the municipalities (at the expense of subscribers to their services) are lawfully and properly considered general revenues because they are a compensation for the use of public right-of-ways for cable and transmission. It would be wrong to think that the franchise fees should be used "to enhance local programming" and be a benefit only to those who subscribe to the service. For this reason, the franchise fees are not revenues that should be dedicated to provide public access television, but rather general revenues to benefit all property taxpayers. Note: I, anonymous, believe it is a public duty of local governments to provide funds for public access television, of course, but please don't compare or confuse the revenues received from Time Warner with the budget allocation for public access. These are independent matters.

give me some truth said...

Stop 'Hate TV'

Support Mayor Sottile

No PUBLIC Funds for Public Access

Anonymous said...

Support Good Government

Call Mayor Sottile

Tell him you Support Him!

No Taxpayer Funding for
KPA!

Anonymous said...

To 3:00 pm, If you don't like what you hear, you can change the channel. Don't watch.

Anonymous said...

So we get charged a franchise fee. Big deal. I would rather that money go into the genral fund for ther purposes than to completely support something that it unprofessional and pretty much useless. I donate every year to KCR because it is professionally done and serves the community. One writer said it correctly...the shows that are on KCR are simply soap boxes for certain individuals who fancy themselves as some type of journalist or pundit to say whatever they want whether true or false, substantiated or not. They have every right to do it, but I do not want my tax dollars supporting them no matter what their views. Perhaps KPA's complete failure to raise any funds on their own is indicative of how much the public actually does not want or need this station. They say they only need $10K a year to run it...well then raise it. It seems like a workable amount of money to raise. For those who do not want to pay the franchise fee..get Direct TV.

Anonymous said...

To 1024

Well then don't charge me

Jeremy,

Was the 'N' word ever said on KPA?

Anonymous said...

9:18 AM
Thank you!
Also, let's not muddy the issue by calling it a hobby.
Colonial America would not call the bulletin board in the village square a hobby. Watch it sometime and see just how wide a range of informative items are on there for juniors, seniors, families and even the City Of Kingston thanks to two tech volunteers at KPA...smitty

Anonymous said...

I recommend that everyone take a trip over to UCP's blog at this point, watch the public access info-video, and then travel down a bit to read some more commentary about our local public access station (channel 23) and the folks on board...

Also, please make note of the fact that there will be a petition available - to save KAPA - on Wed., 3/13/2008, from 6:30 to 9PM at 80 Elmendorf Street (on the corner of Elmendorf and Tremper) for anyone interested in supporting (via thier signature) the station.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION (re. petition to save KAPA): The date is Wed, February 13th, the day before Valentines' Day.

HAVE A HEART!

Anonymous said...

Listening to these comments, can there be any doubt that this whole thing is a political boondoggle? All the liberals and so-called "open minds" want the studio closed because -- gasp-- most of the hosts are conservative.

Anonymous said...

to 9:18 - though the franchise fees are lawfully collected for the use of public right-of-ways for cable and transmission, that has long been paid for. The cables have been up and on the telephone poles for years and the city and towns have been collecting these recurring revenues all along. If the money was needed for the aforementioned "expenses", show me in the city's budget where and how the money is being spent. Is there a direct cost to the city? The city isn't even responsible for maintenance. I agree that the current programming pretty much sucks, but the solution isn't to shut KPA down. The solution is to get better programs - and that won't happen until investments are made to improve the studio and equipment. The commission also has to do its part toward fundraising and programming changes. Otherwise, you're still going to get the crap that's on there now.

Anonymous said...

Smitty,

Why dont you answer my question?

Shelly Zimbler said...

Jeremy- Congrats on a well written blog- My question again- why is the blame being thrust upon the Mayor. Sure the city receives over$400,000.00 from legally collected franchise fees, but what about the other municipalities ie, Town of Ulster, which I would assume now receives close to $200,000.00 As the chair in 2004, I was told that the Town of Ulster received $12-15,000 per month. splitting the difference and using $13,000 they were receiving $169,000.00 Using a 4 year increase in franchise fees and increased residence- I would believe that they are now collecting over $200,000.00 The Town of Kingston although smaller in size also collect this same fee which was established by initial franchise set up in 1991.The average fee collected is probably over $4.00 per household

So it appears that there is more to the situation than the simplistic approach of our own Common Council.

I believe that the Mayor or a representative from the administration has to set up a joint meeting to include the municipalities to that the proper funding can be established. The fact that Saugerties, Woodstock and Northern Dutchess are funded by a percentage of the funds collected has no foundation for the argument of using municipal funds to continue the station.

It is imperitive that a meeting be established immediately. We will need additional help from Assemblyman Kevibn Cahil and Senator Larkin. The current board should have been moving towards the goal of a Friends of KPA in the same sense that the Friends of Forsyth Nature Center did several years ago. They have raised over $80,000.00 while the KPA telethons have raised less than $9,000.00 during the same time period.

There are many things that can still be accomplished but the people themselves have to get involved. The false statements on KPA as well as the allegations about misappropriations continues. These are false comments. But the KPA has to bring forth the records that reflect just where the funds have gone.
As for those alderman who are refusing to move forward because of the outstanding balance, then shame on them. This is not an issue that will go away. For Public Access to close down is a stain on the city. I cannot believe that the station will be closed. A deal will be struck and hopefully it will be sooner than later.
As to your comments regarding rules and regulations, I am confused as to why the one hour shows should be reduced. Yes- I do a one hour show and have been doing so for your years. There are several other one hour shows and they should be grandfathered as well. So that's my three cents

give me some truth said...

What I do not understand is this.

Then Alderman Rich Cahill voted against funding a handicapped restroom on City Property that
would have cost $5,000.

Then last night the same Rich Cahill was asking the current council to fund Kingston Public
Access to the tune of 10,000.

Is this a 'GOP' thing?? Am I missing
something??

So the way I understand it Rich and the Republicans don't want to fund a restroom for the disabled
but he can find the money from the
General Fund to go on KPA?

Can ANYONE defend this?? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Was the 'N' Word used?

Yes or No

That is what you want us to fund?

Anonymous said...

11:27 AM
Please re-read your post.

KCR is already a part of an existing Radio Station.

I can much easier help support my son if he lives at home with me than if I set him up in his own place and have to take on all the expenses?? GET IT...

Or try this one:
A radio station is to TV.

What a bike is to a car..GET IT

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a polarizing question has a fairly simple answer.

11,800 municipal governments around the country support their local public access FINANCIALLY one way or another.

Kingston, NY does not. WHY?

Because like the Church Lady said:
"WE'RE SPPPPPEEEECIAL"...

Bill Berardi said...

Jeremy this is payback for leaking the Mayor's Boots story. Much like undemocratic nations - our officials demand no one asks questions or scrutinize what happens.

Anonymous said...

To: 3:42 PM

It was $5,000 to ASK - the art society of kingston. If I were on the Common Council I would have voted against it too. The City gave ASK a building - I believe that the City did not have the power to just give it away to begin with. Suffice it to say ASK has generous funds in its coffers. As such, they ought to just use their own funds for handicap bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

Some posters have used the term "hate TV", and asked if the 'n' word has been used on ch. 23. Well, hear this: Here is something no one has addressed as of yet, and I assure you it's true...

Perhaps the KPA hasen't done as much, as fast as some people would like in the area of CONTENT of shows. Actually, their hands are tied by state & federal laws, but they HAVE tried, with some success, to deal with Shultis/Mohare/PCB's, etc.

If the local govt. funding stops, then the producers will have to bring their pre-recorded shows to Time-Warner and play them themselves... and in spite of a vague law that does give the cable company the right to audit the tape for content... that option will NOT be used by the cable company. They can not be sued for MONEY damages, and they know it.

Bottom line: If you were ever offended by anything you heard or saw on ch. 23... There will be NO LIMITS IMPOSED. ANYTHING will be fair game. (Anything!!)

And you were wondering about the 'n' word??!? You aint heard nothing yet!! There will be no enforced safe harbor/adult content hours. Wait till a certain person who's screen-name starts with "Yankee" hears about this.

Dont believe it?? Ask anyone who works in T-W management- off the record; they'll admit it!!

Kingston City, and the other local govt's need to help fund the KPA!

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

I never said the city should not fund a handicapped bathroom. I said that I thought the money in question would BETTER be used to fight crime. Both are good goals. For me, it was a question of priorities.

Do us all a favor and cut the bogus political spin. You're not very good at it anyway.

Anonymous said...

to 2:15 PM - You correctly noted my point, "the franchise fees are lawfully collected for the use of public right-of-ways for cable and transmission", but you are simply wrong to think the ongoing use of the right of way has been "paid for." This franchise fee is owed to the current taxpayers for current use of public right-of-ways - think of it as a sort of rent. The municipalities collect these recurring revenues because the current taxpayers are entitled to them. Any taxpayer will tell you that the revenue is appreciated because is helps to reduce the property tax levy.

The other point I made was that I believe municipalities have an obligation to support public access television as a service to the entire community. I suggest that some revenues dedicated to public access should be included as an item in every municipal budget.

I also think it is a good practice for municipalities to establish independent operating entities -- stand-alone 501c 3 not-for-profit organizations with independent governance boards -- to protect public access to eliminate the impluse that government might censor free speech or political opinions of which they disapprove.
Public access should not be a mere propaganda machine for the powers that be or that wannabe.

I have no opinion about the quality of current programming, but agree that the solution to poor quality isn't to shut KPA down. I agree that the real solution is to get better programs - and that will require an investment to improve the studio and equipment.

Anonymous said...

to 9:09 - 2:15 here - the franchise fees are being paid for by the taxpayers - it's not reducing the tax levy - it's a tax in the form of a fee. So, I wouldn't say that as a taxpayer I'm appreciative of the revenue - I paid the revenue! We're paying the tax through Time-Warner. Other than that, you and I do agree on everything else. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the budget that goes toward KPA - none of the participating communities give anything. I do know that the commission was investigating becoming a 501-C-3; I have no idea if they were successful.

Anonymous said...

Call Mayor Sottile and tell him how proud you are of our successful little down that is developing so many local businesses and provide quality homes for all of the middle/upper class hard working familes that are moving into our city every day!
Oh wait, that stuff isnt happening here, we are taxing our businesses out, supporting every social service program, developing more low income housing than any other city around us. Lets not forget the striving midtown business section that one must drive thru to get to our big attraction....the roundout waterfront! Lets all go and take a nice deep breathe and wonder why we dont develope along the river and make Kingston an attraction to passing business people and vacationers. Why cant we afford to repair our crumbling infrastructure?
Why do we have bloods and crips in our shcools?
How can there be a shooting on Stephan street, a once family oriented neighborhood, that is being ruined by slumlords and welfare.
And why is our mayor being seen around town in bars and "clubs" being an embarrasment while his city falls down around him.
Yeah lets all call and ask some questions....

Anonymous said...

to 12:56 PM (AKA 2:15) No. The franchise fees are being paid by the subscribers to Time Warner. Keep in mind that not all property taxpayers subscribe to cable television. Its hard to believe, I know... but its true. Some people would rather read the newspaper by the fire, and some don't even have a television - they have a radio.
It takes all kinds...

All property taxpayers benefit from the subscrbers who pay the franchise fees because the revenue reduces the tax levy.

I think you are mistaken when you say it's "a tax in the form of a fee." The franchise fee is a cost for the use of the public right-of-way that is paid to the municipality by the cable company and that cost is passed on to subscribers, some of whom are taxpayers.

The fact is that if you want a municipal budget allocation for public access, you will need to lobby your elected officials for it. I think local government will be improved and the public better informed if you are successful.

-the blogger formerly known as 9:09 AM

Anonymous said...

Don't forget all those who use cable for the internet. There are some people who don't watch cable television, but they are in the minority. But all the business owners, schools, government offices, etc. who have access to the internet and email generally use cable - so they're all paying also. You don't think Time-Warner is paying this fee to the city and taking a loss on it, do you? And, though you point out that not everyone is a taxpayer, if you're a renter, you're paying taxes...the only ones who don't are those who are on public assistance. So, by far the majority of subscribers are also taxpayers. The city receives almost $400K a year for this...I think they could pony up a few thou...

Anonymous said...

SAVE_US.C23

Anonymous said...

KPA is done. I am so tired of hearing that the city should pay for this. RAISE your own money. No one has given one reason why they are not able to raise the funds. Do the people that have shows on the channel even donate to it. If this channel is as great as you all say it is and is so important...wouldn't the viewers be willing to pay a dollar or two a month in tax deductible donations to fund it. We are talking about $10K. that is it....have a fundraiser see who comes. I think that would tell us how important the community actually feels this station is. My guess is that this has not happened because no one would come. I pay my franchise fee and I do not want any of it going to KPA.

UCP said...

5:15 PM I Take It. You Don’t Like Kpa!

Anonymous said...

5:15 pm
1)
You have everything you wish for.
2)
Too many questions.
3)
You still sound quite miserable.
Do you have a career in government?