The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Down the rabbit hole with Plainfield's cable TV advisory committee



In Trenton, Gov. Corzine said New Jersey faces a $1.2B deficit because of the economy.

In Newark, several mayors gathered to sharpen President-elect Obama's focus on urban problems.

In Plainfield, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs put out a basket of snacks.

For the members of the Cable TV Advisory Committee.

It was another night down the rabbit hole in Plainfield, as I attended the
Cable TV Advisory Committee's meeting.

The committee -- which for a good portion of the meeting was outnumbered by visitors -- seemed dispirited and frustrated.

There did not appear to be an agenda. There is no current chairperson.

At some point after the meeting's desultory start, a door opened and Mayor Robinson-Briggs entered, wordlessly, placing a basket of cello-wrapped snacks on the table and then leaving.

The laptop presentation by the city's public information officer (PIO) was interrupted more than once by committee member Dottie Gutenkauf over errors --
  • a missing 'R' in the word 'PRESENT',
  • inconsistent spelling of the Mayor's last name (with or without a hyphen?),
  • was another person's last name spelt correctly ('I'm not sure.').
I was stunned by the PIO's attempt to brush it all off by saying that the presentation was meant for the committee only and was not being put up for public viewing.

That makes it better?

It wasn't hard to see why the committee feels frustrated --
  • the ball evidently was dropped by the person who said they would see that the committee got a list of its own members and none was forthcoming;
  • the list of grant monies for PCTV74 that the PIO was supposed to provide also was not gotten;
  • the members weren't even sure everyone had received a notice of the meeting.
Some kvetching was done about perennial issues with Comcast -- prices, channels. But I have been unable to find out whether the Robinson-Briggs administration ever gave the committee a charge to review the Comcast franchise, a process which was to be completed by this past July and seems not to have been done.

To have to have a discussion about lighting and sound issues with regard to prototyping taping Council meetings only revealed the technological abyss at our public access station.

I left the meeting during this discussion. It's no wonder the committee is dispirited.

Meanwhile, the snacks were untouched.



-- Dan Damon

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the PIC presentation was just like the Budget presentations. Why would the citizens of Plainfield think they are getting any kind of service or attention, when the administration puts up with mediocre and sloppy work. Vote next year for change.

binkysmst said...

more missing grant money... I am very nervous about grant monies that Plainfield has recieved in the past and have lost in the present...fueled by what has happened with Dudley House. Also, I was elated to be notified that Verizon Fios has come to my block but disapponted to see that PCTV 74 was not in the channel line-up, while many other local communities have local channels in the line-up. Carrie Faraone

Anonymous said...

Dottie Gutenkauf has been a champion of this administration's ineptitude. Glad to see she in't drinking as much of the koolaid as before. Why hasn't the board said anything about the blatant partisan electioneering on Ch. 74 by Jerry Green and the mayor? Many people have spoken about this. The city council has not spoken out about it and the PIO is clearly incompetent and completely out of her depth. How can you possibly make such lame excuses at a meeting to which the public has a right to attend? What's with the mayor giving out a GIFT BASKET?? What about the cable franchise discussion??