FREE PRESS — L.A. Weekly reports that if everything unfolds as planned, on January 1, Time Warner, which owns more than 90 percent of the cable-television market in Los Angeles, will walk away from operating 12 public-access studios in L.A, which help everyday people to create hundreds of hours of content on 11 freewheeling, neighborhood-based public channels.
Villaraigosas bureaucrats have produced a 19-page position paper that obliterates all talk of community-wide impact and is far more interested in detailing how City Hall can benefit from the demise of public access. Sources tell L.A.Weekly that plans were squelched, internally, for producing a 60-page City Hall report addressing the potential negative impact on dozens of citizen-produced shows like Etopia News, the Stanley Dyrector Show, Soul & Sound of Watts, Politics Matter, Knowledge Is Power, the Johnny Jay Show, Community Wrap-up, East L.A. After Dark, Catch the Vision, Neighborhood Point of View and All My Relations Television. In L.A., the PEG community Public, Education and Government channels will emerge as EG.
As an update today notes, Leslie Dutton's Full Disclosure Web site reports that veteran free speech advocate and L.A. political powerbroker Stanley Sheinbaum has written a letter to California Attorney General Jerry Brown, asking the AG to intervene to prevent the plug being pulled.
UPDATE: As noted in the comment by Kimo Crossman, San Francisco and all other cable TV cities face the loss of public access channels as well. The immediate threat in San Francisco is a budget cut, according to Access SF.
The reason for the cut is due to the passage of the new state-wide cable franchising law called DIVCA, which ends local cable franchises and eliminates the requirement that cable operators provide operations funding to cities to fund public access.
The Department of Telecommunications and Information Services (DTIS) of the City and County of San Francisco (the City department that manages and funds access) wants to redefine access in a way that access can operate with limited or no funding.
Redefining public access may mean loss of training opportunities and greatly reduced or no access to facilities.