by Jim Nintzel
Access Tucson has announced via e-mail that it is extending its shutdown in light of city funding cuts:
On January 27th Access Tucson announced that facilities would be closed February 10th through March 9th to save money and allow Access Tucson the time to work with the City of Tucson on a plan that keeps public access alive.
The City promised to move quickly. The City Manager's recommendation to keep Access Tucson operating was supposed to go to the Mayor and Council by February 23rd but did not; it has been put on the Council agenda for this coming Tuesday, March 9th during their study session at 11am.
The result of this two-week delay: Access Tucson will now remain closed through March 23rd.
Every week that there is a delay in resolving the problem
of having all funding cut is a week that:
There will be no new shows because no cameras, microphones or lights will be checked out, and there will be no editing time.
There will be no studio productions, which means 108 new shows will not be produced or aired.
There will be no local community affairs programming produced.
There will be no local event coverage.
There will be no classes for media and internet training.
There will be no youth programs.
Encore programming continues... for now, but public access is in real jeopardy.
Without continuation funding, Public Access facilities will remain closed-and the public voice on the airwaves is lost. Don't let city inaction push your voice-and that of other people-off the airwaves.
Please take a moment to:
1. Sign on to an online petition being circulated by public access producers asking the Council to restore Access Tucson funding immediately.
2. Contact the Mayor and Council to let them know why community media is important to you.
Let the Mayor and Council know that you:
Understand that the city is required to provide public access under its own cable ordinance; that Cox Cable subscribers pay a monthly $1.38 fee that would appear to provide funding for Public, Education, and Government (PEG) access channels.
Support efforts to find cost-conscious solutions that maximize resources for our community and that an acceptable solution will ensure that public access (Access Tucson) receives no less than the same resources as government access (Tucson 12). Keep both the City's voice AND the people's voice alive and well.
Ask that continuation funding be provided to Access Tucson, to keep the programming going while longer term solutions such as co-locating or combining public and government access are being sought.
3. Join the growing list of people who financially support Access Tucson.