Eight months after saying they would consider broadcasting their meetings on cable television, City Council members voted unanimously this week to do it. But no starting date was set.
Instead, the council asked Assistant City Manager Ray Griest to study the cost of a two-camera live broadcasting system and come back with a recommendation in two to three weeks.
In discussing the merits of live telecasts versus videotapes, Councilwoman Marcia Martin asked whether a videotape could be edited to remove potentially sensitive situations, such as a citizen causing a scene in council chambers.
“The taping provides you with the ability to edit,” Griest replied.
Councilman Jack Chapman said there could be legal problems with editing if the tape was considered a public record. “Assuming it is, it can’t be altered,” he said.
After agreeing on a live system, the council discussed what kind of cameras and equipment were necessary. The city staff report prepared by Griest suggested a three-camera system.
The report estimated that system’s first-year cost at $47,420, including cameras, videotape equipment, maintenance and personnel costs.
Chapman and Councilman Ron Cawdrey said Century Cable of Southern California--which has the cable franchise in Redondo Beach--should pay for the equipment.
“Century Cable does not have the necessary equipment, and there is no reason to believe that Century would be willing to get it,” City Manager Tim Casey said.
Councilman Archie Snow then asked if a two-camera live option was available to save costs.
The broadcasting of meetings has been an issue since last August, when the council at first decided not to do it, then banned others from taping its meetings, and then decided to study the matter amid public outcry over the taping ban.
Ann Baker, a housewife who inspired the former videotaping ban when she tried to tape the council’s meetings for her Neighborhood Watch group, attended the council’s meeting Tuesday and expressed cautious satisfaction with the outcome.
“I think it’s great. I just wonder how long it’s going to take, because it took them nine months just to get the report back,” she said.