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SAN FERNANDO : Chacon Interested in Televised Meetings

Following the public-access television trail blazed by cities such as Burbank and Glendale, San Fernando Councilwoman Rosa Chacon asked her colleagues Tuesday to consider airing San Fernando’s biweekly council meetings over local cable television.

“I think it would be fair, wise and would serve our constituents,” said Chacon, who noted that many people who work have difficulty attending evening City Council meetings.

Her proposal was received enthusiastically by Councilman Raul Godinez and with muted support from other council members.

Godinez suggested that the idea be explored by a citizens advisory group responsible for cable issues, and said televised meetings could create training opportunities for people interested in broadcasting.

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Councilman Doude Wysbeek said he was concerned about costs the city might incur by televising meetings. He rejected Godinez’s suggestion that the city use volunteer “apprentices” to conduct the broadcasts, saying it should be professionally run.

“And let’s have some ground rules,” he added. “When the cameras are on, everybody likes to become an actor.”

Burbank began televising council meetings seven years ago, according to Tina Staffon, video production specialist for the city. Burbank spent about $100,000 in broadcast equipment and uses part-time staffers to run programs.

Surveys in the Burbank area indicate that residents enjoy watching the wheels of municipal government turn. About 14,000 subscribers tune in regularly to view the City Council, planning board, school board and parks department meetings, Staffon said.

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