Council mulls time on TV

Glendale News Press

CITY HALL — A long-standing policy that keeps elected officials from regular air time on the city's public access channel could change heading into an election cycle after the City Council this week reopened the controversial topic.

The current policy that prohibits elected officials from appearing on the city's public access channel outside of their official duties was enacted in 2001 in response to the perceived political advantage that Councilman Dave Weaver had as host of "Weaver's Dog House," a show that adopted out shelter animals on GTV6.

Council members were prohibited from appearing on programs that were not part of their "participation in meetings, ceremonies, and/or community events," according to the policy.

A previous attempt by Councilman John Drayman in 2008 to create a television show that would feature short appearances by City Council members failed to gain traction on the dais, and on Tuesday, the City Council was once again split on the issue.

Mayor Ara Najarian said he was concerned that council appearances could be doled out inequitably, while Councilman Frank Quintero said he remained firmly opposed to any changes, which he said would always be "political in nature."

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to use these taxpayer funds on a taxpayer-funded channel to talk about my issues," Quintero said.

But Councilwoman Laura Friedman joined Drayman and Weaver in arguing that council members should at least be allowed to appear on established GTV6 programming and public service announcements.

Citing the upcoming election season, proponents of changing the policy also said incumbents could be excluded from appearances, per Drayman's original proposal.

Also taking a page from Drayman's 2008 pitch, Friedman said council members should be able to participate in GTV6 shows to increase interaction with community members and educate the community on local issues and the nonprofit community.

"To me it's not about needing to be out there or publicity," she said. "It's communication."

But Glendale resident and former City Council candidate Lenore Solis countered that changing the policy would once again bring unfair advantages in city elections.

"Can you imagine if you do go back to the way it was?" she said.

"This was the way everyone found it to be the fairest."

But nearly nine years after the policy was put in place, Weaver, who had asked for the policy to come back for consideration, argued it was time to move on.

"I understand the rationale that I was getting too much publicity . . . but what we are talking about now is totally different," Weaver said.

City officials are expected to bring potential revisions to the policy back to the council in the coming months.

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