Monday Morning the State House Will Try To Freeze Funds for Public Media
News release from Akaku Maui Community Television
Using the same closed door tactic employed on the eve of Super Bowl weekend, House Committees on FINANCE and LEGISLATIVE MANAGEMENT announced late Friday evening that they will hold a hearing at 10:00 AM Monday morning on a bill (HB2874) RELATING TO BROADBAND that will freeze funding for Public Access TV and for Hawaii Public Television at 2011 levels. This late notice once again, will have a chilling effect on gathering public testimony.
This means the state will take any future money that is supposed to Support Your Voice and put it into a slush fund to buy laptops for public schools. The irony of this horrible proposal is that Public Access Stations like Akaku on Maui have internet education programs in place that are in the forefront of broadband adoption nationwide. We are currently deploying broadband technology and curricula that are light years ahead of anything public schools are doing including deploying state of the art equipment that exceeds anything a laptop can do. This broadband adoption effort is open to all youth in Maui County from ages 10-25 and extends well beyond the confines of any classroom.
Not only that, we are at the verge of exporting this progressive learning model to our educational partners statewide and are actively investigating the possibility of creating broadband infrastructure build outs for rural areas that will be superior to anything offered by Time Warner Cable or anybody else. House Bill 2874, by robbing Peter to pay Paul, takes resources and growth away from the real broadband innovators and trainers, Hawaii's PEG Access centers, and puts these much needed funds into a black hole of underperforming state education coffers who, due to bureaucratic and other priorities, do not have the ability to innovate even if they wanted to. It should also be pointed out that for several years now, our public schools already receive millions and millions of dollars of cable franchise PEG funds with little or no accountability for these funds.
If House members are really interested in creating a real world model to increase broadband adoption and meet the lofty goals outlined in the Hawaii Broadband Initiative, it might consider an amendment to direct the DCCA to raise the current franchise fee assessment to 5% and to increase, not limit, funding to island PEG entities for purposes of broadband education.
Please let Maui Representative Kyle Yamashita and members of the House FINANCE and LEGISLATIVE MANAGEMENT Committees know that you oppose this legislation and urge them to VOTE NO on Monday.
ACT NOW: CLICK HERE TO TELL YOUR REPS
Related: Akaku Claims Victory over HB2652 cut to Public Access TV