The League of Women Voters finds SB 959 preferable to H.B. 784 on the same issue. We are not convinced that the equal division of the money received from the cable companies necessarily promotes equality among the three entities. I can’t speak with the expertise of those who are working intimately with the access stations, however we have not heard any complaints on Oahu where, as I understand it, the allocation is more flexible, with ‘Olelo providing resources and expertise to the other to the education and government entities.
We cannot, in the process of dividing the money available, weaken the public access part of the PEG program. We need to remember that the Public access part, the closest counterpart of which might be the Letters to the Editor columns of newspapers and magazines, is about the only forum provided for individual members of the public and groups to telecast their messages to the public. Newspapers and magazines may select those which they publish, but the public access stations must accept all. It is the public’s soap box.
While the Education and Government entities have the advantage of having buildings, and other resources available in implementing their part of the PEG program, the public part had to start from scratch.
PEG on Maui has the disadvantage of a smaller base of cable customers. The funding is so small that dividing it into equal thirds, we believe, would be devastating to Akaku. We hope that the entities on Maui will be able to find some satisfactory solution.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify.