In June, when the mayor, Jeffery Jones, delivered his State of the City Address — city’s equivalent of State of the Union speech — only a small number of people gathered at the Paterson Cable Studio to watch the speech live, the rest watched it on public access channel or so some will have us think. Same is true of city council deliberations, every week the city council meetings are put on public access television which is only accessible by Cablevision customers, and not all residents of Paterson.
There are countless numbers of residents who have Verizon who lack access to the channels where important city matters are put on for the public. We contacted Verizon to find out the total number of customers with its television service, but it was unable to provide us with the data citing, “our competitors would love to have that information”.
Every city resident should, whether they want to or not, have access to public meetings, but that is no longer the case; granted, prior to Fios TV, most residents had Cable, and therefore it was unnecessary to broadcast anywhere else.
With that problem in mind, it would be prudent for the city to broadcast all its happenings on the internet, be it on YouTube or another video service or on its own website, so that all residents have access.
President Barack Obama has his own YouTube channel where a large collection of his speeches are posted for public benefit as well as for his reelection; The White House has a channel as well with the same purpose in mind: to inform the public.
It would be wise for Patersonians to lobby local representatives to push for an online place where all government deliberations are posted including speeches made by the mayor and the city council.
The present situation deprives those who wish to watch public deliberations, but do not have a cable subscription, of the chance to be informed of local politics.
A representative of Verizon told us there are “plans to launch two public access channels for Paterson some time during the first half of 2013.”
Paterson needs to do what other levels of the government are already doing; it can no longer wish to keep residents in the dark by broadcasting important meetings on an anachronistic platform as it has been doing for some years. Maybe it’s time for the city to sign up for a YoutTube account.