Thursday, March 26, 2015

Housing Authority Meetings Must Air on SFGovTV

Here's a real head-scratcher. Housing, the lack or high price or construction or maintenance of, has been a top concern of many in San Francisco for quite some time, yet the Housing Authority meetings are not broadcast on SFGovTV's various media platforms.

As part of my learning curve up about Mission and Citywide housing matters, I wanted to watch the SFHA meetings and get up to speed on their agenda and discovered the meetings are not aired on TV, the web or archived for video-on-demand viewing at SFGovTV's site.

According to a distressingly snarky February column in the SF Chronicle by Heather Knight, the SFHA's budget is around $45 million and she recounts numerous problems with past executives, failures to maintain City-owned housing including keeping elevators operating, lawsuits and thousands of tenant complaints. Knight shed light on lack of transparency:

"What happened to the plan to televise Housing Authority Commission meetings like so many other rarely watched government get-togethers on SFGTV? [sic] Nothing. The commission meets in a room at City Hall that doesn’t have the wiring. So, sadly, the agency remains less transparent than it could be and you still cannot watch the meetings from the comfort of your (hopefully cockroach-free) home."

First of all, can Knight back up her claim of rarely watched hearings? Second, regardless of Nielsen ratings and online viewing, government transparency isn't about entertaining the masses.

Third, how about the Chronicle and housing rights, tenant and homeless advocacy groups, the Harvey Milk and Alice B. Toklas Democratic Clubs, members of the Board of Supervisors pressure the SFHA to take the radical step of simply getting another room at City Hall with cameras?

If the issue is scheduling of rooms with wiring and there not being enough such rooms, how about the Supervisors and Mayor allocate funds, maybe solicit underwriting from Tech Inc, and make _every_ City Hall meeting room camera-equipped?

Seems like a no-brainer for The City That Knows How to make 2015 the year in which _every_ City commission and body hold their meetings at City Hall and that they air on SFGovTV.

If SFGovTV is able to broadcast and archive the Entertainment Commission, the Commission on the Environment, the Disaster Council, the Mayor's Disability Council, the Transportation Authority Vision Zero Committee and other panels, and practically every photo-op of the Mayor's when he's cutting ribbons, then our elected official must endeavor to air Housing Authority meetings also.

No comments: