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GLENDALE : Council Meetings May Air on Cable

October 18, 1994|STEVE RYFLE

Current and past members of the Glendale City Council have long had an aversion to broadcasting their business on the small screen, but come February that could all change.

The council is expected to approve an $85,000 contract today to install television cameras in the council chambers and hire a private firm to direct the weekly telecasts of its meetings over Sammons Communications cable system.

"I think it's a good investment in democracy," said Mayor Eileen Givens, who included broadcasting council meetings on cable in her campaign platform when she ran for election in 1991.

In recent years, residents and community activists have occasionally called for the council to begin televising its meetings just as Burbank, Los Angeles and other cities do. In 1992, the city manager's office even conducted a survey showing that more than half the cities similar in size to Glendale in the Los Angeles area televise their council meetings.

Most council members fiercely opposed the idea because they believed the cost was prohibitive. But attitudes have shifted since the April, 1993, elections, when three incumbents--all of whom were against televising the meetings--retired from office and were replaced by new members.

Earlier this year, council members approved a study of the costs, set aside $100,000 in the budget for the project and then solicited proposals from contractors interested in airing the broadcasts.

The council will vote today on awarding the job to Burbank-based Studio Spectrum, which has proposed installing a robotically controlled four-camera system in the council chambers. The company will also provide two portable camera systems for remote filming of city-related programs and will upgrade the audio components in council chambers, officials said.

"Essentially I think this is the right thing to do, and as it turns out it is also affordable," Givens said.

Once the system has been installed, the weekly council meetings will be broadcast live at 2 p.m. Tuesdays and rebroadcast later in the week during the evenings, officials said.

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