Axing Public Access

As we’ve now been informed, Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean has to cut more than $50 million from the county budget. Among the unkindest cuts: nearly 500 positions and a 25 percent reduction in subsidies to county-supported nonprofit agencies.

And more. Including funding ($519,000) for the Tampa Educational Cable Consortium and the Tampa Bay Community Network – aka Public Access ($355,000).

Two points.

It would be a shame to lose the Educational Channel which, in addition to televising school board meetings, also carries children’s programming and homework help. Hopefully, the county broadcast station, HTV, can pick up enough slack.

As to Public Access, we could likely manage well without it – even amid declamations that this is an affront to free speech and a frontal assault on the First Amendment. Be honest. There’s a reason why you don’t watch it. It gives fringe goof balls a forum and tedium a bad name.

Chances are democracy will survive without Chuck Roast, the Step N Style Skaters, the Allah Hour and Arrogance Time with Joe Redner. But at least White Chocolate had his run.

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