Last week the Board of Selectmen rejected a request by the Rational Taxpayers of Hampton to hold a public access TV show on Channel 22. The rationale is that the cable TV channel 22 is for governmental use only, as defined in the now expired Comcast contract which the Board of Selectmen extended indefinitely a few months ago.
Why is this language of Prohibition in the contract? Should a local public TV contract which does not create a dedicated public access channel also Prohibit the public from accessing the channels it does create?
The Prohibitive contract language was a convenient way to prevent RTOH from airing its views, but that same language has not prevented certain Selectmen favorites from getting access with seeming ease many times. Cases in point include the Christmas Parade, High School Sports, Beach Talent Contests est. Is this board afraid of what we have to say? Is it afraid the people could become involved in important issues the Selectmen do not want the public to know about?
We had an appointment met with the Board of Selectmen once this year on their calendar and our agenda was limited to one subject although there were many that we wanted to discuss. The topic was the Cable TV Fund and the excessive amount of cash being generated by it. We recommended that there should be a reduction of the fees that Comcast subscribers pay. While the board agreed with the concept the subject was kicked down the road to whenever…..
It was also suggested that if we have anything else to say do it in 3 minutes during public comment.
RTOH has a number of ideas relating to the prudent use of expenditures and revenue enhancements that the Town should consider. The Taxpayers seem to be of no interest to the Board otherwise there would be discussion and action on a number of pending items. With more debt being absorbed by the Town and its subsequent cost to the Taxpayers we would think that this board would welcome fresh ideas/discussions instead of the Prohibition.
Ironically last week there was a discussion about recycling and the current changes in the market as the Chinese have changed their standards on what recyclables they will buy, which is a serious problem and affecting the entire system of recycling. Mr. Jacobs indicated that the public needs to be educated but it was the majority of the current BOS who voted to dismiss the Recycling Committee along with the Energy Committee and supported disbanding the Budget Committee. The recycling problem is going to become a significant environmental and economic issue requiring creative ideas to solve it. These are prime examples of shortsightedness and the suppression of opportunities for meaningful input from the citizens.
There is an expression about Taking a Village to raise a child perhaps it should be rewritten to state it “takes a village to run a town”. There are many talented people in Hampton who I am sure would enjoy providing their input as a means of community service, it would do well to broaden not shrink inputs.