Ron Cooper joined with executive directors from PEG Access organizations in Marin, San Jose, Monterey, Gilroy, Palo Alto and Sacramento based consultant Sue Buske asking California Senator Barbara Boxer’s office for legislative help in Congress. The leaders met with Jennifer Tang, Senior Field Representative and Hillary Bishop Pearson, Special Projects Director for Senator Boxer in their San Francisco office on June 10 to discuss the CAP Act.
Currently, the Community Access Preservation Act (CAP) is moving through the House of Representatives, sponsored by Wisconsin Democrat Tammie Baldwin. HR 3745 will help PEG access throughout the nation by offering protections from “channel slamming” (placing access channels on digital tiers not available to all homes) and also identify dedicated funding for PEG access channels operations and capital expenditures. In California alone, more than 40 communities have lost or severely reduced funding for their PEG access organizations.
In his presentation to the Senator’s staff, Cooper emphasized the diversity of voices on the Access Sacramento channels. “More than 25% of our daily programming is in languages other than English. If these funds are diverted, there are no local alternatives for these communities and these voices and their programs would disappear. As a nation, we need more examples from California. Our great state welcomes ethnic differences and celebrates various cultures. The California PEG channels are a celebration of tolerance and understanding. We need Senator Boxer to be a champion of identical legislation in the Senate.”
Tang and Pearson assured the group that their recommendations would be forwarded to the Senator as well as the group’s invitation to visit the communities and appear on their channels.