Tuesday, October 18, 2011


ANOTHER REVOLTING DEVELOPMENT: There's an old joke about two guys trying out a new restaurant and when they get their orders and dig in, the first one says "yuck- this food is awful." His friend looks up and stops chewing just long enough to say "yeah- and such small portions."

That pretty much sums up the situation with the Kaua`i County Council's newfangled automatic video recording system which apparently not only produces a washed-out picture and garbled, barely-audible sound, but doesn't automatically produce an end-product that Ho`ike Community Television can actually use on their equipment.

According to Ho`ike last Wednesday’s (October 12) Council Committee meeting is still not being cable cast six days later because council services can't seem to produce and bring them a usable DVD copy for playback.

When the council moved back into the Historic County Building after another renovation- the last one having been done in the 90's- they had installed an automatic recording system with fixed cameras and microphones that no longer block the view of the council for attendees.

But in addition to apparently skimping on the quality of the equipment, they also failed to remember to do it all in a way that produces a DVD for Ho`ike playback when the session is done. Rather, according to Ho`ike, the system only produces a digital version in the recorder.

How hard would it be to do what consumers do at home and simultaneously record the proceedings in real time on a DVD recorder? Who was the Brianiac who didn't understand that the process doesn't end with the recording of the meetings but with the successful TV transmission to the viewers?

According to Ho`ike their phone has been ringing off the hook with a slew of people calling to ask those same questions- and complain that the picture and sound on the Oct. 5 meeting doesn't even look as good as those recordings made on the slowest speed of the first consumer Betamaxes ever produced.

For once our presumption that Ho`ike was to blame apparently was off-base, although when we called a week ago Friday to ask about the Oct 5 meeting they said they didn’t know why they hadn't gotten the DVD from the council and asked us to call and find out why. When we asked sarcastically if that was now our job, we got the customary "click" we're used to from Ho`ike.

But the real idiocy is that even with this new system and the apparent rewiring of the whole Historic County Building, the meetings are still not aired live on television via the same system that pipes it into the county's administrative offices across the street in the round building. That might actually make public testimony via telephone possible, as is the case in many jurisdictions across the country. And we couldn't have that and continue to lag at least a decade behind the times when it comes to public access to government.

Oh yeah- and despite the fact that the council appropriated a new staff position this fiscal year just to post on-line the paperwork that accompanies the weekly agenda you still need to drive to Lihu`e to get it.

As usual, the nauseating fare proffered at Cafe Council Kaua`i is lacking in sufficiency. And we don't expect that to change anytime soon. Perhaps a last line should be added to our old joke... "and it took so long for the waiter to get it here."

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