Tuesday, November 8, 2011


SEEING- AND HEARING- IS BELIEVING: For some reason we seem to have become the clearinghouse for people calling to find out why the heck recent cablecasts of council meetings look like they were done by an aggregation of orangutans using the very first video cameras ever made.

"What the heck is with Ho`ike this time" they scream into the phone, regarding what most assume is yet another incompetent screwup by the Kaua`i public access TV outlet.

The video looks like a 10th generation re-dub and the audio sounds like it was recorded in a bathtub ever since the council moved back into the Historic County Building and the "automatic" system they had installed during the renovation was fired up.

And that's when it worked. Last week's meeting was pure torture to view with the sound of 120-decibel white noise accompanying the wide view of the panel, and the rest, when it was audible at all, was recorded at barely a whisper.

But after talking to Ho`ike Managing Director J Robertson this morning, we discovered what we suspected all along- for once Ho`ike isn't to blame.

And starting tomorrow if all goes well the "new" automated, voice-activated recording system will be scrapped in favor of the old human-driven cameras and recording devices with a real live director, Bill "BC" Charles, at the helm.

According to Robertson, he met with Council Chair Jay Furfaro last week and Furfaro has agreed to scrub the new installation that was initiated by former Council Chair Kaipo Asing.

Seems Asing thought that system used in courts was the cat's meow so had it ordered and installed without consulting Robertson or anyone else who understood anything about video.

"It's certainly not broadcast quality" Robertson said, understating the look of the JAVS system and explaining that the cost for decent cameras wouldn't have been very much more.

"I wish they would have worked with us," he said.

But while we had the near-impossible-to-reach Robertson on the phone, we asked another question that has been a matter of discontent for many- why the meetings can't be cablecast live like the rest of the country.

When Time Warner took over the local cable system, they finally finished constructing what is known as the "I-Net" which connects government facilities to the public access's "head end" where they send their signal from.

Roberson said it connects the Historic County Building with the administrative offices in the Round Building and surrounding offices as well as all the fire stations, the police and courts complex, all the county neighborhood centers and schools.
But he says, the reason he can't use it is because the administration has refused to let him have access to the signal from the council and planning and police commission meetings.

He says he tried for years when Erik Knutzen was the county IT chief but that Knutzen told him- as he had told us- that both former Mayor Bryan Baptiste and current Mayor Bernard Carvalho wouldn't let them have the live signal, which has been viewable live in administrative offices for many years now.

Robertson said he talked to Furfaro about using the I-Net to put live meetings on Ho`ike and that Furfaro seemed receptive to the idea of just cutting the administration out as a "middleman" and making the signal available directly from the council to Ho`ike.

So are we counting on viewable council meetings beginning tomorrow or live ones in the near future?

What are we- freakin' idiots?

No, that's a question that only someone who has never dealt with the council or Ho`ike would ask expecting a positive response. As usual we'll believe it when we see it.

No comments: