I got the following email from Councilman Yoshimoto in reply to the same letter that I sent to Councilman Yagong that I blogged about earlier.
This is Councilman Jon Yoshimoto’s response to Live Streaming:
Thank you for your email. We are in the process of looking into having live streaming video of our council meetings that could possibly result in considerable savings to the county.
Here lies the problem so Kenneth Goodenow states:
Thanks for taking the time to think of this. Actually, we have looked at free-streaming. Corporation Counsel gave the go ahead, regarding advertising being done on the site, but the problem is ADA requirements for live transcriptions – both Corporation Counsel and HR have advised that it would be dangerous not to provide for live transcriptions as these are official meetings. This would add significantly to the cost and is not part of our current RFP that includes transcription for delayed broadcasts. Earlier this year we determined we would should wait and go out for a new RFP to take into account live transcription (and other matters relating to our new location and the possibility of an automatic camera system, etc.) when our current contract expires 06 /30/10.
But Wait just a minute… Goodenow already said ADA wasn’t the problem in a response to the Big Island Chronicle’s inquiry on March 24th:
The previous clerk’s policy was not to respond to postings on blogs. I’m not sure if I want to get into that habit as well. Despite that, since you have requested a response, here is one:
I agree that the ADA doesn’t mandate that live hearings have transcriptions for captioning (though this is not entirely clear – our lawyers tell me is that if the cost burden is weighed and found to be unreasonable, we can forgo the captioning). If, however, the transcripts are to be kept for reviewing as was part of the request for proposals that was conducted by the Purchasing Division of the Finance Department with the specifications as provided last year, then transcripts or captioning are needed (the idea for web-casting first came up as an idea to provide archives via the internet which could be searched by subject matter or bill, resolution or communication number). As we already have a contract that includes transcription for captioning (not instantaneous), we would have to either modify our existing contract with Out of the Sea (if found by the Finance Department not to violate the Procurement Code) or wait for their contract to end and go out for a new RFP. This route was decided as there were other options to consider such as the design of the new council chamber, software designed for legislative bodies going paperless, voice activated cameras, etc. The $12,000 per year figure we received was the lowest bid on the request for proposal sent out by the Purchasing Division.
So I replied back to Goodenow and Yagong the following:
The live streams DO NOT require ADA mandates. The State LEGISLATURE BROADCASTS AND STREAMS LIVE MEETINGS W/OUT THESE MANDATES… WHY SHOULD Hawaii County Council?
Council Meetings are streamed live all across this country on the internet.
Is there something I’m not understanding?
“Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service, you can get audio transcribed for less than $1 a minute with a 24-hour or less turnaround” and have that on the site as well!
Folks… I really don’t like getting the run around!