Too good for cable?

Published:

What an extraordinary notion!

The Frankfort Plant Board once upon a time the Frankfort Electric and Water Plant Board but now merely FPB the agency that instituted local cable television broadcasts more than 30 years ago, put meetings of the City Commission, Fiscal Court and school boards on Cable 10 for all to see, has decided that its own public meetings are inappropriate for television.

Have we somehow missed an important news story? Has the Plant Board been bought by a private company and its owners the taxpayers of this community not informed?

Otherwise, we must inform Plant Board Chairman Joe Smith, Vice Chairman Sheila Burton and Secretary Michael Dudgeon that the Plant Board is, in fact, a public agency, and that the most effective way of keeping the public informed about its business is by allowing the Plant Boards own cable TV division to broadcast its meetings into the homes and businesses of this community.

Otherwise, the logical question is what they have to hide?

Only Plant Board members Ann Wingrove and Bennie Maffet supported the publics right to see the meetings on cable.

No, theres no law that requires televising meetings in the way the state Open Meetings Statute requires Plant Board meetings be open to the public and press. But to argue that the Plant Board is somehow different from the City Commission is absurd. To argue that televising its meetings threatens to expose proprietary information, as Burton suggested this week, is to ignore the fact that, with the exception of its telephone service, the Plant Board enjoys an absolute monopoly on electric, water and cable television services, a monopoly that the people who pay for those services granted long ago and, under the right circumstances, a monopoly those same people can take away.

Given that rates for those various services have been steadily climbing on a regular basis in recent years, this hide-from-the-public-eye attitude by three of the Boards five members is especially troubling.

It represents an arrogant attitude that the Plant Board can do what it wants when it wants, and the public that owns the utility be damned.

Thats hardly appropriate when the public is being asked to accept higher fees for water and cable television.

Those marketing calls from the Dish Network may become a lot more popular in Frankfort than the camera shy Plant Board would like.

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