The Power of Access TV, and why Medford has no public station
OpEd by Joe Viglione
The Radio / TV Cable Advisory Commission has been in existence about a year now, more or less. It’s hard to tell as the mixing of educational access with what is supposed to be monies designated for public television has muddied the waters. Which is exactly the intention of a mayor, Stephanie Muccini-Burke, terrified of the First Amendment and freedom of the press.
The Open Meeting Law, according to our state, “requires that most meetings of public bodies be held in public. If you have questions about the Open Meeting Law, you may contact the Division of Open Government at (617) 963-2540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.” So why is it that on June 14th, after this journalist uncovered this secret society, the Radio / TV Cable Advisory Commission, Breanna Lungo Koehn and Michael Marks of the City Council and Mea Mustone of the Medford School Committee all told me that they didn’t know of any such “Advisory Commission.” Councilor Lungo-Koehn immediately requested information at the council, while I utilized the Freedom of Information Act and filed a public records request.
Let me preface the information received with the fact that I met with three of the commissioners, including former TV3 Vice President Paul Gerety, and they all told me it was a cable TV committee. We discussed public access, not the educational aspect of it. This is a very important point.
Alicia Palmer, the high school’s Public Records Access Officer, wrote this in response to my FOIA request: The Media Advisory Committee to which you refer is a Chapter 74 Advisory Committee for Vocational Education. It is not the Cable Advisory Committee/Board for Public Access. The Public Access Advisory Board has yet to be appointed and established.”
The Public Records Access Officer did not give me ANY documentation, just an essay, and that is in violation of the public records law which requires documents, not hot air. Here is what was requested:
Under the Massachusetts Public Records Act § 66-10 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that contain:
1)All evidence of posting open meetings of the Radio / TV Advisory Committee
a)Where at City Hall and in the newspaper(s) these meetings were published for the benefit of the public.
b)evidence (a photo will do) that the postings were made public
2)All evidence that the Radio / TV Advisory Committee adhered to the open meeting law
Instead I received a threat from Superintendent Belson that he was going to file a complaint on me, and this gem which followed from Ms. Palmer:
I cannot find anything posted on the school calendar and do not think that posting on a calendar would satisfy the open meeting law. The admission that they will post in the future indicates that without my hard work and honest efforts on this, the self-serving mayor and school superintendent would have gotten away with keeping the access TV situation in the dark.
December 7, 2016 the Medford Transcript printed this: “Medford broke ground on a new access TV studio Tuesday, nearly two years after the city announced plans to build the studio at Medford Vocational/Technical High School.” A March 2016 school committee meeting had promises from former Voc/Tech Dr. Heidi Riccio that the access station would open in September of 2016, Mayor Burke corrected her and said October of 2016, a visit to Superintendent Belson had him tell this writer it would be January 2017, and now we are in the middle of an election and there is still no word on the public access TV that city hall has a serious problem with: free speech, freedom of the press, citizens as news gatherers.
As Mayor of Medford I will fulfill the obligations to cable TV subscribers that Muccini-Burke and Michael J. McGlynn intentionally dragged their feet on for their own, private access and to ensure their Medford Media Blackout would stay in place.
My name is Joe Viglione, candidate for Mayor of Medford.