Dear Viewers of HomeTowne Television & Citizens of Summit–
By popular demand, HomeTowne Television is pleased to announce that we will host a Summit Candidates Forum for Election 2011. Plans are in motion to assemble all the candidates for both Mayor and Council into separate sessions for our viewers and voters to compare and contrast their choices side-by-side in preparation for making their informed choices come Tuesday, November 8th, i.e. Election Day. At HomeTowne TV we are committed to providing the most up to date and comprehensive information on important local events.
In the interim, unfortunately, misinformation has been injected into the local media via a public e-mail. The public deserves to know the truth regarding Ms. Phyllis Sank’s public allegations against HomeTowne Television received from her via e-mail the night of Sunday October 23, 2011. So to the facts:
· The League of Women Voters & SPEAK UP Summit are hosting a Candidates Forum on Saturday, October 29th for the Summit Candidates, an event which most likely takes months to plan. As of October 24th – five days before this event - HomeTowne Television has not been requested to film this forum from officials of either the LWV or SPEAK UP Summit;
· Given that this is a really important event in a critical election, the first time I read of this Candidates Forum was this past weekend in the October 19th edition of The Independent Press. And as of October 24th, this event was not on the calendars of Summit.Patch.Com nor TAP;
· HTTV did provide the Summit candidates a chance to speak to the public free of charge with Public Service Announcements that were filmed during September and since then have aired numerous times.
· HTTV will be providing this pro bono public service yet again for closing comments in the final days of this Election 2011 from each and all candidates;
· We are a Local Access station, not Public Access (Comcast TV-96 is the public access channel) which is an important distinction because we are governed by different rules. We may not accept advertisers as a method of funding our station and are not obligated to film public events, even when we have been advised they are happening. Our funding comes from the generosity of members, foundations, local governments, sponsors and paid for programming. Our Board of Trustees is comprised of dedicated volunteers. We do our best to meet the needs of the citizens within the communities we serve;
· HomeTowne Television’s policy and practice is to provide objective information from all sides of an issue affecting the lives of our viewers and their families. We look to empower the citizens of our community so that they may make their preferences known within the context of factual information. Civility in public discourse is key. To ensure that we live up to these policies, board members of HTTV conduct any candidate interviews as well as candidate debates. We applaud any and all organizations that choose to do the same.
In Ms. Sank’s letter wherein she indicates her title as“Communications Director, Summit Democrats Campaign”, there were unfortunately additional errors regarding people’s specific roles. So again, to the facts:
· Frank Macioce who currently serves as Executive Vice President, Governance & Policy of HomeTowne Television, is not serving as Ellen Dickson’s Campaign Chair;
· Regarding my party affiliation, I am officially “Unaffiliated” aka Independent. Previously – at different times in my life - I have been officially registered as Democrat or Republican. Go figure.
· It is correct that I conducted the interviews with all the candidates this autumn, as I have for Summit since 2004. This year in addition, Paul Dillon – the Summit Democrats Campaign Chair for their 2011 ticket – requested as well that I conduct all interviews.
· Dan Baer who currently serves as HomeTowne’s Executive Vice President, Community Relations, was chosen by Paul Dillon among several HomeTowne Trustees to host the interviews of the Democratic Ticket during this past summer. Ms. Sank’s patronizing comment about our colleague Dan Baer was inappropriate and unkind.
As Summit’s local access station, our all volunteer board is pleased to serve the public. As mentioned at the start of this letter, HomeTowne Television is willing to host and air a forum of the Summit Candidates in the closing days of the election when positions on issues have been well honed and when voter interest is at a peak. Our goal, simply stated, is objectivity and viewer interest.
The issues we face as a city should be the point of discussion. I firmly believe that concerned citizens focused on the best interest of Summit should be governing local government, irrespective of their party. We are glad to set the record straight.
Our best to all candidates during the closing days of Election 2011, with a request to our viewers and voters to be informed on the candidates and their positions. And by all means, come Tuesday, November 8th, get to the election polls and vote.
Fred Honold, President
HomeTowne Television – Your Neighborhood Network
Comcast TV-36 & Verizon TV-33