Updated: Jul 19, 2019
When the PCTV Director argued that livestreaming was infeasible in the current board room, trustees Miyamoto and Deerfield each provided a reasonable alternative. Both alternatives were squashed by President Blake.
Trustee Nina Deerfield asked (again) to post the District's audio files of each meeting with an accompanying transcript on the website.
President Joi Lin Blake's abridged response to Trustee Deerfield's inquiry was another false obstacle. "Let me follow up with Debra [Doerfler] because I believe there was an issue with the captioning, that's why she didn't post it. She was supposed to post it, but we were going to post it with the caption. I think that was the delay.........She is working with the captioning department to look at the cost. So she's looking at the cost....I know there was a cost issue. So she was trying to resolve that." (the full transcript is here).
Trustee Deerfield retorted that President Blake promised to post them two months ago. President Blake's response was another empty promise to follow-up with Debra Doerfler. In fact, Nina Deerfield had been pressing President Blake for many months to get the District to post the audio files with transcripts to increase accessibility. In April, the excuse President Blake used was that posting audio files and getting them captioned was beyond Debra's technical capabilities. In May, the excuse morphed into a "cost issue with captioning".
AST (Automated Sync Technology) - with whom Palomar College has a standing contract with - charges $280 to transcribe a 3 hour Board meeting. There are no real technical or cost issues with captioning.
As of July 18, no audio files or transcripts have been posted on the District's website.
The District still delays in responding to requests for audio recordings.
There are no transcripts with the audio recordings, although Federal (and State) Law requires them.
Trustee Norma Miyamoto offered another feasible alternative - to hold board meetings in a room that could more easily accomodate livestreaming (e.g. MD-157) until the current board room is refurbished.
Here is President Blake's abridged response to Trustee Miyamoto's inquiry (the full, unabridged transcript is here). "You know that we need the classroom space ...... because I go "where are we going to put the classes?" So that's a challenge for us. I think that given the fact that we've already started the conversation about renovating this room....gives us an opportunity to do that. And to do it right.…...because we're gonna have to spend money even if it's partially...….then we're still gonna have to pay for the staff. We're still there's going to be costs involved. So if we're going to do it, I think that we work right now to get the recordings captioned and posted.... and we should call in a vote."
When Norma Miyamoto asked the Board to consider MD-157 as an alternative, Blake's excuse was that: (1) MD-157 is used as a classroom on Tuesday nights, and (2) the Board should just wait for the remodel of SSC-1 for livestreaming to "do it right". Moreover, Joi Blake ends with a verbal committment to Nina's interim solution - to get the audio recordings transcribed and posted on the District's website.
Remodeling SSC-1 is not scheduled for the near future (it could be 5-10 years)
Despite Joi Blake's reassurance to "work right now to get the recordings captioned and posted", no recordings have been captioned or posted.
Why so much obstructing and obfuscating? As a scientist, I fuse the evidence and Occam's razor to reach this conclusion.
President Blake doesn't want livestreaming.
President Blake convinced trustees Mark Evilsizer and Nancy Ann Hensch - who I suspect were seriously in favor of livestreaming at one point - that it was too costly, too burdensome, and there were just too many obstacles to livestreaming while Dr. Blake is president. This becomes painfully evident when Trustees Miyamoto and Deerfield offered viable alternatives, and Blake shot down their sensible proposals by hurriedly throwing out chameleon excuses, empty promises, and fake obstacles.
President Blake openly brags that she is especially sensitive to the disabled community, but her oppression of livestreaming or alternatives paints a different picture.
So now what? I tried one more 'hail mary pass' at the June board meeting. I brought a sign that says "I can't hear you" on one side, and "Repeat what you said, please" on the other side. I sat in the front row and waved it on my lap every time I couldn't hear or understand the dialogue.
I sat alone in the front row waving my sign vigorously for twenty humiliating minutes. It caused more chaos than anything, and was a failure at helping me understand.
Feeling utterly dejected, unwanted and stupid, I took what was left of my dignity and went home.
I have not been to a governing board meeting since.
Addendum: The District is required to provide transcripts of all audio files to make the meetings accessible to the hard of hearing; that is required by law. If I attend a meeting in person, the District is also required to live caption these meetings for me once I make a formal ADA request through HR (which I did not do earlier as I was led astray by assurances of vast trustee support for livestreaming). Now that livestreaming has been rejected, my next step will be to request those long-overdue but legally-mandated transcripts. The reason I fought so hard for livestreaming is because it was the right thing to do for the District to. If the District is going to spend the money anyway for my own captions/transcripts, why not make the meetings accessible to everyone for the same cost?