Mayor trying to save MediaSource contract

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The Chronicle‘s Matt Stiles reports that Mayor White will again delay a Council vote on the contract with Houston MediaSource:

Mayor Bill White wants to delay again a City Council vote on renewing Houston’s cable public-access television contract — the fourth postponement since racy programs sparked a controversy in June.

After a monthlong delay, a decision on Houston MediaSource’s $800,000 deal had been scheduled for Wednesday’s council meeting. But the mayor’s staff announced Monday that he would seek council approval to wait another 30 days.

White, who said recently he wanted a “change in leadership” at MediaSource, wants to win council approval of as many as eight MediaSource board members before the contract vote.

The mayor is expected to announce his proposed appointees to the 15-member board this week.

Translation: The Mayor doesn’t have Council support of his proposal yet, but thinks he can get it if he twists arms, obfuscates, and cajoles for another 30 days. And given this Council, he probably will.

But it doesn’t sound like he’ll have Councilmember Toni Lawrence’s support:

“Not too long ago, we turned the board over,” she said. “We’ve shown that this doesn’t do it. We need to look at the regulations that we can bring forward.”

Despite pointed talk of leadership changes by Mayor White, UH Communications Professor Garth Jowett, president of the Houston MediaSource board, remains intransigent:

Board President Garth Jowett, a University of Houston communications professor, defended Garlinghouse on Monday, saying she’s done “a hell of a job” reworking the channel’s finances and procedures in her several years at the helm.

“I would hate to see her being sacrificed without a clear justification just for the sake of making a change,” he said.

That attitude should make it much easier for Council to buck Mayor White on this one and give stewardship of the public access channel to some other entity.

PREVIOUSLY: Wiseman perturbs the city boss, Wiseman wins converts on the Houston MediaSource controversy, MediaSource to Berry: We know better than you!, Mayor, Chron editorialists now see merits in Wiseman’s complaint, White & Edwards: We’re tired of this MediaSource topic


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