PD Editorial: Sacramento loses another watchdog

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California legislators craft a $200 billion state budget and pass hundreds of new laws every year. Special interests are well represented at the state Capitol, but the press corps has been dwindling. And interested citizens are about to lose one more tool for holding their elected officials accountable. The California Channel — the Golden State’s equivalent of C-SPAN since 1989 — will go dark in October, Capitol Weekly reported Thursday. On its website, the Cal Channel describes itself as “a basic journalistic concept — the television camera serving as the eyes and ears of a private California citizen.”

The California Channel — Channel 108 on Comcast — is where you go to watch a legislative committee hearing, a Senate or Assembly floor session, oral arguments before the state Supreme Court or the governor’s annual State-of-the-State address, which is no longer deemed worthy of live coverage by most commercial TV stations. Cal Channel officials cited voter approval of Proposition 54 in 2016, which requires the Legislature to release its own video. But lawmakers can wait 72 hours to make their video public — and you won’t get reruns of Huell Howser’s “California Gold” travelogues. The Cal Channel will be missed.

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