Asing pushes for captions on meeting videotapes

Kaua’i County Council chairman Kaipo Asing has urged Mayor Baptiste’s administration to put captions on all video-taped county meetings as quickly as possible to help inform the island’s hearing impaired residents to follow county government meetings.

Gary Heu, Baptiste’s administrative assistant, said he too would like to that happen. But he told Asing that resources and manpower are an issue and that the best that can be done at this time is “real-time captioning” for council and Kaua’i County Planning Commission meetings.

The administration asked the council to appropriate nearly $50,000 for captioning in a budget submitted to the council on March 14. Baptiste is asked for another $70,000 for captioning in his supplemental budget sent to the council Thursday.

If approved by the council, the $120,000 would provide the county with “real-time captioning” for the council and planning commission meetings and “off-line captioning” for the police commission meetings and meetings on reports from the mayor, Heu said.

Real-time captioning provides simultaneous transcription and is usually provided by trained courtroom reporters connected to an audio feed.

Off-line captioning is captioning that is added after the production of a program or a video. It is usually used for pre-recorded programs, movies and video tapes.

Heu said the administration has met with the mayor’s advisory council on disabilities about the county’s captioning plans.

The exchange between Asing and Heu took place during a council meeting at the historic County Building Thursday.

Both government officials and residents have voiced concerns that the current practice of captioning only council meetings and their delayed showing on the local government channel and non-captioning other meetings violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

County attorneys have said that not captioning meetings is not an offense, but a violation could occur if the county doesn’t take steps to keep the hearing-impaired informed of the proceedings of county meetings.

Because captioning is a lengthy process, the local public access cable station Ho’ike telecasts the captioned council meetings two to three weeks after meetings are held.

The delayed broadcasts have gone on for about a year and have upset some residents. They say the situation keeps them “out of the loop” of what is going in government.

Heu told the council that Baptiste’s administration is working on a solution.

Asing said residents and hearing-impaired residents have put up with delayed broadcasting of captioned meetings for a year and more and they should not have to tolerate the situation any longer.

Asing said he would like the administration to make significant headway in having all the county meetings captioned before they are televised.

Heu said that might happen in a “perfect world,” but real-time captioning and off-line captioning are the best available solutions at the moment due to “logistics” issues related to captioning.

Heu said even if the full $120,000 is made available, it will still take “someone out there who can deliver” to speed up the process, Heu said.

Local residents at the meeting said they would like the county to return to a format where meetings were shown shortly after they were held, followed up by telecast of captioned meetings.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and


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