Community Relations Office Responsibilities
The 3 Primary Missions of the Community Relations Office
1) Community Relations
The City of Yakima’s Community Relations office provides assistance to all City divisions and departments in preparing information and getting that information to the public. Through proactive media relations, communications training and assistance for City Council members and City staff, and the creation of more and better ways for the community to be part of the public policy decision making process, the City’s Community Relations office aims to increase understanding of local government. The primary responsibility of the City’s Community Relations Divisions office is to help the City talk to and listen to the community better. Utilizing well established communications tools and techniques, the City’s Community Relations office strives to make the complexities of local government understandable and to present information to the community early and often throughout the development and implementation of public policy.
2) Cable Access Television Service Provider
The City of Yakima’s Community Relations office operates 2 “cable access” channels – YCTV (public access), Charter Cable channel 21, and Y-PAC (government access), Charter Cable channel 22. YCTV is devoted to airing television programs created by everyday citizens. YCTV programming reflects the diversity of thought, opinion, and philosophies found in the Yakima Valley. Community Programming Coordinator Bonnie Lozano oversees the operation of YCTV and spends most of her time providing training and technical support to YCTV “community producers”. Municipal Producer Mike Brown spends most of his time producing public affairs programming for Y-PAC. City Council meetings, presentations by notable speakers, and comprehensive election coverage are samples of the programming found on Y-PAC. The primary goal of Y-PAC is to increase awareness of and participation in local government.
3) Telecommunications and Cable Franchise Management
Communications & Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler serves as the franchise officer for the City and monitors the franchises granted to telecommunications and cable television providers. Currently, 9 telecommunications providers and one cable television provider hold franchises with the City. A franchise is essentially a contract allowing the provider to string transmission lines over, under, or across City public rights-of-way. The communications & public affairs director monitors the activities of each franchise holder in order to assure compliance with the terms and conditions of each franchise.