San Luis Obispo County League of Women Voters suspends public access TV show

After 11 years of educating county voters on public access television about the workings of local government, the League of Women Voters says it has “run out of material” and will suspend its thrice-weekly interview show.

The last current version of “SLO Democracy” is running at 5 p.m. for the next two weeks on Monday at 11:30 a.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.

“We ran out of new subjects to cover, and it was time for a change,” said Adele Stern, who has been with the production since its inception. “No more weekly show.”

However, Stern added, the show will be back for election season next year.

“We will return at election times to help explain what you will vote for, but never tell you how to vote,” she said.

Stern, 80, said the league has interviewed 200 people during 215 shows on Channels 2 and 21.

The goal, she said, has been to explain government to laymen. She and her fellow volunteers have spoken with elected officials, emergency personnel, the sheriff and many others. They even had a media panel that included The Tribune’s Bill Morem, she said.

The league also has interviewed people at higher levels of government; representatives of CalFire, for example, as well as the CHP, the FBI and the Coast Guard, among many others.

The league opened the show to everyone. During elections, they featured representatives of the county’s several minor parties, including Libertarian, American Independent, and Peace and Freedom, and gave each as much time as Democrats and Republicans.

Stern said there have been amusing and not-so-amusing moments.

One tense moment occurred, she said, when a school board member who was being recalled stuck an angry finger in her face and walked out when she did not give him as much time as he wanted to make his case.

Stern also recalled the time when she realized the camera was shooting her and her guests below the waist, instead of only above the waist as she was accustomed to. She dressed informally below the waist, and was wearing running shoes that night.

Mortified, she asked her husband about it after the show. He told her he hadn’t noticed, she said, because the young woman she was interviewing was wearing a miniskirt.

“It was a good run,” Stern said. “We had a good time with it, and we think we did some good.”