obvious. The media love controversy, and in Arizona and Colorado,
growth-control initiatives on the Nov. 7 ballot have been extremely
10/23/00: Arizona's 202 takes aim at sprawl). So of
course the public-minded, public-broadcast stations would want to
air Subdivide and Conquer, a film about sprawl. Yet the film has
had trouble getting on public television before the election in
Phoenix and Denver.
The film's co-producer, Jeff
Gersh, says Phoenix's KAET told him it liked the film but felt that
it was too unbalanced to show to viewers so close to the election,
even though, Gersh says, the station already has a weekly program,
Horizons, which often presents biased views on urban development.
When 700 people complained to the station about the slight to
Subdivide and Conquer, KAET decided to air the film on prime
Now, Gersh says, he has run into similar
problems in Colorado, where "Responsible Growth" Amendment 24 is on
the ballot. Gersh says Denver PBS station KRMA told him they were
reluctant to run the film before the election. After hearing
"rumblings" from the public, however, he says the station decided
to air the documentary on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. Gersh points out
that this is a slot dominated by football.
denies they ever took issue with the film. Communications director
Tiffany Tyson says that the Sunday time slot has nothing to do with
the election. "The program wouldn't be in our schedule if it wasn't
balanced," she says. Phoenix's KAET declined to comment for this
"I view public television as public
education," says Subdivide and Conquer co-producer Chelsea Congdon.
"The film was designed to be educational about sprawl, and we
worked hard to avoid blaming anyone."
hour-long documentary won Best Environmental Film at the 2000
Telluride Mountain FilmFestival. It can be sampled and ordered at