View other events for the week of 5/19/2009
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|Access SF supporters:Will Comcast Rule at City Hall?|
|Date||Tuesday May 19|
|Time||2:00 PM - 3:00 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
On Tuesday, May 19th, the Full Board of Supervisors will again consider
Ross Mirkarimi’s State Video Franchise Holder Ordinance. This Ordinance
will set the level of public, education and government cable access
capital and perhaps operations funding after January, 2010. The
Ordinance is item 5 on their agenda which is the 1st item on the regular
agenda. It should come up shortly after the meeting starts at 2PM. The
meeting will be in the Legislative Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall, at the
top of the main staircase.
The Ordinance was first discussed and voted on by the Full Board during its May 5th meeting. After some debate, Supervisor Bevan Dufty moved that the Ordinance be continued for two weeks until May 19th. His motion
was supported by seven other Supervisors with only four Supervisors(Mirkarimi, Daly, Mar and Campos) voting against the continuance. Dufty said he wanted four City Department including the Department of Technology (DT), the City Attorney, the Controller and the Budget Analyst to report back to the Board on how the funds will be spent (for capital/equipment) and whether any of the funds can be used for operations.
Comcast Cable had six lobbyist (the largest cable operator lobbying effort ever seen at City Hall) working the Supervisors’ offices on May 5th in an attempt to defeat the Ordinance. They planted the seed of doubt by telling Supervisors that none of the funding could be used for operations, which may be contrary to the intent of the State Legislature
when it passed the AT&T inspired statewide video franchise law know as the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (DIVCA). The Legislature said it did not want DIVCA to do any harm to PEG and at least one person who was involved in writing the language has said DIVCA does allow funds to be used for operations. The Comcast lobbyists also told
the Supervisors that they will pass through to subscribers any costs that the funds require which could be up to $2.35 per month, per subscriber or $28.20 per year. The pass through was the biggest issue for the Supervisors.
The question is whether PEG access is worth $2.35 per subscriber per month? That’s less than the price of a latte or a pizza or a bag of chips. It’s less than the price of a movie or three iTune downloads. For a year, it’s about the price of a movie for two with popcorn. Most subscribers get hundreds of channels that they don’t watch or care about and get nothing but mindless programming in return. With PEG they get
access to television training and production facilities; 2,500 hours of relevant local, community-based, grassroots programming; gavel-to-gavel coverage of government meeting and distance learning courses.
The vote on Tuesday will determine if the cable industry will continue to rule at City Hall; diminish the return to San Franciscans for their use of our public-rights-of-way and continue to collect nearly $2,000,000 per
year from San Francisco cable subscribers without returning anything substantial in the public interest. We can make a difference, but not without your help. Here’s what you can do.
Call and email the following Supervisors:
bevan.dufty [at] sfgov.org
david.chiu [at] sfgov.org
sophie.maxwell [at] sfgov.org
Tell them PEG access is worth $2.35 per month and, if you’re a cable
subscriber, tell them you’re willing to pay this fee and urge them to
support the State Video Franchise Holder Ordinance at 3%.
Also, if you’re available, come to the meeting of the Supervisors on Tuesday, May 19th with an object worth at least $2.35 and hold it up with a sign supporting PEG. No food or drink are allowed in the Chamber.