Copyright 2012, Public Access Awareness Association, Inc.
A Nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation Established 1997
Vol. No. 11 Issue No. 210



PUBLIC ACCESS UPDATES


CALIFORNIA:
Santa Clarita,
Oxnard,
Los Angeles,
Long Beach,
Sacramento,
San Francisco.

ILLINOIS:
Chicago,
Springfield.

FLORIDA

MICHIGAN

OHIO

TEXAS: SAN ANTONIO

INDIANA
SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES
AND ARTICLES


SPRING 2010 UPDATE:

LA PUBLIC ACCCESS
FIRST GRAVELY ILL:
THEN CITY UNDER PRESSURE
ORDERS STAY OF EXECUTION:
Earlier announced in the
following email:

Dear Public Access Producer(s), The Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Cable Television Access Corporation voted unanimously to turn off LA36 on October 1st. 2009. This action was taken after careful consideration of the City Council’s refusal to reinstate the $300,000 operating grant needed to keep LA36 on air. This will end Educational and Public Access programming in Los Angeles. We urge you to contact the Los Angeles City Council urging reinstatement of the budget promised to us, back in May. Many thanks,
213.346.3864
213.346.3868 fax
Channel LA36
108 W. 2nd St., Suite 108
Los Angeles, CA 90012
www.la36.org

THEN CITY BACKS DOWN:
ACCESS IN L.A. LIVES...
A LITTLE LONGER!
LA36 ISSUES A NEW
11TH HOUR DECREE:

Dear Public Access Producers, Movement in City Council today allows for LA36 to stay open for the next few months. However, we will not be running at full capacity because of the difficult financial situation we still face. The final City Council vote in a few months will ensure the remainder of our funding. Until then, we are cutting staff and some of our services. We will continue to accept public access programming and will attempt to air it as expeditiously as possible. Please be patient as our turnaround time and communication will likely be slower than you’ve come to expect. Many thanks for your continued support, (lA36) 213.346.3864 www.LA36.org


OCTOBER 9TH UPDATE:

PUBLIC ACCESS IN
OXNARD, CALIFORNIA
STILL DARK:

READ THIS ARTICLE IN THE
VENTURA COUNTY REGISTER

BY Scott Hadly Friday, May 8, 2009

Public access television
still dark in Oxnard

John R. Hatcher III is mad.
For 20 years, Hatcher has produced the public access television show “What’s Going On,” tackling local issues in Oxnard as diverse as HIV, AIDS, home refinancing and foreclosures. “What I did is talk about things that were important to the community,” said Hatcher, who also is president of the Ventura County NAACP. But at the end of last year, his show and all the public access shows broadcast on Channel 25 in the city went dark. Despite assurances by city officials since January that they would try to come up with a solution that would keep the shows on the air, nothing has come from City Hall. “Everything is just in limbo, and the City (Council) has been just sitting on their thumbs, not doing,” said Hatcher, one of five individuals who used the cable company studio to shoot and edit their shows. An additional 20 people put together their shows on their own, recording them on videotapes that were then played on the channel. People who have been part of the now 30-year experiment in public access cable television wonder if that era is over altogether, at least in Oxnard. Christina Aerenlund, Oxnard’s public information officer, said she isn’t sure. Aerenlund and Oxnard Legislative Affairs Manager Martin Erickson have been working on the issue. So far, they haven’t figured out the best solution. “It’s very clear we don’t have the resources to establish a production office ourselves,” Aerenlund said. As Oxnard begins what city officials say will be a difficult series of discussions on how best to tighten the budget, Aerenlund said anything that adds new spending isn’t likely to get very far. City officials were caught a little flat-footed with the change in their franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable, Aerenlund said. The change came about because of a change in state law. Under AB2987, passed in 2006, cable televisions companies no longer have to provide studio, equipment and training for public access television. The cable company will pay a franchise fee to the city, and provide channel space for local government and schools. A public access channel will be provided as long as it is used. But the company is no longer required to provide studio space, equipment or training to those interested in airing a show on the channel. City officials originally had 90 days to decide whether to figure out a way to keep the channel going. Time Warner has extended that time, Aerenlund said. Oxnard wasn’t alone in having its public access channel go off the air. In Ventura County, Ojai faced the same fate, and several cities in Los Angeles County also were knocked off the air. In the city of Ventura as well as in Santa Barbara, a nonprofit provides the studio and equipment for airing public access programming. Those programs are not at risk. Although some cities are exploring ways to provide public access service, there is nothing that compels Oxnard to do that, Aerenlund said. But supporters of public access say the city is missing the point. The city does receive franchise fees, amounting to no more than 3 percent of the gross revenue of the local franchise, that originally were intended to support a government channel, an education channel and a public access channel, said Andrew Hecker, a public access advocate for almost 30 years, who works professionally in television production. Hecker’s program, “Guide to Getting Around,” has aired on both Ventura and Oxnard’s public access channels. He said it’s unfair to simply fold that money from the franchise fees into the general fund. “They’re going to stick it in the general fund and go out and pave some streets, when it was first and foremost meant to pay for public access,” Hecker said. The reason public access was provided was to level the playing field for access to the airways. It was intended to give individuals who don’t have money or power on the local level a voice, he said. One solution, Hecker said, would be for Oxnard to pay a fee to use the facilities in Ventura for playing tapes produced for airing on the Oxnard public access channel. City officials say they are looking at other possibilities, such as using the studios at Oxnard College, but nothing they’ve come up with so far can be done without spending money. Javier Gomez, a retired teacher who now works with teens at the Inlakech Cultural Arts Center in Oxnard, said he was involved with a program called “The Montenegro Show,” which exposed people to arts in the city. “It’s unfortunate that it’s no longer on the air,” Gomez said. “People no longer have access to that information.”



PEG Fans Hit Comcast, AT&T
by John Eggerton -- Multichannel News
3/15/2009 12:00:00 AM PST

Washington — Backers of public, education and government (or PEG) channels took complaints about how such services are delivered by AT&T and Comcast to the Federal Communications Commission, as part of a request by PEG backers that the commission put such channels “on an equal footing” with basic commercial channels.

Public-interest group Free Press opined that putting PEG channels on an equal footing with commercial channels means cable systems “must pass through closed captioning and secondary audio programs when provided by PEG content producers; must offer PEG content through the same interface and service tier as other basic-cable channels, with no extra obstacles; and must deliver PEG content to the customer at the same video and audio quality as other basic-cable channels.”

Free Press asked the FCC to define AT&T’s U-verse service as a cable service subject to PEG requirements.

Four Michigan communities asked the FCC to rule on whether Comcast should have been able to move PEG channels to a digital tier there. They were among various groups seeking a declaratory ruling that Comcast should not be allowed to move the PEG channels off of the analog basic when it is not moving other channels. Michigan petitioners contended Comcast was “discriminating against PEG content” by, among other things, requiring consumers to obtain a digital converter in order to see the programming.

Comcast defended its PEG migration as part a larger transition of all channels to digital and said having PEG channels on a digital tier in Michigan was legal and in the public interest.

Keeping PEG channels on analog would be preferential treatment that would prevent Comcast from reclaiming bandwidth for new video services, more on- demand and high-definition programming and more diverse programming and faster Internet speeds. Those last two are priorities of the new Obama administration.

Comcast noted competitors DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon Communications and AT&T are already all-digital and said Michigan’s video franchise-reform legislation gave cable operators more flexibility over locating PEG channels.

Several commenters criticized the quality of the PEG channels AT&T’s U-verse delivers, including the attorney general of Illinois, who said the U-Verse service “on Channel 99 provides inferior access to PEG programmers and viewers, results in inferior display and functionality, does not provide channel capacity, and does not display local emergency alerts on broadcast system programming.”

Columbus, Ohio, though, praised AT&T’s efforts to accommodate its PEG channels, and even praised the Web delivery that others have suggested translates to lower quality.

(Washington D.C. ) - PEG Access was discussed as a key concern at a U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing held Wednesday, April 29, 2009, on the Federal Communications Commission's 2010 budget. Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) and Acting FCC Chairman, Michael Copps, agreed about the importance of PEG channels to the public, and Serrano urged action on the PEG Access Petitions for Declaratory Ruling before the Commission. In his written statement to the Subcommittee, Acting Chairman Copps said: "I know that a number of the members of the Subcommittee are concerned about recent developments regarding the carriage by multichannel video programming providers of PEG channels. I share those concerns. PEG is a valuable source of diverse and local programming that not only provides an outlet for local voices, but also nourishes the civic dialogue and gives citizens the information they need to govern themselves... it is my hope that the Commission will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that PEG remains a vibrant and valuable service." Rep. Serrano warned that if the FCC doesn't move, PEG issues might "fall by the wayside" while the FCC waits for a new Chairman to be confirmed. Copps said that he is not reluctant to move and while some items, such as universal service, may have to await the new Chair, PEG channels don't fall into that category. Rep. Serrano agreed, noting that while there may be new issues facing the FCC, PEG is not one of them. The Subcommittee previously issued a letter to the FCC seeking answers on PEG following its September 17, 2008 hearing. Earlier this week, two Illinois residents were in the Capitol to conduct ex parte meetings with the FCC on the Petitions for Declaratory Ruling regarding PEG Access. Cheryl Fayne-dePersio of Illinois NATOA, and Barbara Popovic of Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV), were joined by Dan Coughlin of New York City's Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN). All three organizations are petitioners in ACM et al, which calls for a ruling that AT&T's method of delivering PEG channels over U-Verse violates the Communications Act and Commission rules. In the ex parte meetings, petitioners disputed AT&T's characterization of its PEG product as "innovative" and "superior". In fact, AT&T's PEG product goes in the opposite direction, disadvantaging both viewers seeking local PEG programming, and local programmers attempting to reach their audiences. AT&T's PEG product hampers the meaningful development of PEG channels in an evolving digital age. Over 770 comments were filed in this proceeding prior to the deadline. Keep Us Connected recently shared comments of the City of Aurora, Village of Lombard, and Champaign-Urbana Cable Television and Telecommunications Commission that were among 111 comments filed from Illinois.


FCC INVITED TO INVESTIGATE
AT&T ABOUT THEIR HANDLING OF
PUBLIC ACCESS... CLICK HERE!

DATELINE: SAN FRANCISCO
On February 23rd Approximately 100 people turned out for a press conference, rally and hearing. The hearing, before the Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee, was on the Ross Mirkarimi’s resolution urging Congress and the State Legislature to reform Public, Education and Governmental (PEG) cable access funding. (Other Congressional Appeals are pending from Southern California.)

A NATIONAL ISSUE: STATE LAWS CONFLICT
WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION.
THE FOLLOWING IS THE
POSITION STATEMENT OF PUBLIC ACCESS AWARENESS ASSOCIATION:

"The spirit of the law passed by United States Congress in 1984 which amended the original 1932 Cable Communications Act, was to provide freedom of speech in the form of a television soap box for the citizens of a community. Indeed, this is a Congressional issue. Public, Educational, and Governmental Access is commonly referred to as PEG. In short, if a municipality requested what is called PEG, or one of those designations, the cable provider is required, by federal law, to supply channels for this use. That law has been played with by states and cities around the country, and so we end up with the problems we have today. The goal of the cable companies, which should be of no surprise to all, have always leaned toward effecting the demise of these public channels, always keeping in mind their bottom line, the money that it takes to support them. Truth is, cities still receive five percent of the gross annual income of the cable companies but usually place the funds in the City General Fund. Congress needs to further amend the Cable Communications Act to include that now, PEG is to be mandated, that the PEG segments be equally and equitably separated in order to avoid conflict of each purpose. The cable companies and other newer providers, such as AT&T, in conjunction with the municipalities must jointly decide how they will fund in an equitable manner, the construction and annual maintenance costs of
Public, Educational, and Governmental television studios."

Roger Martin, President, Public Access Awareness Association, Inc.
A nonprofit 501(c)3 Corporation
Media Email: contact.roger@yahoo.com


Read this from January 8th's LOS ANGELES TIMES to see if this makes a point with you!





PUBLIC ACCESS DIMINISHES
IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES:


You might check out the Los Angeles Times article from earlier this year entitled "Cable Flips Channel on Public Access TV"
by Reed Johnson.
Click on this:
Read his article from the LOS ANGELES TIMES!
(See below for more on the
City of Los Angeles, and their approach to Public Access.)



SANTA CLARITA SURVIVES WITH FACE-LIFT.
Santa Clarita proposal adopted:
City Council Decision, Tuesday, December 9, 2008

SANTA CLARITA PUBLIC ACCESS PUTS ON A NEW FACE IN 2009.
There was a Santa Clarita City Council Meeting Tuesday night, December 9, 2008; the vote was 5-0 (Unanimous) to accept the proposal from the nonprofit SCVTV, INC. as reported below in Item 16 of the Agenda...

HERE IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE AGENDA FOR THE
TUESDAY DECEMBER 9, 2008 SANTA CLARITA COUNCIL MEETING:


ITEM 16.

"LOCAL PUBLIC TELEVISION MANAGEMENT: Staff is requesting appropriation of $180,000 in PEG Capital Grant Funds to support one-time studio equipment needs and costs associated with leasing the existing studio for the remainder of fiscal year 2008/09. Staff also recommends the Council appropriate $25,000 from the Contingency Fund to fund costs to operate the studio through the conclusion of FY 2008/09.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: City Council:
1. Direct the City Manager to initiate efforts with community stakeholders to work towards the creation of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) or non-profit organization to partner and economically support Channel 20;
2. Appropriate funds in the amount of $180,000 from Public, Education, and Government (PEG) Capital Grant Fund Balance (330) to Account 12205- 5201.002, and appropriate $25,000 from Contingency Account 19300-5401.001 to the Communication Division's Professional Services Account 11500-5161.002 for the continued operation of Channel 20;
3. Direct the City Manager to enter into a six-month Professional Services Agreement with SCVTV in an amount not to exceed $25,000 to operate Channel 20; and
4. Reject all proposals as non- responsive to the published Request for Proposals."



LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

ONE PUBLIC ACCESS OUTLET: NO STUDIO AVAILABLE:


There is one Public Access channel now in Los Angeles, and it is called LA36, which is also the Educational Channel. Move over Channel 36, and make room for Public Access! (LA36 will not provide studio availablility to Public Access producers), a plan by ITA, the Information Technology Agency which answers to the City Government.... See LA36's website for Public Access playback rules...
Click Here





PUBLIC ACCESS AWARENESS NEWS
Keeps you up-to-date
about current
Public Access controversies.




LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL MEETING OF DECEMBER 3, 2008

On December 3, 2008 The Los Angeles City Council met and then reviewed the status of Los Angeles' Public, Education, and Governmental Access within the City. Fourteen studios are to be considered and the Information Technology Agency stated that they are negotiating with Time Warner Cable to purchase each facility at a price of $250,000 each, totaling 3.5 million dollars.
The City Council was told by the Committee that 60% of the .05 percent annual fee goes to the City Coffers, and the balance to PEG. Most goes to Government Access, and there is an amount of approximately 3,000,000 that is not used for Access and goes back to the City. It was discussed that the,000,000 could be used for maintenance of Access. The ITA was strongly advising the Council retain the four valuable channels of which it now has control; channel 35 (Government), channel 36 (Educational Access) and two others that were not identified, but run CG (typed) information. It was suggested by ITA that Channel 36 (LA36) be shared as a Public Access and Educational entity, but gave no details of how the air times would be allocated.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl avidly supported the Public Access aspect of PEG in his speeches to the Council, suggesting that part of the 5% could be used for Public Access alone. The committee said that Time Warner had told them that 48 people who currently work for Public Access in the City of Los Angeles would either be terminated or re-assigned. And the extra 1% issue which equals $5,000.000 in revenue by law could only be used for Access capitol, as we all know. It appears that the issue of how to approach this problem financially has to be reviewed by the Finance Committee. Council adjourned.



FOR A COMPREHENSIVE REPORT TAKE
THE TIME TO READ THIS LAWEEKLY ARTICLE!!


You may remember that we went through this whole scenario with BHTV in Beverly Hills... The Beverly Hills Community Access Corporation that was the nonprofit that administered Channel 3 had been approved by the City Attorney to run ads and there was a total of one (1) - yes (1) paid ad... it seems that Beverly Hills, with "all its money" wanted to keep it. Truth was, that there was no "Poster Child" and its citizens preferred to donate to charitable organizations such as its local assistance organizations, not really understanding the value of Public Access. The City had the money, but claimed not to. Sound familiar? Local potential sponsors preferred to place ads in their old standby, the local Beverly Hills newspapers.

For more details about Beverly Hills City Public Access at bhtv.org click here.



UPDATE: LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

PUBLIC ACCESS TV IS IN DANGER By Paul Eakins-Thanks to Paul for his article in the Long Beach PRESS TELEGRAM

"LONG BEACH - In a red brick building Friday afternoon on Redondo Avenue north of the San Diego (405) Freeway, Public Access television producer Lloyd Saposnek gave directions to guests of his talk show, "Transitions and Abilities," as technicians and a camera operator prepared the small studio for filming. For more than 25 years, Long Beach Community Television shows like Saposnek's - a program about living with disabilities that he co-produces with Steve Long, both of whom use wheelchairs - have been broadcast in Long Beach, numbering about 100 regular shows that include news, entertainment and cultural programming.
But that Long Beach tradition and service will soon go away when Charter Communications closes its public access studio and ceases to air the programming after Jan. 1 because of a state law that goes into effect next year.
The Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006, which was designed to allow phone companies and other providers to sell TV service, eliminates the requirement for local cable providers to pay for the operational expenses of public access programming. In fact, it prohibits it. The law won't affect other public channels that have their own budgets - those run by Long Beach City College, the city of Long Beach, Cal State Long Beach, Long Beach Public Library and Long Beach Unified School District. However, to keep public access going, supporters must find a sponsor to pay for operational expenses, including leasing a studio, paying utility bills and staff salaries, and then providing at least eight hours of daily programming. So far, prospects aren't looking good, supporters said last week. "The community will definitely lose something," said Dennis Morawski, who creates documentaries about Long Beach history that are run on his regular public access show, "I Remember Long Beach." "A lot of things have come out of Long Beach community television where they've had political and cultural impacts. There's a lot of community groups that are not served in any other way, that do not have any other outlet." A local resource: Those outlets are shows like that of Saposnek and Long, which Saposnek said provides useful information for people with disabilities and works to dispel myths about them. Long started the show in 1992, and Saposnek was a guest, then a guest host, and then became the show's co-producer in 2001, he said. He said he knows many disabled Long Beach residents who enjoy the show. "I feel bad for them ... because a lot of people would tune in Monday nights just because of the show about disability," Saposnek said. Saposnek's show isn't alone in being unique on the public access channel, which is either 65, 69 or 95, depending on what cable service a viewer had. Long Beach Community Television has local shows in Spanish, Khmer and Samoan; has a show about gay and lesbian issues; and includes a variety of other programs with religious and political themes. Notable community figures have produced public access shows through the years, such as Samuel Coleman, the first African-American to teach high school in LBUSD, who hosted a popular talk show called "Periscope" before he died in 2006.
Charter Communications is trying to make up for the local programming loss with a new "local edition" news segment on CNN Headline News, which is on Channel 36 in Long Beach, that features interviews with Long Beach leaders and residents on a variety of issues. The five-minute segments air every hour at 24 and 54 minutes past the hour. "I think this initiative, local edition, is one small step in the right direction," said Craig Watson, vice president of communications for Charter. "It does provide an outlet for the voice of Long Beach to be heard more regularly."
Watson said with new TV competition around California, including Verizon as the newest provider in Long Beach, Charter can't afford to keep funding public access. "If they don't have to spend one dime on this, and yet every dime we put toward this is one dime we can't spend on getting advertising ... it's not appropriate for us to continue," Watson said. Solutions difficult:
However, if a nonprofit group or the city were to step in and pay the operational costs of public access - Watson wouldn't divulge how much it costs Charter - then Charter would be happy to keep the channel alive, Watson said.
In some cases, there is talk of moving shows to other appropriate public channels, such as City Prosecutor Thomas Reeves's program from public access to the city government Channel 8. Other shows could air on Channel 3, where Charter has some local programming that isn't public access. "Some shows, if they're ... well produced and have an audience, we encourage them to come to us and we'll put them on Channel 3," Watson said.
However, Karen Ashikeh-LaMantia, who produces "Earth Neighborhood Show" on public access and is an active leader in the effort to save community television, said Charter doesn't have an incentive to keep regular public access channels on the air and hasn't made an effort. "If we don't continue to broadcast on channel 65, 69 or 95, those channels return to the use of Charter TV do with as they wish," Ashike- LaMantia said. "So it's to their advantage and has always been to their advantage to not support any kind of planning to continue these channels." One way to save Long Beach Community Television may be for the city to open up its Channel 8 studio and staff to public access producers, she said. Cable providers must pay 5.75 percent of their gross revenue to Long Beach so that they have access to streets, public facilities and other rights-of-way, amounting to about $3 million that can go straight into the city's general fund, Watson said.
They also must pay 1 percent of their gross revenue to fund capital expenditures for public, educational and government television, which amount to about $574,000, Watson said.
Dean Smits, video communications officer for the city, said that money may be used to buy new equipment for the educational and government channels, though "we do not have a policy on that yet as to how that's going to be distributed," Smits said. He said city officials had opposed the new law, but that the city, already strapped for cash, may not be able to save community television.
"We were opposed to this state law, and we lobbied vehemently (against it)," Smits said. "We feel that public access is a very important, dynamic resource for our community." Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles City Council is trying to figure out how to save its own public access channel by keeping their studios open. Cable franchise fees could fund up to $1 million in operational costs, according to the Times article. Ashike-LaMantia said the Long Beach City Council could save public access here as well if it chose to, though the council hasn't discussed the possibility and time is running out for community television.
"Do they have the will to make the decision, to use the funding that will come from the channels, to use the equipment, to provide the production and broadcast?" she said.

paul.eakins@presstelegram.com."


NORTHERN INDIANA ACCESS DENIED

Towns in Northern Indiana faced closure due to State Law (Indiana Telecommunications Reform Act of 2006) advanced by cable companies and others:

SEE THIS WEBSITE FOR COMCAST ACCESS CLOSURES...


CLICK HERE.



PUBLIC ACCESS EMPLOYEES:

We need your (Confidential) input! Email us at address at end of this site.



REPORT: SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

PUBLIC ACCESS IN CALIFORNIA'S STATE CAPITOL

Ron cooper, Access Sacramento wrote to the Sacramento Bee newspaper:

"Re: ATT's Attempt to Stifle Free Speech.

AT&T's U-Verse has neglected the seven cable community PEG channels Sacramento County has been proud of for the past twenty years. Where will you find channels 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20 on AT&T?
AT&T has assigned these important local "voices" to an inferior web browser on channel 99. It violates the DIVCA State Law.
AT&T's PEG channels 1- Do not have the same channel numbers as cable for PEG channels. 2- Do not appear on the basic service tier. 3 -Are not similar in quality to commercial stations on the lowest cost tier. 4- Cannot transmit Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcast messages. 5- AT&T's PEG channel functionality is not similar to commercial stations.
Why is this service inferior? because subscribers are: 1. Unable to toggle between commercial and PEG channels. 2. Unable to record a PEG program automatically. 3. Hearing impaired are unable to view PEG programming in closed captions. 4. Unable to view PEG broadcasts in a secondary audio programming (SAP) format. 5. Cannot enter individual PEG channel numbers in a remote control. 6. Unable to access PEG channels seamlessly, i.e. it takes on average 30-90 seconds to load and access the desired channel (a 5-step process).

Other Countries Don't have Public Access...Don't Join them!
Ron Cooper, Access Sacramento
www.accesssacramento.org: read this click here
Proudly, Public Access for the Capitol of California"



UPDATE: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

PUBLIC ACCESS IN SAN FRANCISCO IS AT
SERIOUS AND IMMEDIATE RISK
Important Facts about What's Happening To
Public Access in San Francisco:

San Francisco's public access TV station may close its doors on June 30, 2009 due to a $500,000 budget cut. The reason for the cut is due to the passage of the new state-wide cable franchising law called DIVCA, which ends local cable franchises and eliminates the requirement that cable operators provide operations funding to cities to fund public access.
The Department of Telecommunications and Information Services (DTIS) of the City and County of San Francisco (the City department that manages and funds access) wants to redefine access in a way that access can operate with limited or no funding.
Redefining public access may mean loss of training opportunities and greatly reduced or no access to facilities. The City will continue to receive franchise fees of 5% of gross revenues from local cable operators, which amounts to millions of dollars every year, yet plans to use only .2% of this money for public access which is about $100,000, not enough to adequately fund operations.
Just .75% of gross revenues (this is 15% of the full 5% of gross revenues that the city collects) would fully fund access now, and would protect its future as a sustainable funding source.
For even more details about San Francisco Public Access
(and California's) injustice read this click here.





MICHIGAN

MICHIGAN IN TROUBLE: PUBLIC ACCESS TV AT RISK

It is unending: read this about Michigan:click here





OHIO

AKRON OHIO: PUBLIC ACCESS IN DANGER

It continues: read this about Ohio:click here




NEVADA

NEVADA ACCESS CALLS FOR
SENATOR HARRY REED: LEGISLATIVE NIGHTMARE

Intense reading on this Nevada website: click here



NEW: SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

The news is spreading fast... read this from the Illinois Times click here.



FLORIDA: PUBLIC ACCESS THREAT
FROM THAT STATE'S
"CONSUMER CHOICE ACT OF 2007"

FLORIDA

Florida is no exception: Public Access in jeopardy: click here.





NEW: SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

The news is spreading fast... read this from the Illinois Times click here.





NEW: SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

Until last spring, San Antonio was the headquarters of AT&T. Time-Warner shut down their access studio about 3 years ago. The city controls the head end (signal) for all PEG channels, and therefore all access to those channels. The city owns all the equipment - cameras, lights, microphones and computers used for editing for Public Access. The Educational and Governmental channels are in the basic tier, or as it is called, basic cable, which means that everyone with cable will receive those channels. The Public Access channel is in the bottom of the digital tier on channel 98.



SENATE AND HOUSE:
WHY WOULD THEY CONSIDER SUCH BILLS?

THE FOLLOWING IS QUOTED FROM A PUBLIC ACCESS INFORMATION SITE... NOT OURS:
" It would be nice to start this off by saying the future of public access television is a bright one and can only get better. That is not the case. For the many that enjoy public access tv, they may not know that their public channel is in jeapordy. The legislation being promoted by Verizon would affect the way Public Access Television is run. The legislation would put all of PATV under a single federal contract. At the moment, under present law, all communities are entitled to a public access tv channel in addition to the normal cable channels that are sold to the consumer. The PATV channel is paid for by the cable TV station and the contract is under local control. This lends to the "community" of Public Access TV a.k.a. Community Access TV.
Now, in the process of legislation are 3 bills.

Senate Bill S. 1504, aka the "broadband investment & Consumer choice act"
Senate Bill S. 1349
House Bill H.R. 3146 aka the "Video Choice Act of 2005

Senate Bill S.1504 - Introduced on Jul 27, 2005 this bill would, in relation to Public Access TV, take away the communities right as it stands now, to have public access television. "...except as provided in this Act, no Federal, State, or local government shall have authorityto require any facilities-based communications service provider to provide third parties with access to its facilities" This bill removes the video franchise requirement that helps fund your public access tv. the "Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act" (S.1504), proposed by Senators Ensign (R-Nevada) and McCain (R-Arizona), and Senate Bill S.1349 and House Bill H.R.3146 - known together as the "Video Choice Act of 2005" - would end or severely limit the operation of public, educational and governmental access television (PEG TV) nationwide. At the moment companies that use public rights-of-way are required to provide community access as part of the deal. Under the BICCA, local companies that use these rights-of-way would no longer be required to provide PEG channels to the community. Local governements will still collect the fees that are paid for using these rights- of-way known as franchise fees.
Senate Bill S. 1349 in short ends the requirement of cable companies to enter into a franchise. Here is Section 662 (a) of S. 1349: "Redundant Franchises Prohibited- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no competitive video services provider may be required, whether pursuant to section 621 or to any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, to obtain a franchise in order to provide any video programming, interactive on-demand services, other programming services, or any other video services in any area where such provider has any right, permission, or authority to access public rights-of-way independent of any cable franchise obtained pursuant to section 621 or pursuant to any other Federal, State, or local law." Its this franchise that allows us to have Public Access TV. Public Access TV is what gives you and I a voice in our community and out world. So if this bill is passed into law, the cable companies can abandon their requirement to provide community access TV.
H.R. 3146 a.k.a. the "Video Choice Act". This bill, under SEC. 802. REGULATORY RELIEF, says basically the same thing that S. 1349 says."





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