Opportunities for action in Chicago and nationally

Posted by Mitchell - July 18, 2005 (entry 333)

Position: Oppose H.R. 3146

Background:

Public, educational and governmental (“PEG”) access provides thousands of hours of local programs each week, such as City Council meetings, community events and forums, distance learning, jobs training, health care information, school sports, church services, and congressional updates.

The Alliance for Community Media (“ACM”), on behalf of millions of Americans nationwide, supports competition, diversity and localism in media. The ACM supports requirements that companies using public rights-of-way and public spectrum provide the means for local community use of media.

H.R. 3146 is contrary to ACM’s goals and will not even accomplish its own stated purposes. In addition, H.R. 3146 is unnecessary. Telephone companies may enter the video market today as common carriers, as open video service providers, or under the same franchising framework as cable companies.

H.R. 3146:

* Nationalizes franchising, which prevents state and local governments from meeting local community needs. * Eliminates financial and technical support that is critical to the creation of local programs. * Puts existing PEG facilities at risk. * Puts at risk facilities, such as I-nets, that support public safety, schools, emergency services and municipal communications.

H.R. 3146:

* Launches a race to the lowest common denominator of public service. * Abandons long-standing commitments to localism. * Undermines universal service commitments to rural and low income communities. * Invites the redlining of entire communities. * Transfers effective local enforcement to the federal bureaucracy or the courts.

H.R. 3146 does not serve the public interest. The ACM and thousands of its members nationwide urge rejection of H.R. 3146.

Position: Oppose Senate Bill 1349

Background: Public, educational and governmental (“PEG”) access provides thousands of hours of local programs each week, such as City Council meetings, community events and forums, distance learning, jobs training, health care information, school sports, church services, and congressional updates.

The Alliance for Community Media (“ACM”), on behalf of millions of Americans nationwide, supports competition, diversity and localism in media. The ACM supports requirements that companies using public rights-of-way and public spectrum provide the means for local community use of media.

S. 1349 is contrary to ACM’s goals and will not even accomplish its own stated purposes. In addition, S. 1349 is unnecessary. Telephone companies may enter the video market today as common carriers, as open video service providers, or under the same franchising framework as cable companies.

S. 1349:

* Nationalizes franchising, which prevents state and local governments from meeting local community needs. * Eliminates financial and technical support that is critical to the creation of local programs. * Puts existing PEG facilities at risk. * Puts at risk facilities, such as I-nets, that support public safety, schools, emergency services and municipal communications.

S. 1349:

* Launches a race to the lowest common denominator of public service. * Abandons long-standing commitments to localism. * Undermines universal service commitments to rural and low income communities. * Invites the redlining of entire communities. * Transfers effective local enforcement to the federal bureaucracy or the courts.

S. 1349 does not serve the public interest. The ACM and thousands of its members nationwide urge rejection of S. 1349.

Alliance for Community Media
CALL TO ACTION
Senate Bill 1349
House Bill H.R. 3146

By July 31: Make appointments with Congressional representatives (house and senate) for face to face meetings in home districts during the August recess.

By August 1: The ACM office will supply you with additional support materials.

By August 31: Complete meetings with Congressional representatives.

Participants for the meeting:
* Access center representative(s) with list of groups served.
* Constituent(s) or community leader(s) that can describe local benefits from using PEG.

Materials:
* Position paper stapled to business card of PEG representative.
* Support materials supplied by the national office.
* Packet of PEG center info (fact sheet, newsletter, etc.)

Follow up questions:
* Refer to ACM office (202) 393-2650.

By September 15:
* Report the results of your meeting to the ACM office.
* Thank your representatives and senators in writing and urge them again to reject these bills. 1 0 MS 2005-07-18 22:07:07 20050718220707 5 Announcement one: Chicago will be holding the first of three public hearings regarding community internet, on July 21. This is an excellent chance to chime in on this pretty serious issue. This much is certain: I know one group that has expressed serious interest. The fact that the city is asking for input is a good thing, and I read that as a sign that the city will probably -- hopefully -- implement a community-wide internet network.

Announcement two: Our friends at the Alliance for Community media have informed of two dreadful bills in Congress. Be sure to take a moment now and voice your opposition to these bills.

Update -- Announcement Three: WBEZ will be holding a Community Advisory Council open meeting on Thursday, July 21, starting at 6pm, at WBEZ's main conference room (848 E. Grand, Navy Pier, Chicago). Not sure of what to ask? Here's a list of suggested questions to consider.

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