[lompoc_tv] City Council meeting Tues 4/6 7:00pm

  • From: "DeAnne Carr" <deanne.carr@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Lompoc TV Post" <lompoc_tv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2004 05:14:56 -0700

Thanks very much to Walt Taylor for hailing us regarding the meeting.  Walt 
also spent hours last measuring the Comcast building and drawing up a plan.  
Thank you Walt!
As Walt said in his email, PEG will be on the agenda for the Lompoc City 
Council Tuesday 4/6 at 7:00pm. 

Please come speak.  If you don't wish to speak, please attend.  Speakers might 
prepare to ask the CC for some concrete action.

Below is some background information and my opinion of the most central issues 
to bring to the CC's attention at this time.

The Franchise Agreement:
- in effect beginning Jan 2003 for 12 years.  
- between both cities and Comcast, so both cities could get a better deal.
- calls for 5% of Comcast's local gross revenues to be paid directly to the 
- calls for a one-time capital grant of $800,000.  This was paid in Jan 2003 
and is in a trust account.
- calls for an annual operating grant of $355,000 (adjusted to CPI) to be paid 
each year beginning in Jan 2004
- does not specify a split of funds

The Memorandum of Understanding:
- between Lompoc and Santa Maria to build and operate facilities jointly
- signed in September 2003
- stated purpose is "efficiency"
- specifies an "executive entity" (e.g., one person, such as Bryan Miller, or 
an organization, such as a non-profit) 
- specifies an "executive committee" made up of two "city representatives" from 
each city to oversee operation and management of the facilities
- does not specify a split of funds
- can be dissolved by either city with 90 days notice

PEG Executive Director Bryan Miller:
- the position and job description were posted by Santa Maria in October 2003
- is a Santa Maria employee to be shared by Lompoc, paid from the trust account
- Bryan comes from Napa, operated PEG there as ED of a non-profit corporation

- cable operators are required to provide local channels (local origination and 
- local origination (LO) is programming the cable operator produces or buys, or 
leases use of a local channel
- Public, Education and Government (PEG) access is for public use
- consists of channels, plus equipment for creating programs
- required of cable operators by FCC in 1972 and Congress in 1984
- public access (PA) content is protected by the First Amendment 
- since 1996, a cable operator cannot edit or prohibit PA content
- a cable operator can only refuse to air PA content that is obscene, but it is 
not obscene until it airs.

Local discretion:  All decisions about PEG rules and funds are being made by 
the executive committee (EC).  This committee is made up of 2 city reps from 
Lompoc and 2 from SM, plus Bryan. There is no local body (person or group) to 
review decisions made by the EC and how they will affect Lompoc.  There is no 
local body (person or group) to give voice to local needs not being addressed 
by the EC.  Lots of people have a stake in how, where, and when the Lompoc 
facility will operate, however, all decisions are taking place behind closed 
CALL:  a Lompoc ad hoc committee

Funds:  The split of funds was never resolved.  The first action of the 
executive committee was to split it unevenly.  The history of this issue:  Sue 
Buske (cable consultant) advised L & SM to combine under one exec entity to 
operate 2 PEG centers less expensively.  No split defined.  In June 2003 SM 
City Mgr Tim Ness said publicly the funds were half.  MOU signed Sept 2003 did 
not define split.  Dec 2003 Mayor DeWees said at CC meeting, they're bigger 
than we are, they get more.  Mar 2004 exec committee splits 60-40.
The argument pro 60-40 is that SM has more subscribers.
The arguments against 60-40:
- the Comcast grant is not linked to subscibers. 
- Lompoc has greater need because it has more use.
Question:  How were the funds paid to the cities?  If checks from Comcast were 
paid to each of the cities, were they equal?
Question:  What public accounting is there of how the funds are spent?  How can 
we inspect these accounts?
CALL:  CC ask staff to show the public what amount it was paid by Comcast, and 
also enable inspection of the budget

Equipment:  Lompoc's equipment must be able to operate independently of Santa 
Maria.  We still have no shopping list from Bryan.  The playback system Bryan 
has proposed is flawed, because Lompoc would depend on SM for our own playback. 
 In response to the suggestion of a second small studio in Lompoc, Bryan said 
it's not needed, but current demand suggests we should consider it.  Our 
capital funding will be gone soon and these certain needs may go unaddressed.  
CALL:  CC give a local ad hoc committee the right to inspect the equipment plan 
and the funds

Staffing:  Bryan plans to hire a program director and operating staff.  City 
staffing is expensive and inflexible.  Mutual employment by two cities is even 
more so.  
CALL:  CC ask staff for the staffing and hiring plan

Site:  The location must be accessible to the public.  The site must have 
common areas, quiet editing areas, group planning areas, as well as green room 
and studio space.  The building must have public parking.  No future 
encroachment can take place, if PEG space is shared with another department.  
The lease cannot exceed some percentage of the budget.
CALL:  CC provide the ad hoc committee with a comparison of potential sites

PEG integrity:  Producer autonomy and strict liability must be respected in 
studio design, studio use, and staffing.  Equipment, wiring, and training must 
aim for ease and variability of use by producers.
CALL:  CC direct staff to adhere to disclaimers and liability

I know this was a lot of information.  I hope not too much.  If anyone has 
other concerns or issues, shoot them up to the list.  Any PEG supporters 
willing to stick it out till the end of the meeting will be appreciated.  
Surprises can happen.



   Lompoc public access producers group
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