contact info for mayor, council & key staff
committee gets rolling,
appoints working groups
2003 The City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee
held its second monthly meeting at Reno City Hall. Like the inaugural
in December, this one was not cablecast but future meetings will
be on Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT).
Watch this website and the Barbwire
column in the Sunday Sparks
Tribune for news.
At the Dec. 11, 2002, meeting, the committee elected officers,
naming Andrew Barbano as chair, Karol Gorman as
vice-chair and Kate Marshall as recording secretary. Jackie
Inman, Barbara Stone, Noel Thornsberry and Peter Padilla
round out the panel.
15, 2003, the panel heard from Liz Teixeira, Assistant
to the City Manager of Carson City, regarding the role and responsibilities
of the capital city's cable oversite committee. She advised the
committee to stay focused on its objectives by keeping in mind
our limitations under the law.
Fred Fichman, Executive Director of The Media Center which
runs Sierra Nevada Community Access
Television (SNCAT), updated us on his operations.
Marsha Berkbigler, Charter Communications Director of Governmental
Relations, provided an update about ongoing upgrades and construction
of the area cable system. She also answered a wide-ranging set
of questions from the committee and city staff and received several
consumer complaints which the public had given to committee members.
She said that she would personally handle all issues brought to
her by the panel and committed to attend our future meetings.
(A more detailed record of the committee's questions and her responses
may be accessed in the official
minutes. Also see Letters/FAQs.)
asked Ms. Berkbigler to present a complete package of Charter
sales packages, billing and operational policies at the February
meeting. She said she would do so.
The February meeting was cancelled by city
staff, circumventing the exclusive authority of the chair. Ms.
Berkbigler failed to submit the documents in March and continued
her refusal into the summer when the material was finally provided.
Ms. Inman resigned from the panel, frustrated at Charter's stonewalling
on consumer complaints and intimidating of her former Charter
co-workers. At its June 11 meeting, the Reno City Council agendized
appointments of replacements for Ms. Inman and Mr. Padilla, who
resigned in May for business reasons. Business demands caused
Mrs. Marshall to resign in June. All are missed.
Floyd Dean and Chuck Lanham were appointed to replace
Ms. Inman and Mr. Padilla. On Oct. 8, the city council appointed
Richard Barton, Ph.D., to replace Ms. Marshall. Dr. Barton
declined for personal reasons on Oct. 16, 2003. John Barber
was appointed in February, 2004.
20, 2003 The
Reno City Council unanimously enacted a new master cable ordinance
which will be the underlying law driving cable provider franchise
AUGUST 28, 2003, CCCC MEETING
Click on the previous link to read more about it. (Click
here to read Reno News & Review coverage of the meeting.)
MEETINGS The committee scheduled its regular
monthly meetings on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30
p.m. in the council chambers at Reno City Hall. We convened early
on Sept. 25 at 4:00 p.m., but
reverted to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 23.
The November and December 2003 meetings were scheduled on third
Tuesdays (Nov. 18 and Dec. 16) because Thanksgiving and Christmas
fell on fourth Thursdays
when we'd rather watch cable TV than discuss it. For agendas and
recent minutes, go to the City
of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee city website page.
CANCELLATION The Nov. 18, 2003, Reno Citizens
Cable Compliance Committee meeting was canceled due to the illness
of one member, time conflicts of others, and the fact that we
were a member short for several months.
'03 MEETING We carried the November agenda
forward to Dec. 16. Click here to
access the November/December agenda.
Dec. 16, 2003, meeting, Andrew Barbano was re-elected to
a second one-year term as chair of the CCCC. Floyd Dean
was named vice-chair and Karol Gorman moved from vice-chair
to recording secretary.
2-25-2004 The Reno City Council appointed John Barber
to the committee which will now be at full strength just in time
for franchise renewal hearings. Any Reno resident wishing to serve
in case of a future vacancy may contact City Clerk Lynnette
Jones at (775) 334-2030 for an application, or apply via the
consider signing up for our mailing
and stay in touch.
Reno plays it wrong, as usual
reviews one-year franchise extension
Citizens committee ponders new involvement
24 & 25, 2003
and consumers criticize city staff
On Wednesday, October 22, 2003, the Reno City Council agendized
two recommendations forwarded from the Sept. 25 CCCC meeting:
the placement of a CCCC member as an observer in negotiation of
a new Charter franchise agreement and permanent inclusion of purview
over cable TV in the city manager's job description. The council
rejected the first proposal 7-0 and amended the second to apply
to the city's director of community relations. [[FOLLOWUP
3-30-2004 Ruffled chickens came home to roost as
the CCCC was pushed to review, receive public input and make recommendations
to the council in just 14 days. When the final product was finally
revealed, citizens committee concerns about the secret negotiations
were proven justified. It foreshadowed the railroad job to come.
See 2004 News.]]
Right Way: San Jose vs. Comcast
244-page legal brief filed by the nation's largest and most powerful
cable company in its recent suit against the City of San Jose,
California, reveals its profound indifference to the public good.
San Jose's conditions for continuing
its cable franchise include expanded public interest programming,
community network access to the Internet, fiber-optic lines to
serve the city, and compliance with living wage, non-discrimination
and other social justice laws. Comcast in its brief rejects each
of these requirements as a violation of its First Amendment rights.
You can learn more about this case
and what action to take at the
Center for Digital Democracy website.
GAZETTE-JOURNAL (5-18-2003) Charter Communications
customers in Reno, Sparks, Fallon and Carson City will see a boost
of up to 13 percent in their bills for basic or expanded cable
services starting June 15. In mailings sent last week, customers
are advised that basic cable rates will increase by 13 percent,
to $14.01 a month. The cost of expanded basic is going up 8.4
percent to $29.98. And standard cable a combination of
basic and expanded basic is going up 10 percent, to $43.99...
shower for ratepayers. Charter rate hike will go through
unchallenged. Charter works the system, City of Reno goes beyond
window of opportunity to review or fight Charter filing. -->
to the Ledge 2003
Cable companies target consumers at the Nevada Legislature
to fight back
PLEASE NOTE The above page at Sen. Joe
Neal's website has links and complete contact info for both the
Nevada State Senate Committee on Commerce & Labor (SB 278,
SB 429) and the Committee on Taxation (SB 492).
Sparks Tribune April 6, 2003 (updated web edition)
cable bills killed
Sparks Tribune April 13, 2003
Cable greed and lawmaker laxity come back to bite Nevada in the
Wall Street Journal lists Nevada among state legislatures which
passed anti-consumer legislation barring municipalities from providing
cable and Internet services. Now, the wi-fi cyberchickens are
expensively coming home to rue.
Street Journal/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 3-21-2006
abovelinked article also appeared in the 3-27-2006 Reno Gazette-Journal
TOLJASO DEPT. Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, Barbara
Stone and Andrew Barbano tried to repair the law in 2003, but
Cox and Charter had too many people bought.
the rest of the whole sad story.
of Reno and cable TV franchisees fail to comply
with law for more than a decade
could have prevented cable complaints
Anjeanette Damon, Reno Gazette-Journal
Sunday front-page lead story Feb. 23, 2003
billing errors, rude call-takers, unreliable service technicians
and disrupted programming. They also are the problems the city
had the power to prevent. In a two-month investigation, the Reno
Gazette-Journal found the city has failed over 15 years to enforce
stringent consumer protection requirements called for by its franchise
agreement with the cable company, now Charter Communications.
Read the complete story...
Reno begins negotiations with Charter
It's an opportunity that comes around maybe once every 15 years
in Reno negotiating how the cable company should pay back
the community for using the public right-of-way to run its lines.
the complete story...
Council receives report highly critical of Charter Cable operations
January 21, 2003
The Reno City Council today received a detailed study on cable
television community needs. The ascertainment was performed by
Action Audits LLC of North Carolina under contract with the city
as part of the Charter Cable franchise renewal process. Robert
Sepe, Ph.D., of Action Audits presented the study to the council
and responded to questions. SNCAT
carried the council meeting live and recablecasted the meeting
in its entirety on Thursday, January 23 and again on Sunday, January
to Reno City Council says
Charter "failed on every level"
Gazette-Journal 1-22-2003 (More news
Summary of City Consultant's Report