News from the City of Reno's
cable consumer advisory panel

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Reno Council & cable committee meetings

Updated 3-26-2004

At its meeting of March 24, 2004, the Reno City Council considered the following recommendations from the Citizens Cable Compliance Committee.

12b. Recommendation from the Citizens Cable Compliance
Committee regarding Mandatory Attendance at Citizens Cable Compliance Meetings by Qualified Cable Service Provider Representatives.

12c. Recommendation from Citizens Cable Compliance Committee that Charter Communications be found in Non-Compliance with Reno Municipal Code Section 5.90.1370 regarding notifying customers of complaint procedures and be ordered to come into compliance.

The council turned down the first request under advice from staff counsel that the city has no power to compel attendance because of a lack of specific provisions in the current franchise agreement.

The CCCC has encountered problems in the past both with Charter non-attendance and refusal to provide even publicly available documents. Charter notified CCCC Chairman Andrew Barbano after the council hearing that the company would provide no qualified executive at either the committee's March 25 meeting or the live call-in town hall scheduled for April 1.

The council postponed action on the second issue for further study.

CCCC Chair Andrew Barbano pointed out to the council the details of the Federal Communications Commission regulation regarding what information must be provided to consumers in an annual notice. Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler admitted that the document at hand was deficient. Nonetheless, freshman Councilmember Dwight Dortch wanted the council to support the staff recommendation to vote down the committee's request.

At the CCCC meeting of March 25, Council Liaison David Aiazzi stated that he would request that city attorneys justify with proper legal points and authorities its arguments in opposing both committee recommendations.

The committee spent almost its entire March 25 meeting reviewing the draft franchise agreement, proposed revisions to the new master cable ordinance which the committee spent months on last year, and staff and member recommendations. The committee posed questions to the staff which will have answers ready for the live cablecast on April 1.

The most important decision the committee made at its meeting lay in a unanimous vote to recommend that the council forward the franchise draft to the city's Financial Advisory Board for a full review of its monetary aspects.

City staff and Charter have not concurred with cable consultant Robert Sepe's recommendation that Charter be required to provide a cashable letter of credit rather than an insurance policy (surety bond) to guarantee that the company can financially fulfill its obligations under the proposed 15-year contract. (Dr. Sepe recommended a maximum eight-year franchise in his $54,000 community needs study presented to the city last year.)

City staff informed the committee that letters of credit are not required in other jurisdictions. CCCC Vice-Chair Floyd Dean stated that, given Charter's deteriorating financial condition, Reno should be the first. He then moved that the committee urge the council to have the agreement reviewed by the longstanding financial panel. (CCCC Recording Secretary Gorman is a member of the finance board.)

The committee adjourned at 8:50 after two hours and five minutes.

We will next meet on Thursday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at Reno City Hall. It will be cablecast live on SNCAT/Charter Cable Channel 13 in Reno-Sparks with two reruns to follows.

Stay tuned and stay in touch.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano
CCCC Chair

April 1, 2004
6:30 PM
Reno City Hall
490 South Center Street, Council Chambers
Reno, Nevada 89501

The City invites Reno residents to tune in to a special Citizens Cable Compliance Committee meeting and live call-in program. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Reno City Council Chambers at 490 South Center Street with a presentation of the major provisions of the proposed 15-year cable television franchise agreement between the City of Reno and Charter Communications.

Residents may call in beginning at 7:00 p.m. with questions or comments about the proposed contract. The live call-in number is (775) 334-2402. Calls will be taken at least until 8:00 p.m. and the time may be extended if callers are still waiting. Reno residents are also invited to come to the meeting and present testimony in person, if they prefer.

Click here for information about obtaining a copy of the proposed Cable Franchise Agreement and Master Cable Ordinance.

  Watch this website and Barbwire by Barbano in the Sunday Sparks Tribune and Thursday Comstock Chronicle for updates. Click here to request placement on our mailing list.

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