12-11-2002 Cable Compliance Committee Minutes

Wednesday, December 11, 2002
4:00 p.m.
Reno City Hall
Room 212c


Present: Barbara Stone, Karol Gorman, Jonathan Shipman, Andrew Barbano (Chairperson), Jackie Inman, Peter Padilla, Trudy Cross, Sharon Spangler, Kate Marshall, Robert Sepe.

Absent: Noel Thornsberry


The meeting was called to order at 4:05 p.m. with a quorum of six members present.


Each member present, along with employees of the city assigned to the Citizen Cable Compliance Committee, introduced him/herself to the other members. Each member gave a brief description of why they had applied to the Citizen Cable Compliance Committee.

Kate Marshall stated that she had experience with the Public Utility Commission of Nevada and the Federal Communications Commission. Andrew Barbano stated that he was a writer and media consultant and founding member of SNCAT who was very interested in media issues and a heavy user of CATV. Barbara Stone stated that she was retired and an advocate for senior citizens. Karol Gorman stated that she was a Branch Manager for a mortgage company and interested in improving customer service and increasing consumer satisfaction. Jonathan Shipman stated that he was the assistant city attorney designated as council for the Committee. Jackie Inman stated that she had worked in the cable industry for much of her career starting out as a customer service representative and retiring as the area network administrator for Reno. Sharon Spangler stated that she has worked for the City of Reno for the past eight years and is the liaison between the cable company and the City and between the media center and the City.


Jonathan Shipman reviewed Resolution No. 6077 (see attached). Resolution No. 6077 created the Citizens Cable Compliance Committee to monitor franchise contract compliance. Paragraph three which discusses the purpose of the committee engendered discussion.

3 (a): The city may from time to time provide information to the committee as issues arise in order to have the committee assist in determining whether the cable committee is in compliance with its franchise. For example if the city receives information from NATOA or if the committee collects and reviews the cable companyís own records of complaints it has received, the committee may then provide its opinion and analyses to the City Council. The committee must request from the cable company its complaint/reliability records. The franchise contract delineates the types of information and materials which may be requested from the cable company.

Paragraph 3 (c): The City's jurisdiction and therefore its ability to regulate cable rates is restricted to basic cable rates.

Paragraph 3 (d): The definition of "unresolved complaint" is within the purview of the committee to determine. Such issues may be marked for discussion and placed on the agenda of a future meeting.

Paragraph 3 (f): This subsection also involves a review of access to PEG, the media center, and what could be recommended to include in the next franchise contract in order to ensure that Reno citizens are getting maximum benefits from what the cable company can provide. Andrew Barbano stated that another goal identified by this subsection is outreach to the business community to determine what needs the business community has and how the cable company may play a part in satisfying those needs.

The existing franchise contract is available on the internet at www.munico.com or www.munico.org

There was also discussion regarding the ability of this Committee to review the draft report to be submitted to the City Council by Action Audits regarding renewal of Charter Communications cable franchise. It was determined that the draft has not yet been produced. Once it is submitted to the City Council staff, which is likely to occur the week before the City Council's January meeting, then it will be made available to this Committee. Dr. Sepe stated that he would expect his consultant group, Action Audits, LLC, to provide the City Council staff copies of his draft report approximately three days before it was scheduled to be reviewed at a City Council meeting. Sharon Spangler stated that, since the City Council agenda is made public three days before a meeting is held, the report would be publicly available at that time for review by this Committee. Andrew Barbano requested that if the draft was available before then the Committee be informed so that it could submit a request to the City Council for earlier access to the draft report.

Jonathan Shipman also advised that the role of this Committee is to oversee ongoing compliance of Charter Communications with its franchise requirements. This Committee should be providing a solid record analyzing whether the cable company has met its ongoing compliance requirements for consideration in the next franchise renewal in ten years. In addition, this Committee can provide the City Council with information on the cable company's current compliance status. Such information will be relevant to the franchise renewal process underway at this time. However, franchise renewal is a separate matter and not within the purview of this Committee. Jonathan stated that he could provide a staff report on this issue. One concern regarding this Committee's involvement in the current franchise renewal process is that it would further delay the City's abilities to meet its deadlines in the franchise renewal process. Andrew Barbano expressed concern that restricting this Committee's involvement in the current franchise renewal process would deny citizen involvement in the process. He also requested an electronic version of resolution no. 6077 for posting on his website.

Jonathan Shipman reviewed paragraph 8 which provides for election of committee officers and requires that this Committee meet a minimum of once a year.

Under paragraph 9, this Committee must comply with the open meeting law and a quorum shall equal four (4) members.

Staffing of the Committee shall be determined by the City Manager.

Under paragraph 11, this Committee shall establish bylaws. Jonathan Shipman handed out the existing bylaws for the Neighborhood Advisory Boards (see attached) to be used as a model for this Committee. He agreed to send a draft of bylaws for this Committee prior to the next meeting.


The following officers were elected:
Andrew Barbano — Chairperson
Karol Gorman — Co-Chairperson
Kate Marshall — Recording Secretary



The next meeting was scheduled to be held Wednesday, January 15, 2003 in the same meeting place.

Potential Future Agenda Items:

1. Presentation by Charter Communications


Andrew Barbano stated that this Committee needed and encouraged as many citizens as possible to participate in assisting this committee.


There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.



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