THE CITY OF RENO'S
BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS REVIEW TASK FORCE
December 9, 2004
NOTE: The city's director of community
relations refused to provide an electronic copy of the
following, which was reproduced from a copy faxed by the
city clerk. Errors noted appear as submitted to the task
force by city staff.
IN BRACKETS ARE THOSE OF CITIZENS CABLE COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE
CHAIR ANDREW BARBANO.]]
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 11:08:13 -0800
From: "Steven Wright" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "Lynnette Jones" <JonesL@ci.reno.nv.us>
Subject: Re: your presentation
Lynnette is taking care of that as she is overseeing the
>>> Andrew Barbano <email@example.com>
12/13/04 11:05AM >>>
Please e me a copy of your written response to the boards
and commissions review task force so that I may distribute
it to the CCCC.
Thanks and happy holidays.
AND RESPONSES TO TASK FORCE QUESTIONS
FROM THE CITIZENS CABLE COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE
PRESENTATION BY CITY OF RENO
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS STEVEN WRIGHT
Boards and Commissions Review Task Force
Citizens Cable Compliance Committee
1. When and why was the board originally formed?
The board was created in 2002 to serve as an advisory body to
the City of Reno and to monitor franchise contract compliance
by each community antenna television ("CATV") company
and to report to the Reno City Council on the status of compliance
at least once per year. In particular, the focus of the this
committee involved ensuring that the new master cable ordinance
and the franchise address consumer protection issues.
2. Has the original objective been met?
Yes, with regard to the master cable ordinance and franchise
issues related to consumer protection.
3. Has the objective changed over time?
Yes. The chairman of the board has made this committee a platform
for his personal agendas. Even though, (sic) the Council has
repeatedly told the committee they were not to be involved in
the negotiations, the Chairman chose to inject the committee
as often as possible. It has also become a forum for the Chairs
(sic) editorial comments and personal feelings about Charter
[[BARBANO NOTE: Mr. Wright ignores
the fact that the committee voted to ask the council for involvement
in the renegotiation of the franchise after finding evidence
4. Has the major work been completed?
The major work with respect to the master cable ordinance and
franchise has been completed. There is an annual reporting component
dealing with compliance that could still be conducted by the
committee. However, this work does not require the monthly,
televised 2-1/2 to 3 hour meetings currently being held.
5. What are the mission and goals of the board?
There is no established mission or goals for the board other
than the purposed (sic) stated in number one and the duties
outlined in the committee's
[[BARBANO NOTE: THE FINDINGS AND AUTHORITIES OF CITY COUNCIL
RESOLUTIONS 6077 AND 6178 ARE
6. What are its five-year work projections?
There are no five-year work projections.
[[BARBANO NOTE: ALL THE MORE REASON TO ADOPT THE COMMITTEE'S
LONG-RANGE PLAN WHICH THE COUNCIL TABLED AT THE SUGGESTION
OF COUNCILMAN AIAZZI ON 13 OCT. 2004.]]
7. What has this board accomplished in the past?
The committee has reviewed and made recommendations to the Council
regarding the master cable ordinance and the new Charter franchise.
There (sic) entire focus for the last year and a half has been
the master cable ordinance, the franchise negotiations and finding
Charter in non-compliance.
[[BARBANO NOTE: A GLANCE AT THE UNOFFICIAL WEBSITE WILL SHOW
THAT THE COMMITTEE HAS DONE FAR MORE. See http://www.barbanomedia.com/charter.html
8. How many times has this board met during the past five
The committee has met approximately 18 times over the last year
and a half including regular monthly meetings and special workshops.
9. Do other agencies duplicate this board?
The City, state and federal government all have roles in cable
regulation. This group was formed at the recommendation of a
consultant and against the advice of City staff to monitor Charter's
compliance because of past errors, some real and some perceived,
by City staff in regulating Charter.
[[BARBANO NOTE: SOPHISTRY AND NON-SEQUITUR. THIS COMMENT UNFAIRLY
UNDERCUTS THE $54,000
ACTION AUDITS COMMUNITY ASCERTAINMENT STUDY. THE COUNCIL
AND STAFF IGNORED ITS MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS AS WELL AS THE COMMITTEE'S.
THE RESPONSE DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION.]]
10. Is another board or commission providing the same or
11. Does this board have a unique function?
No. The federal law states that limited regulation of cable
operators falls under the purview of local governments. City
staff is involved in regulation and compliance on an on-going
(sic) basis including keeping up-to-date on legal and regulatory
issues in partnership with the City Attorney's Office.
12. Could the function be provided more effectively through
another method other than a City board or commission?
The function of cable regulation in 99% of municipalities is
not overseen or handled by a citizens committee because there
are too many on-going (sic) variables and issues that require
attention of professional staff and because the legal authority
rests with the governmental entities.
[[BARBANO NOTE: AGAIN, THE RESPONSE DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION.]]
13. Does this board need City Support? (sic) If yes, what
The committee has adequate city support. However, many times,
the chair and hence the committee ignores (sic) legal advice
and opinions offered by the City Attorney's Office as well as
recommendations by professional staff.
[BARBANO NOTE: SO WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?]]
14. What City Resources (sic) are being utilized to support
The committee uses professional minutes transcriptions services,
staff support from a Deputy City Attorney (sic), Public Communications
Specialist, (sic) and the Director of Community Relations. (sic)
The committee also requires monthly live-broadcast services
from SNCAT as part of the City's SNCAT contract allotment.
[[BARBANO NOTE: CITY STAFF IS WELL AWARE THAT THE COMMITTEE
VOTED TO MOVE TO A QUARTERLY MEETING SCHEDULE FOR 2005. FURTHER,
THE CITY DID NOT INCLUDE CABLECASTING THE MEETINGS OF THE CITIZENS
CABLE COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE IN ITS NEW CONTRACT WITH SIERRA NEVADA
COMMUNITY ACCESS TELEVISION (SNCAT).]]
15. What is the cost to the City?
The costs associated with this committee including staff time
involved in researching and dealing with committee requests,
SNCAT services and staff time to be present at meetings is approximately
$30,000 per year.
[[BARBANO NOTE: CITY STAFF OPPOSED A CABLE COMMITTEE REQUEST
THAT THE CITY'S FINANCIAL ADVISORY BOARD AUDIT THE COST OF ADMINISTERING
THE CABLE FRANCHISE. COMMUNITY RELATIONS DIRECTOR STEVEN
WRIGHT TOLD THE COMMITTEE AT A REGULARLY SCHEDULED AND TELEVISED
MEETING THAT THE PRINCIPAL EXPENSE OF RENO CABLE REGULATION
LAY WITH COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE CABLE COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE,
THE MAIN COMPONENT OF WHICH WAS STAFF TIME.
IF STAFF TIME IS INDEED THE PRINCIPAL ITEM, THAT COST MAY BE
ALLOCATED, BUT IT CAN ALSO BE ARGUED AS APPROACHING ZERO IN
THAT THE CITY STAFF WOULD RECEIVE THE SAME PAY AND BENEFITS
IRRESPECTIVE OF THE CABLE COMMITTEE'S EXISTENCE. THE ONLY AVOIDED
COSTS WOULD THUS BE THE EXPENSES, ADMITTEDLY A MUCH SMALLER
COMPONENT. PERHAPS CITY STAFF WILL NOW ACQUIESCE TO SUPPLY A
BREAKDOWN OF HOW THE $30,000 NUMBER WAS COMPILED. THE FINANCIAL
ADVISORY BOARD COULD THUS AT LONG LAST BE APPRISED OF THE COST
OF CABLE REGULATION.
THE $30,000 FIGURE REPRESENTS 2.5 PERCENT OF THE RATEPAYER-GENERATED
FRANCHISE FEES WHICH THE CITY PROJECTS IT WILL ANNUALLY RECEIVE
UNDER THE NEW FRANCHISE AGREEMENT.
"Under the new agreement, the city would receive $2.8 million
in grant money from the company for video and broadcast equipment,
five free public access channels and a franchise fee of about
$1.2 million a year." (Reno
16. Could this board exist without the use of City services?
Not really. The legal relationship between any cable operator
and the local franchising authority (the City) is specific and
does not include an appointed citizen group in a regulatory
capacity. The group couldn't access most of the information
they would need to make decisions without staff. Legal and professional
staff expertise is paramount although this committee seems to
disregard this expertise.
17. Does the function of this Board (sic) require one (or
more) members with specific expertise?
It should but none of the current committee members have expertise
in cable related issues or the cable industry.
[[BARBANO NOTE: THE LATTER COMMENT IGNORES THE CHAIR'S FOUR
DECADES OF EXPERIENCE IN ALL FORMS OF MEDIA, INCLUDING EXTENSIVE
DEALINGS WITH BOTH NON-PROFIT (HE SERVED ON THE
SNCAT FOUNDING BOARD) AND COMMERCIAL CABLE TELEVISION. IT
FURTHER IGNORES THE LONG TELECOMMUNICATIONS CAREER OF CCCC MEMBER
NOEL THORNSBERRY. THREE OF THE ORIGINAL SEVEN APPOINTEES, SINCE
RESIGNED, ALSO HAD SUBSTANTIAL EXPERIENCE IN THE CABLE/TELEVISION
INDUSTRY IN THE AREAS OF TECHNICAL/ADMINISTRATIVE, LAW AND MANAGEMENT.
THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS WERE INVALUABLE AND CONTINUE TO RESONATE.]]
Neighborhood Services Driven:
18. Does the board or commission provide a link to neighborhood
19. Is its mission now within the scope of Neighborhood Advisory
Relationship to City's Goals and Priorities
20. Can citizen and staff resources be better focused on other
City staff could better focus its resources on the actual regulation
and monitoring of cable franchises and better use of the cable
21. Could the board or commission be consolidated or eliminated?
This committee could be eliminated or should at least be given
stricter guidelines for how often meetings are held and specifically
what they can and can't do. The broad nature of their by-laws
has allowed them to "run amuck:.
22. Should this be a "temporary" ad hoc group?
This committee would better function as an ad hoc group that
gets together once a year to review cable operator compliance
and hold annual public meetings to receive consumer feedback
about cable operators' performance.
Kill CCCC/city of reno/charter/opsn4]
The City of Reno's Boards and Commissions Review Task Force
recommended that the Citizens Cable Compliance Committee be
eliminated. The task force agreed with McNeely Administration
staff that city employees could do the job and that the committee
is unnecessary. At its meeting of 23 Feb. 2005, the Reno City
Council voted down the recommendation to kill the cable panel.]