www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT

Gregory G. Davis



16 January 2014


Kimberly J. Santopietro, Nicholas Neeley

Executive Secretary, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

10 Franklin Square

New Britain CT 06051


Greetings


Final Comment PURA RQ 11-07-09 Motion # 9 from Gregory G. Davis


Final Comment submission to the PURA 6 Jan 2014 Notice to Merja H. Lehtinen, chairman for the SVAC, communicating an official PURA Request for comment on 5 questions, by 17 Jan 2014 with regards to the Area 2 Cable Advisory Council request that subscriber funding for community access be set aside for legal fees to be used in its defense in the legal proceeding before the Hartford Superior Court docket HHD-CV-12-6034434-S, Attachment A.

 

5 PURA Questions RESTATED FOR REFERENCE FROM THE PURA NOTICE:

            The Authority hereby seeks Written Comments on the following 5 issues:

1)      What is the legal basis to grant or deny this request

2)      If granted, what source of funding would be set aside and in what manner?

3)      If granted, how would the amount of funding be determined?

4)      If denied, how could the Council fund its legal defense?

5)      Any other information in this matter that may be useful to the PURA


Opinions and comment by Gregory G. Davis, Chairman - Area 19 Cable Advisory Council, Charter Western, Member SVAC, as Submitted on or before 10 January, with final comment including the endorsement of the Area 19 Cable Advisory Council, Charter Western, on or before 17 January 2014.


Document is attached.


Yours truly

Gregory G. Davis, KB1YHW

Chairman, Area 19 Cable Advisory Council



GGDavis.com

Photographic Arts

203-510-4817 mobile,

860-355-4122 office

email ggd@GGDavis.com

57 Squire Road Roxbury CT 06783

A Citizen’s Response from CT Area 19 to the Request for

Written Comment on PURA Docket 11-07-09, Motion No. 9


8 January 2014


Merja H. Lehtinen, Chairman

Statewide Video Advisory Council

Email: ctmhlhr@yahoo.com


Nicholas E. Neeley, Acting Executive Secretary

Executive Secretary, State of Connecticut PURA

10 Franklin Square, New Britain CT 06051


Greetings


I have read an email letter from Merja H. Lehtinen, chairman for the SVAC, communicating an official PURA Request for comment on 5 questions, by 10 Jan 2014 with regards to the Area 2 Cable Advisory Council request that subscriber funding for community access be set aside for legal fees to be used in its defense in the legal proceeding before the Hartford Superior Court docket HHD-CV-12-6034434-S, Attachment A.


5 PURA Questions RESTATED FOR REFERENCE FROM THE PURA NOTICE:

The Authority hereby seeks Written Comments on the following 5 issues:

  1. What is the legal basis to grant or deny this request

  2. If granted, what source of funding would be set aside and in what manner?

  3. If granted, how would the amount of funding be determined?

  4. If denied, how could the Council fund its legal defense?

  5. Any other information in this matter that may be useful to the PURA


Opinions and comment by Gregory G. Davis, Chairman

Chairman - Area 19 Cable Advisory Council, Charter Western, Member SVAC

Q1 What is the basis:

i. PURA, as the franchising authority under the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, P.L. 102-385, has all the power and authority to make such rulings and orders as are required to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. The request from the Area 2 Cable Advisory Council implicates this power as the pending court case deals directly and exclusively with public access to community programming and the existence or non existence of competitive providers of community access programming.

Area 2 Cable Advisory Council is established pursuant to the mandate contained in Section 16-331(c)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes. Consistently with that mandate, PURA has adopted regulations 16-333-25 that provide for the appointment of advisory council members by specified appointing authorities, to wit: chief elected officials, boards of education and public library boards. When these authorities have acted, the advisory council exists. No one disputes the fact that appointments have occurred with regard to the Area 2 Advisory Council.

To answer the question of advisory council legitimacy under PA07-253 in an area which lacks a service provider operating with the Certificate of Cable Franchise Authority License, can be summarized as follows:

1 Every designated community access provider has an advisory council married to it with duties and functions as specified by CT Law, in at least nine different statements under CGS 16-331-16-333. (http://cableadvisorycouncil.com/motions/R19CAC-12-09-11-M1.htm) Therefore - If the Designated Community Access Provider legally exists, the advisory council has duties to perform to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.

2 Ambiguity regarding the funding source for an advisory council in the event that an access region does not have an active CCFA license, does not, in any way, delete/cancel/remove/ or dissolve the legally delegated functions and duties of the advisory council.

3 The Area 2 Cable Advisory Council is an intervenor in this case as direct result of the requests by PURA and the other defendants that it be joined. In that request PURA and the other towns have made a judicial admission that Area 2 Cable Advisory Council is an indispensable party without which the Superior Court can not render a valid judgment. It would be a gross in-justice for the Council to not have proper representation to carry out the responsibilities delegated to it by the law.

Q2: What is the source of the funding to be set aside:

The Region 2 Advisory Council should be given the order by PURA to set aside a portion of the subscriber fee funding required by Section 16-331gg, for its legal representation in this case. Alternatively the designated community access provider should be ordered to pay over to Region 2 Advisory Council sufficient funds for the legal representation.

Q3: How should the amount of the funding be determined:

The amount of funding should be determined by reference to the prevailing rates for legal services of this kind in the Hartford Judicial District and be sufficient to provide for a thorough representation by Region 2 of the public interests that it represents.





Q4: If denied how could the Council fund its legal defense.

It appears that the Council would not be able to represent the public interest in this lawsuit unless it can locate an attorney willing to proceed on a pro-bono basis. Section 51-88 of the Connecticut General Statutes expressly probhibts the representation in court of any entity, by a person who is not admitted as an attorney to the practice of law in this State.



Q5: Any other information that may be useful?

A Summary Review of PA 08-159 codified into CGS Chapter 289 Sections 16-331(ff) and 16-331(gg) and what it accomplishes by GGDavis: (Ref: http://cableadvisorycouncil.com/reports/FutureOfCommunityAccess-7.html and http://cableadvisorycouncil.com/reports/FutureOfCommunityAccess-8.html)

Section 1 (a) Specifically targets the designated community access provider in Region 2 and reassigns its Educational and Government access provider operations to town / municipal / educational entities upon their request, whether Sound View Community Media agrees or not.

Section 1(b) Further provides Sound View Community Media the incentive to officially agree to reassign Educational and Government access provider operations within 3 days of official request, or have their own designated access provider status terminated in 180 days, followed by a re-application process, open to all suitors, to become the new designated community access provider.

Section 2(a) requires the incumbent cable company - Cablevision - in Region 2, to divert $100,000 of the community access subscriber fees which it collects to the Cable advisory council for Region 2 to be used for the support of Government and Educational access provider operations.

Section 2 (b) The cable advisory council is required to distribute all of the funds to the government and educational access producers, according to grant policies established by the advisory council.

Section 2 (c) The cable advisory council will annually account for the funds and guarantee that all of the funds were used specifically for the government and educational access provider operations.




Part B: Analysis and Review of PA 08-159, in context with PA 07-253 and the impact on the Institution of Community Access Television as Created by CGS Chapter 289, Sections 16-331 – 16-333.



1) PA 08-159 specifically targets one entity with the use of the following language:

" Any third-party nonprofit community access provider serving six municipalities, one of which has a population of more than one hundred thirty thousand,..."


Only PURA map area defined as Region 2 meets the 6 municipality total, with Bridgeport being the one larger than 130,000 population. The other 23 PURA defined map area regions are UN-effected. The third-party nonprofit community access provider is Soundview Community Media.


2. Even though PA 08-159 has this controversial foundation, the adoption of the act has provided a direct and beneficial short term outcome: Preservation of an evolved legacy infrastructure of community access television providers within Region 2, and helped to defend them against predatory actions on the part of legacy designated community access provider - Soundview Community Media. SVCM fully intends to once again monopolize all funding for community access production in the Region 2 territory.


In short, this special interest act, had the immediate good result in saving the smaller community access providers in Region 2. The downside of PA08-159 has been the profligate waste of Region 2 community access subscriber fees on legal maneuvers and law suits specifically targeted to derail and repeal the act by Soundview Community Media.


3. There is a far bigger issue that must be resolved: the shortcoming in PA 07-253 which allows for legacy / incumbent cable companies to freely choose between two operating license categories without qualification. This freedom has invited a distortion first adopted by the management of Cablevision, the new license category of "STATEWIDE VIDEO SERVICES PROVIDER". Cablevision found it to their advantage to choose the CVFA instead of the CCFA operating license, even though it clearly was a legacy franchise Cable TV business. There is no provision in the law to qualify for CVFA, except to pay the fees and make the financial contributions to specified government accounts. The license is good forever, as long as the fees are paid.


4. PURA regulation could of course address this implementation of the license structure, and in my opinion, it is fully within their domain to do so as the executive to enforce the spirit of the law. PURA, however, is taking the conservative approach, choosing only to take action on specifically legislated tasks. This has made the PURA impotent in the carnage and damage that continues to occur to community access television. The in-action of PURA on this matter has made it the defendant in an on-going lawsuit filed by Soundview Community Media.


It must be recognized that Region 2 community access subscriber fees are directly supporting the legal costs of the plaintiff instead of community access programming and operations. Soundview as the plaintiff, has demonstrated the following goals of its strategy:

1. Overturn 16-331ff &16-331gg as UN-constitutional on a number of principles

2. Regain full control of all community access subscriber fees in Region 2.

3. Deny any future subscriber fee funding for the other legacy community access providers in Region 2.


4. Encourage the state-wide adoption of CVFA operation by all video services providers, and render the CCFA license as obsolete to the following effects: No more harassment or meddling by pesky advisory councils because:


a. All Cable Advisory Councils disappear do to lack of funding from CCFA license holders. CVFA license holders only fund 1 Statewide Video advisory Council.

b. The Statewide Video Advisory Council will have ZERO members - ie... 24 or so empty chairs, because the law requires that the local Cable Advisory Councils nominate/appoint the representatives to the SVAC. The statewide video advisory council would then have all of its representative seats filled by ghosts... Insuring complete advisory council impotence in the performance of its legislated duties and functions. "Finally - No More Meddling with the Access Provider operations or policies by those pesky advisory councils!”


And Finally: HOW DO WE FIX THIS MESS


Legislative Repair initiatives to PA 07-253 (http://cableadvisorycouncil.com/reports/FutureOfCommunityAccess-5.html)


The Bigger Picture: The future of community access television is not secure due to several oversights and shortcomings of Public Act No. 07-253, An Act Concerning Certified Competitive Video Service. Clarification and addendum’s to this act need to consider the following :


1. The designated community access regions must become institutionalized in CT law to provide a minimum basic level of "Local" community access. The 24 cable franchise territories which existed at the time of PA07-253 adoption is a logical and functional framework.


2. The advisory council which serves each of the designated community access providers will be funded by the regional video providers/cable providers/community antenna license holders which serve the region per guidelines established by the PURA and reviewed annually under the community access support review docket.


3. The PURA will promote and protect a secure future for community access television, through the annual support review of the designated community access providers, and their advisory councils. The PURA will conduct a full investigation of programming and operations of each designated community access provider and their advisory council, at least once every five years.


4. PURA will encourage and assist the transition of legacy cable company sponsored designated community access providers to become independent third party not-for-profit status operations upon request of either party.


5. The CVFA license will require a minimum qualification for the Certified Statewide Video Provider license to be set by the PURA, ie... After 5 years of build-out, the CVFA licensee will offer services to either 51% of the towns or residential homes in the State of Connecticut, or automatically revert to the CCFA license.


6. PEGPETIA grant funding sources will expand to include the CVFA license holders.



Respectfully Submitted,





Gregory G. Davis, KB1YHW

Director of Photography, GGDavis.com Photographic Arts

Managing Member, Audio Engineering Services, LLC

Chairman, Region 19, Charter Western Cable Advisory Council,

Representative Member on the Statewide Video Advisory Council for Region 19

President, Northville Amateur Radio Association Inc.

ARRL CT ARES Region 5 Roxbury Emergency Coordinator


Cc:

Kevin Burns, Esq; R19CWAC Secretary,

George Linkletter, Vice Chairman, R19CWAC

Paul Katzmark, Acting Treasurer, R19CWAC

Ed Pizella, SVAC Legislative subcommittee

Marlene Silverstein, SVAC Legislative Subcommittee

Thomas Sholtes PURA













www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com


14 January 2014 R19CWAC-14-01-14-M4


Kimberly J. Santopietro, Nicholas Neeley

Executive Secretary, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

10 Franklin Square

New Britain CT 06051

dpuc.executivesecretary@po.state.ct.us


Re: R19CWAC-14-01-14-M4-ChairmanSupport Decision


Greetings


The Advisory Council supports the Citizen’s Response from GGDavis, Chairman of the R19 Charter Western Advisory Council to the PURA request for comment on PURA Docket 11-07-09, Motion No. 9.




Yours truly,






Gregory G. Davis, KB1YHW

Chairman, Area 19 Cable Advisory Council


cc:


Chairman, Statewide Video Advisory Council

Merja H Lehtinen, ctmlhr@yahoo.com

860-537-3389