Free Speech Threatened on Long Island?
Localism at Work in Politics
at Work for democracy and the promotion of alternative candidates:
Public Access TV is a place where we can see local candidates, who
choose to run primaries, for Town and County 2019 elective offices. So
we must protect Public Access TV for political, economic and social
2021: "Supposedly" our U.S. Constitution insures Free Speech BUT 2021 is bringing Censorship even to Suffolk County, Long Island.
Local Censorship: Now Free Speech is Threatened on Long Island on Public Access Television with the closure of its last Public Access TV Studio - let alone already the loss of its various four local town channels from the East End to Nassau County in 2017.
2017, Altice/Cablevision discontinued its four (4) various Local Public
Access Channels - swapping them out for two (2) Islandwide channels.
All of this is an indirect mechanism of censorship - "limiting and prohibiting" free speech. This is against state law.
Plus there are now current plans to limit production alternatives to a DVD format, among others that involve a sizable monetary investment by each individual producer. Use of a DVD format limits and prohibits the free speech of a producer who wishes to add insert edits to his creation. That indirectly censors a producer.
The other choice - sending programs digitally through the internet -
discriminates against the poor, middle and working people who are not on
the internet or people who lack the time, education or the money to
become a part of the new digital culture. This is discrimination.
Currently Altice is still accepting VHS tapes which allow producers the
freedom to easily edit their shows with an effective, time efficient and
safe method and it should be continued.
Call for Local Action to Long Island
Call the Town of Brookhaven and demand that Kevin Lavalle, Ed Romaine and the other five (5) Councilpeople keep the Hauppauge Public Access Free Speech Studio open for Access Users throughout Long Island and continue to insure our free speech rights without censorship. Otherwise, we will have to elect Team Zabby to get the job done.
Also see to it that your town Supervisors do not renew a franchise with either leg of the Altice/Cablevision and Verizon duopoly, nor create a new franchise with Verizon until each corporation brings a studio within 25 miles for your town as it used to be before the Supervisors sold out free speech.
The Supervisors were able to get away with selling out free speech because people were unaware. Now you know. So make the call or better yet, visit your town board in person and speak at the town board meeting held twice a month if that.
Thus the Supervisors will help the local economy by creating more jobs
and allowing for people to bring their innovative ideas to Public Access
TV for the enjoyment of the community.
Supervisors Responsible for Studio Closures:
Some 2017 Sell out History: Sean Walter, Supervisor of Riverhead, was one among another three East End Supervisors (including Scott Russel in Southold, jay Schneiderman in Southampton and Gary Gerth in Shelter Island)
who sold out free speech to Altice/Cablevision in 2017. These
Supervisors allowed Altice/Cablevision to close the Public/Government
Access Free Speech Studio in Riverhead. Before that Woodbury, Nassau
County and another on the south shore of Nassau County were closed as
well. All of these Long Island Town Supervisors were derelict in their
duties to protect free speech.
The Altice/Verizon Duopoly
Altice/Cablevision now plans, surreptitiously in collusion with Verizon, to close down the last free speech studio on Long Island in Islandia/Hauppauge while Verizon refuses to set up an equivalent studio as the law would require it to do if the local Town Supervisors would only ask for it.
But so far all of the Long Island Supervisors and Town Boards where Verizon is now available (Nolan in Islip, Vecchio in Smithtown and Petrone in Huntington) were in on the indirect censorship or suppression, discouragement and limiting of the public's free speech on Long Island by not requiring Verizon to install a Local Public Access Studio equivalent to the one Cablevision provided within their towns.
Public Access Free Speech Television Studio
Altice is over leveraged and in financial trouble and they're now exerting cost cutting procedures - cuting staff, cutting access hours, cutting channels and raising prices. The French/Israeli owner of Altice Television may be a vulture capitalist like Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital equity firm that destroys American companies and American jobs like Cablevision.
The Local Solution Franchise Renewal
Brookhaven Town Must therefore require Verizon when it seeks a Franchise agreement to provide a Public Access Studio within the Town of Brookhaven. Further, Brookhaven Town must require Altice to continue providing a free speech studio in the Public Interest and that is the Law.
Watch Zabby and Arthur on TV
Censorship is currently being discussed on Public Access TV Watch Zabby and Arthur on Public Access TV. Don't miss it.
Hear Zabby, Kyle and Arthur on the Radio
READ this letter and CALL the SUPERVISOR at the TOWN of ISLIP (631.224.5380) to RENEGOTIATE with VERIZON for BETTER TERMS for the PEOPLE
(Public, Education, Government, Leased Access Television Movement)
“Supporting Your Right to a Free GOVERNMENT ACCESS TELEVISION CHANNEL”
11 Oak Dr. Hampton Bays, NY 11946
Telephone: 631.338.5485 Fax/Phone:631.728.0299
July 26, 2007
Supervisor Phil Nolan and Town Board Members
655 Main St
Islip, NY 11751
Dear Supervisor and Town Board Members,
Verizon is trying to push through each of the towns individually and not provide a studio or equipment for PEG Access production like Cablevision does. Supervisor Nolan you need to require Verizon to match what Cablevision provides, ONLY five studios, distributed throughout Long Island. Currently one of Cablevision’s studios is at 1600 Motor Parkway in the town of Islip, right on the boarder which serves Smithtown, Huntington, Brookhaven, Islip, and Babylon. The franchise agreement allows Verizon to provide a third party studio which will be UNDERFUNDED. Oppose a third party studio and re-write the contract so that Verizon provides the facilities and services, including free equipment and studio training for the public. When Cablevision’s contract is re-negotiated they too will want to do a third party which again will be under-funded and we will lose the five studios we currently have. The Town of Islip will have to become a cable company at TAXPAYERS EXPENSE to coordinate the millions of dollars and new bankrolled personnel government-run programming. How ironic it is for Verizon to demand that they can recover their funding of the third party studio if Islip doesn’t require Cablevision or any future cable company to provide the same? So why aren’t we making Verizon provide the same as Cablevision currently provides?
There is no good reason why these cable companies can’t provide the operation and administration of the PEG channels as just compensation for making multi-billions of dollars off public and private property. Southampton Town made a bad choice by accepting that responsibility and now they are paying for it; we the taxpayers are paying for it. All the Southampton Town Board needed to do was to enforce their current contract and we would have received new equipment, our meetings would still have been filmed by Cablevision, and we would not be running a cable studio at TAXPAYER EXPENSE. If the Verizon contract goes through in Islip without stipulation for Verizon to provide the operation and administration of the channels with five studios as Cablevision currently does, the town will become a cable company. It will cost the TAXPAYERS millions of dollars to run and it will be a nightmare.
16 NYCRR 895.3, the level playing field law, states that if the town chooses to take over the operation and administration of the PEG Access Television Channels the town will have forfeited their rights to negotiate for better terms. The town can negotiate for Verizon to provide the operation and administration of the five studios and that should be non-negotiable. The Town taking over the operation and administration of the channels via a third studio will only benefit Verizon and cablevision. You’ll never be able to get out of your obligation to provide PEG Access at TAXPAYER EXPENSE. It will be a nightmare for the town and it will not be able to be undone. You will forever forfeit your right to negotiate for better terms with Cablevision and with any other cable provider that wants to come into your town. Federal law 47 USC 531 also supports the towns’ right to negotiate for facilities and services including training and mobile equipment with the cable companies. Again, it should be non-negotiable and required. Federal Law 47 USC 521 gives every town the right to require cable systems to be responsive to the needs and the interests of the local community.
Also, now the County wants to be on TV. Who is going to put those tapes in? It should be established that Verizon has the responsibility to take those tapes from the County and put them on TV not a third party studio. Some people want the State to have access to a Government Access Channel as well; therefore, it needs to be established that Verizon should take the tape from the State and play it themselves. Neither should it go through a third party studio. Just because the town of Islip, wrong-headedly, wants to provide any future Islip Town Government meetings through a third party studio it is not Islip’s responsibility to play County and State tapes through a third party studio. That would mean running three channels and any money provided by Verizon will not be enough. The town should have found out how much it cost to run three channels and to fund a third party studio before accepting anything Verizon wanted to dish out. Because the third party studios won’t be able to run all three channels with the pittance they’ll give us, Verizon will be able to use two of our channels and lease them out and make at minimum $ 8.8 million dollars a year! Verizon knows they are setting us up for failure by underfunding us. And this again will lead to the dismantling of these channels and a violation of the New York State Open Meetings Law, which gives us the right to listen and to observe the performance of public officials and the deliberations and the decisions that go into the making of public policy.
Letting Verizon off the hook will eventually allow Cablevision off the hook and that is corporate welfare. Again, federal law gave each town the right to negotiate for studios and facilities and to make those channels work. Already in Florida where the cable companies foisted off this obligation onto the taxpayers, Public Education and Government Access Television is being dismantled because it was under-capitalized (underfunded) by these deceitful billion dollar companies.
In the proposed franchise agreement under the Indemnification section, Verizon warns us that if we don’t send suitable signals, they won’t be liable to air anything and then they can use our channels while we are trying to fix the problem. The Public Service Commission should not allow this kind of debacle to occur and are in violation of their own law if they approve this franchise. And although the Public Service Commission has gotten away with it in other towns, this should be stopped in Islip, and the way to stop this is to not allow a third party studio to be set up with the blame.
It is the cable company’s responsibility to provide the operation and administration of the PEG channels as just compensation for making multi-billions of dollars off public and private property. Southampton made a bad choice and now they are paying for it. All the Southampton Town Board needed to do was to enforce their current contract and we would have received new equipment, our meetings would still have been filmed by Cablevision, and we would not be running a cable studio at TAXPAYER EXPENSE. Cablevision and Verizon twists the law in their favor, please don’t let them twist it on you.
**If this third party studio concept fails the town will be liable for indirect censorship and will be in violation of Public Service Law, Article 11 (229)(2). Further, both Verizon and Cablevision will be also liable for censorship and in violation of Public Service Law, Article 11 (229)(3).
Make the right decision and negotiate for better terms.
 47 USC 531 (c) states: “A franchising authority may enforce any requirement in any franchise regarding the providing or use of such channel capacity. Such enforcement authority includes the authority to enforce any provision of the franchise for services, facilities, or equipment proposed by the cable operator which relate to public, educational, or governmental use of channel capacity….”
 47 USC 521(2) states: A purpose of this title is to “establish franchise procedures and standards which encourage the growth and development of cable systems and which assure that cable systems are responsive to the needs and interests of the local community.”
 895.4(b)(1)(iii) states: “(b) Designation of channels. Every cable television franchisee shall designate channel capacity for PEG access as follows: (1) The franchisee of a cable television system with a channel capacity of 36 or more channels shall designate (iii) one additional full-time activated channel for educational/governmental use whenever the first channel so designated shall have been used for such educational and governmental programming on the average or at least 12 hours per day during any 90-day period; provided, however, that the calculation of such average shall not include any day when the unavailability of PEG access facilities precludes achieving such programming level. In the event that two channels for educational and governmental use are required by this subdivision, one channel shall be designated the educational access channel and one channel shall be designated the governmental access channel; provided, however, that either channel may be used for either purpose if necessary to satisfy the demand for channel time.”
 Public Officers Law, Article 7 (100) Legislative declaration states: “It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. The people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who are their public servants. It is the only climate under which the commonweal will prosper and enable the governmental process to operate for the benefit of those who created it.”
 Public Service law Article 11(229)(1) Censorship Prohibited states: “ The commission may not prohibit or limit any program or any class or type of program or otherwise censor the communications or signals transmitted by any cable television company or over any cable television system, and may not promulgate any regulation or condition which would interfere with the right of free speech by means of cable television.”
 The Public Service Law, Article 11 (229)(2) Censorship Prohibited states: “No municipality may prohibit or limit any program or class or type of program or impose discriminatory or preferential franchise fees in any manner that would tend to encourage or discourage programming of any particular nature, directly or indirectly.”
 The Public Service Law, Article 11 (229)(3) states: “No cable television company may prohibit or limit any program or class or type of program presented over a leased channel or any channel made available for public access or educational purposes.”
FOR THE STATE OF NEW YORK!!! ALL RESIDENCE NEEDED TO ACT
FOR THE STATE OF NEW YORK!!! ALL RESIDENCE NEEDED TO ACT
**URGENT ACTION NEEDED*** Bills to be voted on before JUNE 21st!!!
Dear We the People of New York,
Thank you in advance for taking action and forwarding this action to friends.
Please call, fax, or e-mail your State Assembly Person and Senator now to Vote NO on A 3980-B/ S 5124, the “Omnibus Telecommunications Reform Act of 2007.” This bill would subsidize cable, broadband and telephone companies, create a new and unnecessary “Broadband Development Authority” at taxpayer expense, and foist the cost of operating and administering Public, Education, and Government Access Television onto the local towns’ taxpayers.
You can personalize the letter below, send as is, or use it for talking points:
Dear Senator Bruno,
CORPORATE WELFARE MAKES FREE SPEECH NOT SO FREE
Please Vote NO on Assembly Bill A 3980-B / Senate Bill S 5124 the “Omnibus Telecommunications Reform Act of 2007.” This bill would subsidize cable, broadband and telephone companies, create a new and unnecessary “Broadband Development Authority” at taxpayer expense, and foist the cost of operating and administering Public, Education, and Government Access Television onto the local towns’ taxpayers.
We also have the right to just compensation from the cable companies in the form of local Public, Education, and Government (PEG) Access Television studios and facilities run by the cable provider at the cable provider’s expense, not the taxpayers. These companies make billions of dollars from running their cables on our public and private property.
Instead of passing Bill A 3980 B which will cost the taxpayers multimillions of dollars every year in both local and state taxes, and which also limits, prohibits, and discourages use of PEG channels, our Legislators needs to write a new bill that does three things:
1. Require all telecommunication companies who want a franchise in this state to build-out in rural and impoverished areas, and provide free telecommunication service for schools, community centers, and municipal buildings at their expense. We do not need to run a new State Authority to subsidize the billion dollar profit telecommunication companies. If they want to make billions of dollars in profit in
2. Protect Public, Education and Government Access Television by requiring all telecommunication companies to split the bill for cable companies to administer and operate PEG Access Television studios and facilities rather then require each town to spend millions of dollars each to become a cable operator; and
3. Protect our “Right to Know” by requiring all telecommunication companies to provide UNIVERSAL SERVICE of PEG Access Television Channels. This way no matter what kind of television service a consumer uses everyone can see their local and state government in action.
First Name Last Name
*Please provide your name and address so your representative knows you are a constituent.
Click here to contact your State Senator
Click here to contact your Assembly Representative
Please e-mail me at WTPCofNY@gmail.com to let me know if you have taken this action and what response you received if any.
If you would like to read A 3980B/ S 5124 Click here.
Please pass onto your friends.
Your action is greatly needed to prevent more corporate welfare and preserve PEG Access Television for generations to come.
Did You Know? Cable companies like Verizon and Cablevision have the corporate privilege to make money off your property. It is our right (not our privilege) to have these conglomerates provide FREE Public, Education, and Government (PEG) Access Channels, local studios, equipment, and staff for us, the community, to produce our own local television programming that is not corrupted or censored by anybody. PEG Access Television lets us partake in our local community and see it in action. Right now our Congress representatives and our Town governments in conjunction with these cable companies are trying to take our rights away and make you pay for them.
Public Access Television is Good for the Community. It allows you to
Discuss local issues and upcoming events
Host your own show on matters important to you
Add commentary to local town board meetings
Promote solutions to community problems
Showcase your singing, cooking, acting, dancing, music and other abilities
Promote/Interview government candidates
Create and nurture our communities
Educational Access Television is Good for the Community. It allows you to
See your School Board meetings, school plays, recitals, etc. This way working parents can still stay involved in their children’s academic lives.
Host educational programs such as learning to read, mathematics, health programs, etc
Government Access Television is Good for the Community. It allows you to
Stay involved in your local government by showing your local town board meetings, County meetings, and State meetings at different times during the day
View public debates
Hold your local government officials accountable for their actions
Cable Providers must provide PEG Access Channels, Facilities, Equipment, etc:
Federal Law requires that “cable systems are (to be) responsive to the needs and interests of the local community” 47 USC § 521 (2).
If the cable companies do not pay for these services the taxpayers (you) will.
The community will lose its only non commercial voice on the airwaves, the only channels untouched by the corporate hand in television programming.
Tell your Congress person to support House Bills which require a national franchise where cable providers must continue, and others to initiate, providing services and facilities for PEG channels.
Learn more at www.freewebs.com/peglatm
Without your help we’ll all be paying for it later, literally.