In order to simplify my life and give the company that pays me the full value of my work and energy, I will now be posting to my blog on the People’s Production House website. RSS feed coming soon.
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The City and Verizon have negotiated a deal that will have a greater impact on our television watching and Internet usage than any other action the City or a company will take in the next 20 years – and you have been shut out of the discussion. The 6-billion-dollar deal (see my earlier post for background) to build a fiber optic network throughout the entire city was negotiated behind closed doors.
As part of the franchise approval process, the Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) is required to hold a public hearing. That meeting will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, May 20, from 3-6pm at the New York City College of Technology, 285 Jay Street.
As far as I can tell, this is the first place this information has been posted online. This is another instance of a supposedly “public” meeting falling in the city where no one can hear it. Just because you don’t lock the doors doesn’t make the meeting public.
Section 371 of the City Charter prescribes for the publication of notice for a public hearing on a proposed franchise agreement, but the requirements are weak: publish in the City Record and a daily newspaper – nothing about the DoITT website, even though that’s where the City proudly proclaimed that it had reached a deal with Verizon. I don’t expect that many people can make it to downtown Brooklyn at 3pm on a workday regardless of how much notice they have, but by not properly publicizing the hearing the FCRC has cast the legitimacy of the entire process into doubt.
The FCRC has also scheduled a special public meeting for 11am next Tuesday, May 27 at 22 Reade Street, presumably to rubber stamp the franchise.
Section 371 also requires that notice of the public hearing indicate the place where copies of the proposed agreement may be obtained by all those interested. I don’t know how the public can be expected to comment on a document they cannot review. (Leaking to the press doesn’t count.) Since the proper city agencies have not done so, I am posting the proposed franchise to the Web for download here:
- Cable Franchise Agreement by and between The City of New York and Verizon New York Inc. (54 pages)
- Appendices A-K to the agreement (79 pages)
(Note: These are not the most up-to-date versions; there have been a few modifications.)
I’ll have my own summary and analysis of the franchise in the near term, but there’s very little to be happy about unless you live in Staten Island or want to wait 10-16 years for choice in cable TV or faster Internet speeds. I will also try to record tomorrow’s hearing.
If you are interested, fill out the form at http://alliedmediaconference.org/webdevapp before Monday, October 1.
Allied Media Projects seeks a web developer to build the online home of the Allied Media Conference.
The Allied Media Conference is an annual, weekend-long gathering of influential, alternative media-makers and committed social justice activists. We gather in order to share and develop strategies, skills and resources for advancing the human right to communication. The home of the AMC is Detroit, Michigan. The 2008 AMC will be held June 20-22.
We seek a website that performs the following functions:
- Users and non-users register for the conference, paying with credit card.
- Users can create profiles and add content.
- Conference registrants can create profiles of organizations.
- Conference presenters add additional information about their session and travel.
- Organize and schedule conference sessions.
- Manage email lists for discussion and announcement.
- Store and manage all data from the above plus additional fields in a single database.
- Integrates data, such as user profiles, from the current Drupal-based site.
- Flexibility with themes or skins to allow for annual re-design.
We prefer open source software. We want a solution that will work for other conferences, too. The AMC currently uses Drupal, so we lean in that direction.
Interested developers and development teams should complete the form below. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Deadline for responses is October 1, 2007. We will select approximately three finalists shortly thereafter to provide a more detailed response. We aim to complete the website before December 24, 2007.
Please forward this message to anyone who might be interested and post the link – http://alliedmediaconference.org/webdevapp – in relevant online forums.