Attack on Public Access T.V.-Hearing on Tues. 8/29 – 6p.m.(?) Huntington

Our First Amendment Rights are under siege here in Suffolk County.   Libraries and Municipalities  are demanding $ ! million to $2 million dollar insurance riders for groups to use public spaces. Essentially ‘privatizing public spaces’ for those that have sufficient funds.  Isn’t  part of ‘freedom of speech’ having venues in which to hold public forums or rally or protest?
   Once again Public Access T.V. is under attack!  What happens to ‘freedom of speech’ if there is nowhere to air those documentaries and  programs, or if they are relegated to 3 a.m. time slots?  According to Zabby, a long time public access t.v. producer and advocate,
                    a public hearing on the subject of:
                        a Verizon/ Huntington Township Franchise Agreement
will be held on:

 Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 6 p.m.(?)
at Huntington Town Hall (25A opposite Old First Church)
Call Town Hall 631-351-3000

    In the Township of Huntington, Verizon has applied for a Franchise Agreement to come
in to ‘compete‘ with Cablevision.  It would seem that if this agreement goes through as presently constituted, we could lose the paltry public access that we now have.  
   There are several hard questions that the Town of Huntington must ask before we sign on to any such agreement:

  1. Is there a real competition or could this be called a Duopoly, rather than a Monopoly?    Will the shifting of a customer base really mean more profits for the Town?
  2. In the Hamptons, the towns now bear the burden of between 1/4 and 1/2 million dollars a year to run their channels and studios. Under the Verizon Franchise Agreement, what has been earmarked for training producers, studio, and  production costs?  Is it proportional to the larger Huntington t.v. viewing population?
  3. What has been allocated for Government and Educational channels in Huntington?  Again, is it proportional to the greater population of Huntington t.v. viewers?  Sums like $10,000 and $50,000 have been bandied about-What are these funds for?   And what is the role of 5 Towns College?
  4. What is the complete process for submitting a program tape?  Is it true that program tapes must be sent to some place in Virginia?  Is it true that there is a 120 day lead-in time?
  5. If Verizon does not provide for public access channels in the agreement, will Cablevision then be able to renege on the existing Channel 20?
  6. Other Townships have fought for and gotten Governmental and Educational channels, where Town Board meetings and other governmental functions are available to t.v. viewers.  Will Huntington Township t.v. viewers gain the same access?                             Will Verizon give us another Public Access channel (which is sorely needed) under this agreement?

Unless and until these questions and others are answered to our satisfaction, we must stand against the Verizon/ Huntington Franchise Agreement.
   Join us at the Hearing/ Town Board Meeting!!!  We need you!!!:

       Tuesday, August 29, 2006
6 p.m. (?)
Huntington Town Hall
Call 631-351-3000 for information

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