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Update: Public Access TV (actually PEGLA TV)

Hello. Zabby is a Brookhaven resident who is very active in civics and government. I just got off the phone with her and will try to give some updates. Zabby is a prolific citizen activist, so this long post covers: What is PEGLATM?; PEGLATM gets the state legislature covered; Current projects of PEGLATM; Zabby’s TV Show; Concerns with Town of Brookhaven government (uncovered during Public Access activism).

Zabby is the founder of PEGLATM, Public, Educational, Government, and Leased Access Television Movement. PEGLATM tries to educate and raise awareness of the ability of citizens to get free training and free air time to put their shows on television. Any citizen (even one like me, who does not own a t.v.) can apply to be a Public Access producer. Leased Access Tevelivision is a way for small business people and organizations to purchase blocks of time at very reduced rates. There are also channels available to air education material (teachers and college professors should look into this) and a channel set aside to broadcast governmental programs. Any elected official can submit material for the governmental channel. In addition, citizens like Zabby advocate for the government to set up mechanisms and policies to tape their meetings and broadcast them on the governmental channel.

PEGLATM has had a recent victory. In the state of NY, Zabby and PEGLATM helped advocate so that more Long Islanders will be able to view their state government at work. Cablevision Channel 116 was moved from something you only get with the expensive, IO Package from Cablevision, to now being available with the Broadcast Basic Package. If you have even the basic package from Cablevision, you can now go to Channel 116, called “NY Legislative TV” to see gavel-to-gavel coverage of the NY State Senate and NY State Assembly when they are in session. When they are not in session, the channel has basic information about the legislature and legislators.

PEGLATM is trying to fight the bill with the current form of a NY State franchise agreement with Verizon. The bill does something that PEGLATM thinks could be helpful-changes it so that the agreement among Verizon, citizens, and the government happens through a statewide contract, instead of individual contracts with town governments. But, PEGLATM believes that the current version of the bill and contract would dismantle the whole Public Access system, because it limits channels, and does not ask that Verizon give citizens studio time and rented equipment, the way that cable companies must now do. So, PEGLTM asks you to tell your State Assembly person to vote NO on Assembly bill A-3980 and to tell your State Senator to vote NO on S-5124.

A local project of PEGLATM is to try to get the Suffolk County Legislature to tape and broadcast its meetings regularly on television. Please call your legislator and tell them that you think they should advocate and allow to have their meetings televised. Broadcasting government meetings is good for transparency, public participation and grassroots democracy.

PEGLATM has a web-site at: http://www.freewebs.com/peglatm/
www dot freewebs dot com / peglatm

Zabby has been producing Public Access televisions shows for many years. Zabby has a show called “Televised Government” that airs on the Hauppauge/Brookhaven Cablevision system, Sunday at 3pm.

You can reach Zabby by writing to:
Zabby PO Box 397 Selden, NY 11784

While working on this Public Access issue, Zabby has encountered some concerns with grassroots democracy at the Town of Brookhaven. One problem is that the Town of Brookhaven meetings are set up so that the Town Board votes before the public comment time happens. That seems like a way to block citizens out of the process, and to not let them ask timely questions of their elected officials. Zabby says that other civic leaders in her town have complained of this structural problem with town board meetings. Since Brookhaven recently changed from Republican to Democrat, Zabby had been hoping for reforms that would make the town government more accessible to the people.

Also, Zabby states that the Town of Brookhaven is making it difficult for citizens to request information and answers about town issues. The FOIL system is a law designed to empower citizens to request records from governmental agencies. Zabby has exeperienced that at the Town of Brookhaven, there has been some abuse of the FOIL system to hinder and not help citizen access. Zabby says that the Town of Brookhaven is now demanding a FOIL request, instead of answering simple questions posed by citizens. Zabby has questions about the town budget, and Zabby feels that people in the town have not been forthcoming with her in giving answers, and have too liberally told Zabby to go FOIL it. Zabby has experienced similar problems in Smithtown. This problem should be addressed by citizens. One way to seek redress and/or to complain about public information and FOIL problems is to call the New York State Office of Open Government.

5 Responses

  1. She’s also an outside agitator that has no business sticking her nose in other town’s business. She butted in in Smithtown, and now she’s bothering our town board in Islip. She lives in Brookhaven! She has every right to ask her town to broadcast town board meetings. But because of her my sister’s tax money was used to buy expensive cameras for Smithtown board meetings, which she didn’t want. Now she’s trying to d0 the same to us in Islip. Zabby, if your seeing this GO HOME! WE DON’T WANT YOU!!

  2. Zabby has NO RIGHT to even attend Smithtown meetings. She lives in Brookhaven! It’s bad enough she forced Smithtown to buy expensive cameras because SHE wants the town board meetings broadcast (my sister lives in Smithtown and doesn’t want her tax dollars spent by outsiders!). Now she’s trying to do the same thing here in Islip. ZABBY, GO HOME! We residents will decide how our tax money is spent, not outside agitators! You want town b0ard meetings broadcast, YOU buy your own camera and tape it yourself! We residents will decide how to spend our money and decide if we want government broadcast or not!

  3. …Zabby…she has been consistant in her desire to see all local government televised, thusly keeping all informed of where their tax monies are spent. Whilst the itital expense of video equipment may be high, it keeps the elected officials on the “toes.”

    by the way, didn’t the term “agitator” go out when the Red Scare ended?

    [editted – kw]

  4. Cable companies are already offering bundled internet and cable tv services at a cheap price “”

  5. cable companies are also offering broadband internet these days and the cost is cheap too ‘.*

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