Sunday, December 28, 2008

L A City Channels 35 & 36 CENSOR Full Disclosure Public Access Cable Programming? (6 min Video Here)


Los Angeles, CA Will the First Amendment rights of independent television producers be jeopardized when city govenment controls all the public cable channels in January 2009? Is it possible that the political appointees serving on an oversight board will be disposed to protect those rights? .......Even if the programs cover issues not favored by government? You be the judge by looking at the record........

MAYOR'S HEAVY HAND?
For the past three years, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's four political appointees who serve on the Municipal Access Policy Board (MAPB) have steadfastly refused to investigate or hold a formal hearing into the unusual circumstances whereby Emmy Award-winning Full Disclosure Network® was removed from the LA City Government channel (Cityview 35) after having provided public affairs programming, to that channel since 1992, as a public service at no cost to the City. Now the City has adopted a plan developed by this same oversight (MAPB) body for the government to take control of all 14 public access channels and studios provided by Time Warner Cable for the past 25 years.

OVERSIGHT OR CONTROL?
Full Disclosure host Leslie Dutton and a number of citizens made a plea to MAPB oversight board, on July 27, 2006 during the "public comment" portion of the meeting. asking them to conduct a investigation and public hearing into the circumstances surrounding the removal of the program from Cityview channel 35. Here is a six minute video news blog of that meeting.

CORRUPTION CANCER SPREADS
Now, three years later, the L.A City funded Educational Channel, LA36, has removed Full Disclosure from their channel line up by claiming "technical problems", only on the Full Disclosure program, are preventing them from showing on the channel. In a series of meetings and exchange of correspondence, LA36 Channel refused to produce any "official" guidelines and technical standards for ALL content producers when requested by an Audio Engineering firm retained by the Full Disclosure program. However a recent "AUDIT" performed by the City Controller's Office released on December 17, 2009, claims that both channels are satisfactorily performing.

REVEALING VIDEO
Full Disclosure Network® is re-releasing a six minute Video News Blog featuring a chronology of events leading up to the abrupt termination of the Emmy Award winning public affairs program from the L. A. CityView Cable Channel 35.

COMMUNITY OUTCRY?
Appearing in this video news blog are community leaders who testified in support of the Full Disclosure Network® at the MAPB meeting. The video features clips of their requests for a full investigation and hearing.
  • Don Schultz, past president Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, & Homeowers Association
  • David Hernandez, North Hollywood Neighborhood Association
  • Dave Bradford, Silverlake/Echo Park Resident
  • Gil Wong, member Lakeview Terrace Improvement Assn.
  • Leslie Dutton, Producer/Host of the Full Disclosure Network®.
PROGRAMMING PROVIDED AS A PUBLIC SERVICE
Since 1992 the Full Disclosure®. program has been featured on CityView Channel 35, without cost to the City, as a public service at the request of various City Departments, agencies and Council members. The Full Disclosure Network®. is an educational, non-profit organization. In 2002, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented host Leslie Dutton with a public affairs Emmy Award for the series entitled “L.A.’s War Against Terrorism”, featuring LAPD Chief Bernard Parks, LAPD Lt. Ken Hillman, L.A. Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca, covering how government agencies would work together following 9/11.
CONFLICTING TERMINATION LETTERS?
This June 14, 2006 termination letter clearly states the immediate termination was due to “contentious content” while an Email sent by Councilman Bernard Parks to Producer Leslie Dutton contradicted the letter, stating he had not pulled his sponsorship of the program. The Full Disclosure Network™ can be seen on over 40 cable systems and the Internet. Billed as “the news behind the news” programs feature critical issues rarely addressed in depth on the regular news media.
VIEWERS URGED TO HELP
At the conclusion of this video news blog the Full Disclosure Network®. requests viewers to call the following people and ask why the program was removed from the channel.
Tony Ighani Station Manager at 213-485-7561
Bernard Parks, Council District 8 at 213-473-7008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

POLITICAL POWERHOUSE TO SAVE PUBLIC ACCESS CABLE IN L.A.?


Los Angeles CA Political powerhouse Stanley Sheinbaum, former Regent of the University of California (appointed by Gov. Gerry Brown) and former President of the Los Angeles Police Commission has jumped into the fight to save public access cable channels and studios in Los Angeles. Appearing in aFull Disclosure Network® Video News Blog (ten minutes) Mr. Sheinbaum describes why he wrote a letter appealing to Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. to intervene.

In this exclusive interview with the Full Disclosure host Leslie Dutton,Sheinbaum talks about the importance of having public access cable operations in Los Angeles. As a long time benefactor of the ACLU Foundation and close associate of Ramona Ripston, of the ACLU of Southern California, Sheinbaum says that “public access is important to keep an arm on government.”

In an urgent letter to California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. , Mr. Sheinbaum appeals to him to seek emergency injunctive relief to stop Time Warner Cable from shutting down the 14 public access studios and channels in Los Angeles on December 31, 2008 until such time as the City has made arrangements to replace the facilities.

Letters from other organizations who have appealed to the Attorney General along with Stanley Sheinbaum are:

BREAKING NEWS: On December 17, 2008 Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick released the Audit Report on the two City-run government cable channels. In that report she calls for “more diverse programming and reducing costs and enhancing revenues.” Read the Audit Report that is certain to cause concern among independent public access producers, who may be required to pay fees to have their programs appear on public access channels should the City take over the operations after December 31, 2008.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

ABC Nightline Exposes Full Disclosure & Public Access Controversy: Video (5 min)


Los Angeles, CA. The Full Disclosure Network® presents a five minute exclusive video report on the ABC Nightline segment videotaped Tuesday, December 16th covering the campaign to save the public access cable channels with behind the scenes footage from the ABC interview with Leslie Dutton. The ABC Nightline segment will air nationwide on January 9, 2009 at 11:30 p.m.

APPEAL TO ATTORNEY GENERAL:
Host Leslie Dutton tells ABC Nightline that the independent producers’ have begun a campaign to enlist the California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. to file for emergency injunctive relief to stop Time Warner Cable from shutting down 14 public access studios and channels on December 31, 2008. These public channels been serving cable subscribers and producers in Los Angeles for over 25 years.

Among the groups and individuals sending letters to the Attorney General are:

CONTROL OF PUBLIC CHANNELS:
With the apparent approval of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the public access issue languished, without Council attention or concern, for almost two years until the Time Warner deadline approached and the Holiday Season arrived. With very little time for the public to react, only then did the City Council push through plans to consolidate the 14 public access cable channels into four channels under government control and they failed to provide for even one dedicated public channel.

AFTER THOUGHT:
Instead when the public objected , the Council approved an “after thought”, verbal motion that was sent to the Budget and Finance Committee requesting an investigation into possible funding. No date has been set for a hearing before the Budget & Finance Committee, nor is it know if there search for funding has begun. See Council file here: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2006/06-2818_ca_12-03-08.pdf

SEND AUTOMATED LETTER TO AG:
At the end of the video viewers are asked to send an automated letter to the Attorney General using a link below the video screen on the webpage. The letter urges the AG to file for injunctive relief under the Business & Professions code 17200, Sec. 3 to prevent Time Warner from shutting down the City's public access channels and studios, until such time as the City has replaced the facilities.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Battle for Control of Public Access Cable Channels: City of Los Angeles Update

Los Angeles, CA The Full Disclosure program will once again be off the air on the LA 36 Cable channel tonight Sunday and Monday due to on-going " technical problems" at LA36, a City funded public access cable channel. However the programs continue to be shown on over 40 other public cable channels throughout California, without problems.

LA36 TECHNICAL PROBLEMS BEGAN
This summer in late July and August the Full Disclosure Network programs on LA36 Public Cable Channel began looking rather strange. At times the video was fuzzy and the audio was so distorted that viewers called Full Disclosure to complain, saying they could not understand what was being said. This problem was not occuring with other programs featured on the channel nor on any other cable channels where Full Disclosure is featured.

UNWRITTEN "DELIVERABLE STANDARDS"
Full Disclosure was notified by LA36 they had determined the source of the technical poblems was the master DVDs that must adhere to "Broadcast Standards" but refused to provide Full Disclosure with specifics. Full Disclosure retained an Audio Engineering firm who met with LA36 management and technical staff to determine how they were transferring the DVD video to their server, as he had already determined no problems with the Full Disclosure masters. LA36 admitted they were not using the master DVDs but dubbed tapes at 2x speed. When asked for a copy of the "Deliverable Standards" an industry term for audio and visual specifications required for content producers, LA36 indicated they did not have such specifications.

NO NOTICE OF OPERATION CHANGES TO PROVIDERS
After problems continued, the LA36 General Manager informed Full Disclosure they had made major operational changes, that Time Warner was turning over control the operations were to be handled "in house". This gave credence to rumors circulating that Time Warner was going to shut down public access channels and studios by December 31, 2008. LA36 claimed technical problems encountered were only on Full Disclosure's master DVDs.

FULL DISCLOSURE RETAINS COUNSEL:
Full Disclosure retained Bruce Maddox, expert audio engineer, as counsltant on the LA36 technical problems. He found the master DVDS in question, to be meet industry standards and acceptable for transcoding. In a meeting with Maddox and Full Disclosure producers LA36 management refused to provide written specifications known as "Deliverable Standards" for audio and video content, instead they agreed to accept three versions (formats) transcoded by Bruce Maddox, for delivery to LA36 for transfer to their new server to determine which version is compatible.

IS IT POSSIBLE?

Will Full Disclosure meet the unwritten standards of LA36?.

Stay tuned for next week's report to learn the outcome....................

Friday, December 05, 2008

PROGRESS IN FIGHT TO SAVE PUBLIC ACCESS: CITIZENS & PRODUCERS WIN ROUND #1

Los Angeles, CA Faced with strong opposition from prominent and influential independent producers, the L. A City Council retreated from their plan to seize public cable channels and studios to consolidate the operations for government use. The fight to save public access cable operations gained momentum when the City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday December 3, 2008, to refer a controversial proposal to a second committee rather than call for a full Council vote. That vote would have allowed the City government control of all the public channels in Los Angeles.

Following the Council hearing, Full Disclosure® interviewed Mr. Vin Di Bona, four time Emmy Award-winning and Peabody Award winning Executive Producer and creator of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” , who is also the former Chairman and currently Co-Chair of “The Caucus” http://www.caucus.org/ a prestigious organization representing Producers, Writers and Directors and the New Media in Los Angeles. The Caucus is calling for the preservation of the public access cable operations in Los Angeles. (Watch 5 min video here)

On a motion by Councilman Bill Rosendahl, that was passed unanimously, the council referred to the matter to the Budget Committee. That Committee, chaired by Bernard Parks, will now be charged with the task of re-evaluating whether or how an approximately $30 million dollars in cable operators franchise fees to the city can be used for a public channel.

Although Council President Eric Garcetti called for six minutes testimony from each side, there were no requests from the public to support the Council’s proposal.

David Hernandez, President of the Los Angeles Public Access Coalition said “If the Council's plan to kill public access is approved, the public would be limited to one or two minutes on the government access Cityview Channel 35, provided they were granted permission to speak"

Full Disclosure Network® will release a full and complete video report covering the entire hearing, with testimony is to be aired on public access cable channels throughout the state and on the internet soon.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Can Closure of Public Access Channels be Stopped? By L.A. City Attorney or Council?

DAVID R. HERNANDEZ,
PRES. L. A. PUBLIC ACCESS COALITION http://www.savepublicaccess.wordpress.com/


Los Angeles, CA Producers and community activists are mustering forces to rally support for saving the public cable channels and public access studios in Los Angeles, at a full City Council hearing to be held on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 10 a.m. in the City Council Chanbers at 200 No. Spring Street, 3rd Floor.

CITY ATTORNEY TO FILE FOR INJUNCTION?
According to David R. Hernandez, President of the L.A. Public Access Coalition (LAPAC) in addition to the City Council's consderations on Wednesday, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is considering a request made by the LAPAC to seek an Injunction under the California Business and Professions Code 17200 to prevent Time Warner Cable from closing down fourteen public access studios and channels until such time as the City has provided alternative and equal facilities in their place.

PUBLIC STUDIO CLOSURE UNETHICAL?
In a letter dated November 30, 2008 Hernandez contends "the action of (Time Warner) closing fourteen public access sutdios offends public policy, is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous and causes substantial injury to consumers who will be prevented from viewing independent programs on the City Public Access channels. Read the entire letter here.

COUNCIL TO SEIZE CONTROL OF PUBLIC CHANNELS
On November 22, 2008 the L. A. Council Committee on Information Technology Agency (ITA) approved a recommendation to consolidate all the public access channels into four government controlled channels and sent it on the the Full Council for final approval.

STATE LAW CREATED LOOPHOLE
The controversy surrounding the Time Warner Cable plans to close all public access operations by December 31, 2008 stems from legislation (DIVCA) enacted in 2007 establishing a State Franchising system under the oversight of the California Public Utilities Commission whereby
cable operators pay a franchising fee to the Cities in leiu of operating and maintaining the public access studios and channels. See ITA website for description of recommendations.

L A PUBLIC ACCESS COALITION TO TESTIFY AT HEARING
In addition to civic leader and Producer David Hernandez, some of the LAPAC group expected to attend and speak at the hearing are:
  • Shane Devins, Producer
  • Missy Woodward, Producer Critter Crusades
  • Sally Hampton, Civic Activist
  • Dr. Dan Wiseman, Producer Your Neighborhood Council
  • Charlie Mount Classic Arts Showcase
  • Leslie Dutton, Producer, Full Disclosure Network
  • Michael Cohen, Producer
  • Dr. Susan Block, Producer
  • Charlotte Laws, Producer
  • Elaine Brown, Producer
  • Lady Cage-Barile, Producer
  • Keith Hardine, Producer