Monday, June 23, 2008

City manager denies request to complete forum preparation

Mr. Bemis - The Fayetteville Government Channel will not proceed with the development or production of any issue forum until the City Council makes final determination on any proposed changes to the policy as recommended by the Telecom Board.

I have been very clear and open on my interpretation of the current Government Channel Policy (recommended by the Telecom Board and approved by the City Council). At the June 3 meeting of the City Council, the City Council supported this interpretation and requested a recommendation from the Telecom Board on any proposed policy changes.

As I understand it, the Telecom Board will not make that recommendation until after their July meeting, which means it will be the August 5 or August 19 City Council meeting before Council hears the matter. In the meantime, I would encourage you and your fellow requesters to produce your public issues forum on the public access channel.

Susan Thomas

Susan B. Thomas, Ph.D.
Public Information and Policy Advisor
City of Fayetteville
113 W. Mountain
Fayetteville, AR 72701

>>> Jim Bemis 6/23/2008 3:55 PM >>>
To: Cable Administration Office
Attn: Dr. Susan Thomas, Ric Delahoussaye

Based on the Telecommunications Board's recommendations at their June 19 meeting, the citizens' requester team is requesting a formal response and guidance from your Office in producing the FGC Issue Forum Request Form that was hand-delivered to the PEG Center on June 18, 2008. As spokesperson, I repeated our request at the June 19 Board meeting, and I will deliver an original of this current request to the PEG Center on June 24.

Our understanding of the Board's June 19th response to our request is that production of the FGC Issue Forums will continue under the current FGC policy and procedures. These current policies and procedures provide for citizen requests for issue forums on matters that impact the City of Fayetteville. Therefore, in moving forward with the next steps of the production process for the forum that we requested on June 18, we are asking for your guidance in producing the forum , which also is provided for in the FGC policies and procedures.

As with the April 30 citizen-requested forum, we are asking for a similar forum format, which includes the formation of an ad hoc subcommittee to oversee the initial development and choice of issue forum panel members, questions, and moderator. As previously, I would serve as spokesperson for the citizen requesters.

Also, as mentioned at the Board meeting, we citizens are agreed that the proposal prepared by Board Member Shelli Bell would provide an appropriate basis for the forum, since it also will serve for future Telecommunications Board and City Council discussion. We would also like to see full discussion of the FGC " Informational" programs, which were addressed by the Board Subcommittee on FGC policy and procedures over the past two years.

It seems appropriate to us that Board members Bell and Drake might serve on this ad hoc subcommittee, which also might include other board members, council members, and/or City staff of their choice.

We anticipate that the Forum would be held previous to the July Telecommunications Board meeting.

Please advise as to the next steps to be taken by our citizens team in scheduling and developing this forum.

Thank you,

Jim Bemis
Citizen-Requester Team

cc Telecom Board

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