My First Council Meeting

Last night I attended my first meeting as a full-fledged Fairfield representative to the Area 2 Cable Advisory Council. Six towns comprise Area 2 for the state of Connecticut and I got here just in time to watch the final battle during the refranchsing process.

I also joined in time to help draft the charter for what will be FairTV, the town’s public programming group, which hopefully will be formally blessed by the Board of Selectmen on Monday. What this means is that Fairfield will regain control over its Education and Government channels and content, with the hope to broadcast news and information including live government meetings. My personal hope is that by broadcasting Zoning or RTM meetings; more people in town will make themselves aware of what’s happening in town.

Our meeting was largely bringing everyone in the room up to date on the refranchsing process, what has been said, what has been written, and what happens next. The key element here is how the Department of Public Utilities will rule on Sound View’s request for refranchsing as the third-party provider of PEG (Public, Education and Government). Right now, SV’s position is that their programming – shovelware of old opera broadcasts and NASA documentaries – cost effectively services the Area. The Council disagrees as does the Attorney General and others. In fact, no one came out in favor of Sound View’s petition for renewal.

It was interesting seeing Tom Castelot, head of SV, sit in the meeting, unphazed by the quotes taken from document after document recommending the towns regain control of their E and G, leaving SV with P.

After that, we took up new business including the issue of senior citizen pricing especially in light of Cablevision moving Turner Classic Movies to a premium tier which would cost their most devoted viewers more money. We’ll be taking that up in detail at the October meeting.

Everyone there, from the towns, appear very knowledgeable and dedicated to the Council which pleases me. Seems I’ve arrived at a good time for the Council.

One of the nicer things about the meeting is that we rotate through the six towns and we also have scheduled months off so the time commitment seems a little less than the Parking Authority. And there’s even a dinner tossed in, too.