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Sneak Attack On North Carolina Consumers!

Phillip Dampier May 6, 2009 Community Networks, Public Policy & Gov't 24 Comments
Sneaking in the backdoor - the Senate companion bill scheduled for tomorrow morning!

Sneaking in the backdoor - the Senate companion bill scheduled for tomorrow morning!

[12:40am ET Thursday Morning – Added More Contact Information, Expanded Article] I have just been informed big cable and their lobbying friends are going to try to pull a fast one on us in North Carolina.  Sometimes you successfully defeat them at the front door while they sneak in the back.  That is precisely what they are going to try tomorrow morning.

Brian Bowman, Public Affairs Manager for the city of Wilson, just informed us that Senate Bill 1004, the companion hit-piece on consumers to HB 1252, has been moved up for consideration in a Senate committee tomorrow morning bright and early.

In a sneak attack, the industry hopes to breeze through the approval process on the Senate side after failing in the North Carolina House of Representatives.  So unless you get on the phone right now and make those calls, today’s victory could become tomorrow’s defeat.  Allowing big cable and telco lobbies to get their foot jammed in the back door is a consumer catastrophe.

It’s clear the industry people have already camped out in several offices and have brought the pizza and coffee.  When Bowman called one of the chairperson’s offices to confirm the time, the administrative assistant literally handed the phone to a cable company employee to explain the bill! How nice of them.

Here’s Brian’s take on the entire event:

The Senate Commerce Committee will take up SB 1004 tomorrow morning at 8am. We hope you’re there. The cable company hopes you’re not.

This one sneaked up on a lot of people.

I have to tell you about a conversation I had this afternoon with a Time Warner employee. What he said is important. Where he said it is even more important.

I heard late in the afternoon that the senate version of HB 1252 was coming up the next day at 8am. We were all still celebrating the departure of HB 1252 for a study committee when I got the call.

So, I call a legislator’s office to confirm this unusual start time. Normally, I thought, this group meets at 11am, not 8am. The assistant says, “Let me hand the phone to someone who knows about it.” I’m expecting an aide or a clerical worker. Instead, one of Time Warner’s executives picks up the phone. This is at 5pm in the afternoon.

“Now, Brian, I know what you’re going to say and I just happened to be walking by,” he said. “What’s going to happen tomorrow is we’re going to do a PCS (substitute) so it will go to the revenue committee.”

Now, keep in mind, this is an industry exec in a legislator’s office, talking like he’s a legislator. We???

“There won’t be any of the real estate grabbing like today,” he said, referring to Representative Faison’s urging to send the house bill to the rural broadband committee. “We want it to go to the revenue committee.” We???

I have faith in our legislators. They did the right thing in the house. But, this one just doesn’t sit well. Since when do company execs talk like they’ve already scripted our elected officials. We???

That said, let’s not give them an empty room tomorrow. Please join us at 8am, room 1027 of the Legislative Bldg. on Jones St.

There is still time to contact the NC Senate Commerce Committee members.  I want every North Carolina resident on the phone, but you can also send them e-mail for good measure, and remember to tell them this is a deal-breaker.  If they vote for this, there is no way you will support them in the next election.  If you can, and I know this is asking a lot, we’re going to need to pack Room 1027 with actual consumers tomorrow morning (Thursday) in the Legislative Building at 8:00am.  With our faces in their faces, there is no way this sneak attack will succeed.

Courtesy of Mark Turner and Jay Cuthrell, here is contact information for the Senate Committee (all area codes 919):

Chairman
[email protected] Sen. R. C. Soles, Jr. 733-5963

Vice Chairman
[email protected] Sen. Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. 733-4599

Vice Chairman
[email protected] Sen. David W. Hoyle (sponsor) 733-5734

Vice Chairman
[email protected] Sen. Tony Rand 733-9892

Members
[email protected] Sen. Tom Apodaca 733-5745
[email protected] Sen. Tony Foriest 301-1446
[email protected] Sen. Larry Shaw 733-9349
[email protected] Sen. Philip E. Berger 733-5708
[email protected] Sen. Doug Berger 715-8363
[email protected] Sen. Harris Blake 733-4809
[email protected] Sen. Julia Boseman 715-2525
[email protected] Sen. Peter S. Brunstetter 733-7850
[email protected] Sen. Debbie A. Clary (sponsor) 715-3038
[email protected] Sen. Katie G. Dorsett 715-3042
[email protected] Sen. James Forrester 715-3050
[email protected] Sen. Linda Garrou 733-5620
[email protected] Sen. W. Edward (Eddie) Goodall 733-7659
[email protected] Sen. Steve Goss 733-5742
[email protected] Sen. Malcolm Graham 733-5650
[email protected] Sen. Neal Hunt 733-5850
[email protected] Sen. Jim Jacumin 715-7823
[email protected] Sen. Clark Jenkins 715-3040
[email protected] Sen. Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. 715-3001
[email protected] Sen. William R. Purcell 733-5953
[email protected] Sen. Bob Rucho 733-5655
[email protected] Sen. Josh Stein 715-6400
[email protected] Sen. Richard Stevens 733-5653
[email protected] Sen. Don Vaughan 733-5856

Courtesy of Jay Cuthrell:

If you are in Raleigh you can take the free R-Line bus to the R1 stop which is less than 700 feet of walking to get to the North Carolina Legislature Building, 16 West Jones Street.

http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/go/r1-state-capital

http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/go/nc-general-assembly-and-legislative-building

Paid parking downtown if you can’t do a free bus:

Parking Decks

* Alexander Square Parking Deck – 120 S Wilmington St (0.27 miles S)
* Wilmington Station Deck* – 115 S Wilmington St (0.28 miles SE)
* Municipal Building Deck* – 201 W Morgan St (0.31 miles SW)
* Moore Square Parking Deck* – 233 S Wilmington St (0.39 miles S)

Parking

* NC Museum/Government Center Parking – 100 E. Jones St (364 feet NE)
* Alexander Square Parking Deck – 120 S Wilmington St (897 feet SW)
* Wilmington Station Deck* – 115 S Wilmington St (909 feet S)
* Long View Center Parking – 220 E Morgan St (932 feet SE)

When: Thursday, May 7 8:00AM

Where: North Carolina Legislature Building, 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh (Here is a Google map of the area.)  Room 1027

Additional Information:  Be sure to follow any comments left on this article for last minute updates/information.  There is also a Facebook Group to oppose this bill and get late-breaking news and developments.

Currently there are 24 comments on this Article:

  1. MK8 says:

    Is there any chance they’d see our emails before they meet tomorrow at 8am? Right now it’s after 6pm, I’d email every last one of them if I thought they’d see it.

    • Go ahead and e-mail. It won’t hurt. Legislative aides have to be in early for the meeting tomorrow. Phone calls are better, but if you can’t leave a message, try first thing tomorrow morning, starting with the senator in your district, if applicable. Better yet is getting people down there. I know that’s asking a lot after one day dealing with this already, but the show of faces does make it obvious people are mad as hell about this.

      It’s a last minute after-business-hours sneak attack.

  2. MK8 says:

    Well, I’ve emailed all of them. I’m not a NC resident, so I am trying to keep my distance while still telling them to oppose these bills. I wonder how this was kept so quiet, and is there any way we can prevent these sneak attacks in the future? Is it basically just that this guy happened to come across this bill scheduled for tomorrow, by luck? I don’t want these cable companies to start being sneaky because they think that’s the only way they can beat us.

  3. JM says:

    I don’t live in NC, but hopefully those that do will pay attention to what’s going on when TWC / other cable company lobbyist try to “explainify” why caps are so needed.

  4. megax says:

    As a resident of NC, I have e-mailed every member on the board and called the chair of the board. I do wish I could do more, but other tasks will be on my to-do list tonight. I urge any NC resident to at least perform the same actions that I have taken. The internet is one of the best inventions in the 21st century and we are falling behind the rest of the world due to bills such as these.

  5. Brian Bowman says:

    Thanks, all of you. When I called today to confirm the time, the TW (who said he was just walking by the office at the time) even explained to me what “we” were going do tomorrow.

    I’m also told that this group normally meets at 11am, so the 8am start time seems a bit strange.

    We’ll have a camera there.

    Brian (SaveNCBroadband.com)

  6. Tim says:

    Those SOB’s. I can’t do anything tomorrow because of exams. 🙁

  7. Andy Coon says:

    I’ll be there. Tell me how can I make a difference? Can I boo, hiss? What can I do?

  8. Mark Turner says:

    Contact information for the Senate Committee (all area codes 919):

    Chairman
    Sen. R. C. Soles, Jr. 733-5963

    Vice Chairman
    Sen. Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. 733-4599

    Vice Chairman
    Sen. David W. Hoyle (sponsor) 733-5734

    Vice Chairman
    Sen. Tony Rand 733-9892

    Members
    Sen. Tom Apodaca 733-5745
    Sen. Tony Foriest 301-1446
    Sen. Larry Shaw 733-9349
    Sen. Philip E. Berger 733-5708
    Sen. Doug Berger 715-8363
    Sen. Harris Blake 733-4809
    Sen. Julia Boseman 715-2525
    Sen. Peter S. Brunstetter 733-7850
    Sen. Debbie A. Clary (sponsor) 715-3038
    Sen. Katie G. Dorsett 715-3042
    Sen. James Forrester 715-3050
    Sen. Linda Garrou 733-5620
    Sen. W. Edward (Eddie) Goodall 733-7659
    Sen. Steve Goss 733-5742
    Sen. Malcolm Graham 733-5650
    Sen. Neal Hunt 733-5850
    Sen. Jim Jacumin 715-7823
    Sen. Clark Jenkins 715-3040
    Sen. Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. 715-3001
    Sen. William R. Purcell 733-5953
    Sen. Bob Rucho 733-5655
    Sen. Josh Stein 715-6400
    Sen. Richard Stevens 733-5653
    Sen. Don Vaughan 733-5856

  9. Jay Cuthrell says:

    If anyone was having problems getting the email addresses from the website here’s a summary of them and a suggested subject line: “Do not vote for Senate Bill 1004″ but please adjust and include a relevant body to suit your tastes as a voter and resident!
    🙂
    http://fudge.org/stc.html

    Enjoy!

  10. Jay Cuthrell says:

    If you are in Raleigh you can take the free R-Line bus to the R1 stop which is less than 700 feet of walking to get to the North Carolina Legislature Building, 16 West Jones Street.

    http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/go/r1-state-capital

    http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/go/nc-general-assembly-and-legislative-building

    Paid parking downtown if you can’t do a free bus:

    Parking Decks

    (near the building)

    * Alexander Square Parking Deck – 120 S Wilmington St (0.27 miles S)
    * Wilmington Station Deck* – 115 S Wilmington St (0.28 miles SE)
    * Municipal Building Deck* – 201 W Morgan St (0.31 miles SW)
    * Moore Square Parking Deck* – 233 S Wilmington St (0.39 miles S)

    (near the R1 stop)

    * NC Museum/Government Center Parking – 100 E. Jones St (364 feet NE)
    * Alexander Square Parking Deck – 120 S Wilmington St (897 feet SW)
    * Wilmington Station Deck* – 115 S Wilmington St (909 feet S)
    * Long View Center Parking – 220 E Morgan St (932 feet SE)

  11. Thanks Mark and Jay for the valuable information which I have added to the article in hopes everyone will see it. If a comment doesn’t appear here right away, it usually means it was tagged by the spam filter for manual approval, which I will do as soon as possible.

  12. waiting and watching says:

    Well Tony Foriest is about to get a 1am wake up call. Others don’t be afraid to locate home numbers for these people as public officials are required to have them listed, so waking them up a bit early, or late because of the speed this crap is happening might just push the urgency of what the voters think about this junk and how they are being treated!

  13. techzen says:

    why are companies like TWC even allowed to promote bills that would give them a monopoly. Our legal system is horrible. I wonder if I can get a bill passed saying people can only buy food from me, then I’ll be rich just like TWC heads!

  14. Corrine says:

    BREAKING — Update posted from Facebook | NC Citizens Against Anti-Competition Bills HB1252 and S1004

    Jay Ovittore (Greensboro, NC) wrote
    at 9:08am
    I could not go this morning, but just got a text message from Senator Vaughn. They sent S1004 to study committee. We can all officially claim victory!

    Great job, NC Residents!!!

  15. [email protected] says:

    I managed to get my e-mails in late yesterday.. I am not in NC but I also explained how the decision will impact the rest of the country.

    Mark, thank you for the list of email addresses. I would not have sent any emails if it was not available.

  16. Mark says:

    I support this bill, and I think a lot of the opposition to it is just knee-jerk reactions from people who haven’t read the bill.

    This bill aims to prevent municipalities from competing directly with communications providers. It hurts the competitive market if companies have to compete with governments with TAXING POWER.

    • [email protected] says:

      I don’t believe taxes are being used to roll this out. They were not used in Wilson. Citizens vote on tax issues, we have no vote when it comes to TW raising prices just because someone is trying to buy a Veyron before the summer months get here….

    • Tim says:

      Mark, and having a virtual monopoly in an area is a competitive market? The only thing between monopolies and the average citizen is government bud and thankfully so. I am all for a competitive market and feel that having municipalities competing vs a monopoly is a good thing. It is a win win situation for consumer.

  17. Mark Turner says:

    Great, Mark. Let’s also hold elections for Time Warner Cable’s executives. Let’s open all of Time Warner Cable’s board meetings to the public, and let’s make the books public, too! That’s more level, isn’t it?

    And all that government-owned right-of-way that saves Time Warner Cable millions of dollars by avoiding negotiation with private landowners? Let’s price it at fair market value so Time Warner Cable can pay for what it’s using. Let the market decide! It’s only fair, right?

    The truth is, Time Warner Cable has profited handsomely from public investment, whether its using PUBLIC right of way or connecting to the government-created Internet. If Time Warner Cable wants to level the playing field, it should first start by PAYING UP.

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