Thursday, February 24, 2005

OPPOSE SB 1229

The Arizona Senate will soon vote on SB. 1229, which will strip away the funding mechanism that has worked for public access television. Cox Communications, the largest cable TV operator in Arizona, is behind this bill, as is the industry group the Arizona Cable Telecommunications Association. In effect, the cable companies have written themselves a bill that strips millions of dollars from local, public coffers and gives the cable companies more corporate welfare.

The long standing Executive Director for Arizona Cable Telecommunications Association is Ms. Susan Bitter Smith. A former member of the Scottsdale City Council, Ms. Bitter Smith has been an active player in the Arizona State GOP. Ms. Bitter Smith has held many high level posts in the Party. For example, she was Arizona State Republican Campaign Manager for Bush/Quail Election in 1992. Susan's husband, Paul Smith, also has a very long standing history in the inner circles of Arizona GOP politics and strategy. Together they work continuously for the Arizona Republican Party. Prior to the 2004 election, Ms. Bitter Smith wrote several articles in the Arizona Republic praising President Bush's leadership and agenda for America. As Executive Director for Arizona Cable Telecommunications Association, Ms. Bitter Smith is one of the highest paid lobbyists in the State of Arizona.

The Bush Administration and Republican Party under Karl Rove have an agenda to close down free speech across America. They want to eliminate low watt community radio stations, hinder or stop free press and any type of media which does not support Rove's Republican agenda. SB 1229 is a joint effort of corporate media and the Arizona Republican Party to replace non-commercial community produced programming with profitable rewards to corporate cable that will promote their agenda. The Arizona State Senate wishes to gift Ms. Bitter Smith's Arizona Cable Association and Cox Communicstions with more profit while robbing citizens of free expression through cable communications.

Contact your Arizona Senators. Call Toll Free: 1-800-352-8404. Arizona has 30 state senators. Those listed below either cosponsored SB 1229 or voted in favor of it in the Senate Finance Committee, so call and ask them to justify their vote.

Ask if they have received any financial contributions from employees of Cox Communications or the Arizona Cable Telecommunications Association (Senate Finance Committee Chair Dean Martin received contributions from both, for example) - - also impart your sense of the importance of strong, diverse, well-funded public, educational and governmental channels, and the power of municipalities to govern their rights or way, that is the streets and property that cable companies use to get access to the customers homes. PLEASE BE COURTEOUS. PLEASE CALL. YOUR CALL COUNTS!

Some of the Arizona Senators who favor SB 1229:
Dean Martin
Robert "Bob" Burns
Ken Cheuvront
Ron Gould
Karen Johnson
Jack Harper
John Huppenthal
Thayer Verschoor

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