Minutes from the Montague Cable Advisory Committee (MCAC) Meeting on 7/13/05
Present: John Reynolds, Mike Naughton, Roy Rosenblatt, Chris Sawyer-Lauçanno, Sam Gilford
Others: Patricia Pruitt, Jeff Singleton
Chair, John Reynolds, called the meeting to order at 7:09 p.m.
John opened the meeting by asking the Committee members what they felt the CAC should do to expedite the RFP process for the Select Board’s August 8th meeting.
Mike suggested that since Frank was going to annotate the RFP with input from Select Board members, the CAC should get copies and prepare a written response. He then asked whether the CAC as a group wanted to make a joint response or whether each CAC member should respond individually. Chris said that he felt it would be stronger and more unified if the CAC as a whole made a response to the suggested changes. John agreed. Roy also agreed but said that it was essential to get Frank’s annotated version as it was difficult to decipher all of Selectmen Al Ross’s comments because of his handwriting. Roy then asked Select Board member Pruitt, present in audience, if she thought Frank could get this document together quickly. Patricia responded that she wasn’t sure but would ask Frank about it.
Sammy noted that since the CAC prepared the RFP, it was not up to the CAC to provide more input. Chris agreed with Sammy but noted that it was important and legitimate for the CAC to provide some explanation, if and when necessary, for the proposed changes to the document.
Roy next noted that he wasn’t sure what Al Ross had in mind by wanting to strike the 30B provisions, stating that nothing says we can’t follow 30B, even if 30B itself isn’t stated. Patricia asked what the importance of the 30B provisions were. Roy responded that they were intended to create a level playing field. John noted that it kept the process fair and unbiased. Roy stated that a number of the provisions were simply common sense items such as timely delivery, no changes after the fact, etc.
Sammy brought up the question of bias in that members of MCCI were present during the work sessions by the CAC on the RFP. Mike responded that no MCCI member was in on the drafting or wording and that there was no collusion between any member of the CAC and MCCI. Roy noted that the Select Board alone would be making the final draft and making the decision. As far as he was concerned this was a dead issue, and a non-issue.
Sammy noted that he felt people were parading as ordinary citizens when they had a vested interest in the outcome and that it did matter.
Jeff Singleton, in the audience, responded that he had never disguised himself as an ordinary citizen when he was representing the interests of a group to whom he belonged, whether the Finance Committee or formerly MCCI.
Sammy acknowledged that he wasn’t talking about Jeff.
The question then came back to Frank’s annotations. Mike asked Patricia Pruitt what she thought Frank’s intentions were. She responded that she thought he was going to prepare a document that stated the positions of each SB member, and suggested that this would simply be a compilation of the different views on each of the points. She noted that Al already had Al’s input and she would be giving him her ideas in the next day or so.
Roy again stressed that time was of the essence. Mike suggested that perhaps the CAC could take a look at the changes proposed by Al and Patricia Pruitt and respond in advance. Chris said he thought he could do this. John suggested that this would be good as long as it was in the spirit of cooperation and explanation. All agreed. Chris suggested that perhaps he could email the minutes of the RFP meetings to the Select Board as they clearly explained all of the inner struggles to arrive at the language and points. Mike felt that this was perhaps a bit too much information for anybody to sort through. A point-by-point explanation, he said, would be more relevant and useful. Chris agreed.
Mike suggested that perhaps the CAC could spend some time attempting to decipher some of Al’s points. ’Local’ was obviously of importance, he noted. John said that he remembered this was compromise wording. Chris agreed. Mike said he had originally proposed ’Montague’ for ’local’ but that the committee had decided that this was too narrow. But how to define what local is? Chris suggested that the SB could wrangle with this issue. The CAC seemed to agree.
Patricia noted that following 30B was still an issue. She asked the CAC if they felt this was essential for the RFP to be meaningful. Roy responded that 30B simply creates equality among bidders, ensuring that no particular bidder can have an advantage. It works, he noted, then went on to say that there are real advantages to Montague if the 30B submission requirements are followed. These provisions protect Montague and the Select Board. But it is, he stated, the SB’s call. The CAC supports 30B and 30B language. Mike noted that while the SB could strike 30B it was there for a reason and he didn’t feel it was harmful in any way to the RFP or the process. Patricia said she felt she had a clearer understanding.
Next, Jeff Singleton asked the CAC about GCTV’s appropriation of Channel 17 for Montague programming.
John said he didn’t know quite what to make of it but noted that Channel 17 was supposed to be the dedicated educational channel. Mike noted that when GCTV first got the assignment this one of Marty McGuane’s major selling points was that he would make a viable educational channel out of Channel 17. John said he would call Steve Fitzgibbons at Comcast to ask about the appropriateness of the switch. Sammy suggested that John call Marty. John asked Sammy to call Marty and get an explanation. Chris said he would look at the FCC regs.
In conclusion, The CAC decided that Chris would attempt to draft an informational background document to send on to Frank regarding the RFP changes. Chris said he would do this right away and have it ready for discussion at the next CAC meeting scheduled for July 20.