Thursday, January 7, 2010

Access Tucson:

In a clear example of how alliances occur through the focus on issues, Councilman Steve Kozachik has come up with a proposal for Access Tucson that seems like anyone interested in free speech can agree with.

Access Tucson is where the Weekly Intercept television show will soon broadcast this year.

Here is the message from Access Tucson:

Access Tucson could be shut down on Tuesday. You need to speak up immediately

We don't think the Mayor and City Council meant to terminate Access Tucson, ending its 25 year commitment to serving individuals, community groups and cable subscribers. Still, that would be the effect if Tuesday's 4-2 vote (Uhlich and Fimbres voting no, Romero not in attendance) to cut funding to most "outside agencies" by 60% stands. We think the City fought much too hard to secure funding for Access Tucson and the government channel (Tucson 12) in the cable license negotiations a couple years ago for them to turn around now and permanently pull the plug.

Councilman Steve Kozachik is on the right track, asking City Manager Mike Letcher to come back with a plan to co-locate or combine in some fashion
Tucson 12 with Access Tucson.

Here's why that makes sense:

By moving Tucson 12 in with Access Tucson, the City would save the rent it pays for Tucson 12's class-A space in the Pioneer Building.

Together, Access Tucson and Channel 12 are stronger and combined could be supported by the $1.38 a month that Tucson Cox subscribers pay on their monthly bills.

If the City cuts Access Tucson but not Tucson 12, there could be a constitutional challenge. Would it be legal for the government to eliminate the public's right to speak while
preserving its own TV channel?

Public Access to cable must be provided under Tucson law but without adequate funding it is meaningless.

A true partnership between the City and Access Tucson would meet the City's objectives of saving money, avoiding duplicate expenses, giving cable subscribers the services they're paying for, and preserving Access Tucson's ability to serve the community.

The Mayor and Council will vote on this Tuesday! Please take just a few minutes by calling them or emailing them TODAY!

(520) 791-4201

Ward 1:
(520) 791-4040

Ward 2:
(520) 791-4687

Ward 3:
(520) 791-4711

Ward 4:
(520) 791-3199

Ward 5:
(520) 791-4231

Ward 6:
(520) 791-4601

Or you can try emailing them all at once by clicking here (may not work with all email programs).

You can also support this effort by writing a letter to the editor of the Arizona Daily Star.
And please attend the Mayor and Council meeting on Tuesday 1/12 at the Leo Rich Theater (Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Avenue). Study session begins at 2pm and the regular meeting starts at 5:30pm.

Let's fight to keep the doors open and the lights on at Access Tucson. It's your public media and your right.

Thank you and please contact Sam Behrend, Executive Director or call Access Tucson at (520) 624-9833 if you have any questions.


  1. I emailed Regina Romero on this, I suggested that they just give the cox bill tax directly to Access Tucson instead of putting it in the general fund--here is her office's response:

    "Thank you for contacting Council Member Regina Romero, Ward I Council Office with your concern for Access Tucson. Your email has been sent to Council Member Romero and staff for consideration.

    Council Member Romero supports Access Tucson and Channel 12, she recognizes their value in our community. Council Member Romero supports the merging of Access Tucson and Channel 12. Sharing facilities would better position the programs for the future."

  2. Thanks for doing that.
    After some back and forth, Glassman and I seemed to agree about the importance of Access Tucson. The "cost" argument is sufficiently removed with Steve Kozachik's suggestion to merge with Channel 12. I hope Channel 12 is amenable.

  3. Well it seems Access Tucson suggested that merger with Cable 12, so hopefully it is amenable. I was talking to someone at access tucson, and apparently there is a tax that comes from the Cox cable bill that is supposed to go to access tucson. According to this person, the tax collected instead just goes into the city general fund, and Access Tucson gets its funding from other sources, or second-hand from the general fund instead of directly from the cable bill tax revenue. Sounded a little improper, but there may be more to it than that.