Action Alert!!! Access Tucson could be shut down on Tuesday 1/12/10. 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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!
Ward 1: Regina.Romero@tucsonaz.gov
Ward 2: Rodney.Glassman@tucsonaz.gov
Ward 3: Karin.Uhlich@tucsonaz.gov
Ward 4: Shirley.Scott@tucsonaz.gov
Ward 5: Richard.Fimbres@tucsonaz.gov
Ward 6: Steve.Kozachik@tucsonaz.gov
Or you can try emailing them all at once by clicking here (may not work with all email programs). If you use Outlook as your email program, you may have to change the commas into semi-colons.
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.