Politicians Defer To Time Warner Lobbyists Who Wrote The Bill They're Pushing

from the funny-how-that-works... dept

Following up on the earlier story of Time Warner Cable going the political route to try to block municipal competition in Wilson, North Carolina, Broadband Reports has a story pointing out two interesting side stories:

  1. During hearings about the law to ban such municipal competition, the politicians pushing the bill that would ban municipal competition were asked to clarify, and rather than answer themselves, the politicians “turned to a Time Warner staff member and an attorney who represents the industry to speak on their behalf.” In other words, they outright admitted they didn’t understand their own legislation and that the corporate lawyers from the company that would benefit from the legislation understood it better than they did. It’s certainly no surprise that lobbyists write the legislation that politicians pass, but usually they at least try to hide it a little bit. Here they’re basically flaunting the fact that Time Warner Cable wrote the bill, and the politicians just shuffled it through the process without understanding it. Isn’t it great to be a servant of the people?
  2. Time Warner Cable is complaining about what a huge cost municipal broadband is to the people of Wilson, but leaves out the fact that Time Warner Cable’s CEO’s compensation from the past two years is greater than it cost the city of Wilson (via a bond measure, so not taxpayer dollars) to fund the deployment of the fiber network. And you have to wonder if Time Warner Cable will end up spending more trying to block this competition than it would have cost to have built out a competitive quality service as well.

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Companies: time warner cable

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Comments on “Politicians Defer To Time Warner Lobbyists Who Wrote The Bill They're Pushing”

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33 Comments
Michael Long (user link) says:

Irrelevant

“…but leaves out the fact that Time Warner Cable’s CEO’s compensation from the past two years is greater than it cost the city of Wilson … to fund the deployment of the fiber network.”

So what? Or to be more specific, what does one have to do with the other? TWC’s CEO may or may not be overcompensated, but how is that relevant to practically anything at all?

Besides, you had to stretch even for that one. Compensation for the past TWO years? How using the last THREE years next time? Or saying his compensation over the last DECADE is greater…

Baloney Joe says:

Re: Re: Bonds are taxes

Yeah because the customers are going to pay bills for the build out? Or are you saying that the bond holders are not going to want payment until the revenue meets the servicing costs of the Bond, not likely.

Bond payments are not made at maturity 99.9% of the time. They are paid either quarterly or annually.

Muni wifi is not a profitable endeavor, most jurisdictions use it as a backbone for their traffic and sell extra capacity to the public.

Baloney Joe says:

Re: Re: Bonds are taxes

Really? I think I do. There is no way a Muni WiFi project will generate enough “revenue” to meet it’s obligation in the beginning and probably ever. Hence taxpayers will foot the bill, which I am not opposed to as long as the service is worth the amount I would pay in taxes to support it.

This type of project is typically set up a special “tax district” allowing the Muni to collect taxes for the service directly. Similar to a water district or a park & rec district.

But you may be right I may not know what I am talking about.

Grae says:

Re: Re: Re: Bonds are taxes

What the eff are you talking about?

How can you possibly claim to know what you’re talking about when it’s painfully obvious you can’t read or at least have the attention span of a squirrel? This ENTIRE EFFORT is about municipal fiber optic to the home, NOT municipal wireless internet(muni wifi).

From http://www.greenlightnc.com/about/ (The municipal ISP at the heart of this article, in case you weren’t aware.)

Greenlight is North Carolina’s only all fiber optic network. It provides faster Internet access, as well as superior TV images and dependable phone service.

(Emphasis mine.)

A fiber optic network will definitely make a profit. Considering reports of people who are willing to move/have moved to get within the areas serviced by fiber optic ISPs I can’t see how it couldn’t make a profit.

Please, please: read, think about, then read again before splattering such ignorance on the web.

Baloney Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Bonds are taxes

Your logic is flawed.

By your logic, the rates I pay for my water should cover the bond issued by the water district, yet I still pay $1300 a year in property taxes to the Water District on top of my $100 a month water bill to the Water District. Shouldn’t my water rates make the district profitable?

Now piss of.

Baloney Joe says:

Re: Re: Bonds are taxes

from Wikipedia, it’s an online encyclopedia, with lots of info about lots of stuff, you should check it out sometime…

A general obligation bond is a common type of municipal bond in the United States that is secured by a state or local government’s pledge to use legally available resources, including tax revenues, to repay bond holders.

Most general obligation pledges at the local government level include a pledge to levy a property tax to meet debt service requirements, in which case holders of general obligation bonds have a right to compel the borrowing government to levy that tax to satisfy the local government’s obligation.

Matthew says:

Actually, there really isn’t anything particularly frightening about lobbyists drafting legislation. Can that be abused? Certainly. Should we expect our legislators to read and understand legislation drafted by lobbyists? Of course! Nonetheless, the purpose of a lobbying group, whether it’s one that we like or one that we do not like, is to influence legislators to pass laws in a certain direction. One way to accomplish that is to shoulder the responsibility of drafting the bill in the first place.

In this instance, that practice was used dishonestly and the legislators sponsoring the bill were lazy. More upright lobbying firms do, actually, draft plain-language legislation with clear and honest intent.

Matthew says:

I don’t have any examples in my back pocket, but I could dig them out over the weekend. (They’d be Minnesota state laws, though, not federal legislation.) In any event, we may also not share equivalent definitions of “clear and honest.” I don’t mean that it’s necessarily good for everybody or fair. By the nature of lobbying, it is going to be biased. Sometimes, however, the bias is undisguised and the purpose is straightforward.

Anonymous Coward says:

This story seems a little absurd to me. They approached TW and Embarq about upgrading their infrastructure and both companies refused stating that it was far too expensive for them to do so. This is why Wilson installed their own infrastructure. The service is not setup to profit, it’s set up as a utility for the community. They get far superior service and a HUGE cost savings. You should check out the pie chart floating around somewhere that lists what service are available from the huge telcos vs. Greenlight. TWC’s biggest defense is “they have a right to make money” which they could do and be competitive but they wouldn’t make as MUCH money as they are now.

bikey (profile) says:

understanding legislation

Did they understand TRIPS (written by the pharma industry among others)? Did they understand the Patriot Act (silly question, I know, since they didn’t claim to have read it as there wasn’t time) (written by the torture industry?). They don’t write legislation anymore, they sell the right to others to write it. Get over it. It’s the American way.

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