First battle won over Comcast cable deal!

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Hello fans of media and democracy,

As Robin Oppenheimer's letter testifies below, we have WON the first stage in the long road to victory to obtain increased community media and financial resources for King County.

THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT, we were able to persuade all of the King County Council members to delay the recommendation to extend the Comcast Cable Franchise Agreement until January 20, 2004 and have meetings of community media advocates with Dow Constantine and his Committee as well as other interested members of the County Council.

We were told by many Council insiders that this Cable Franchise agreement (the "Bad Deal"!) was a done deal and our efforts were "dead in the water" as of last Friday. What a difference democracy can make!

SO NOW, we need to do the following to secure the FINAL VICTORY:

1. Write to thank Dow and the other King County Council members for their responsiveness to their constituents (us!) in King County by allowing more time for discussion and negotiations;

2. Continue to ask for increased financial and community media resources because, as we well know, there are increased demands for local programming and more diverse points of view -- given the state of corporate-owned media.

3. Continue to educate ourselves and review the issues by reading the excellent analysis piece written by our own Mike Weisman; contact him directly to request a copy at

4. Check with your neighborhood association, membership organizations, workplace and other public interest groups to ask for their support and participation on this issue.

We will need to mobilize as many people and organizations as possible before January 20th in order to obtain the best cable franchise agreement deal that King County residents deserve!!

Thank you ALL again for all your many contributions that made today's victory possible!

Yours for more media and democracy,

Jan Strout



Dear King County Council members,

Thank you all, and most especially thank you Dow Constantine, for delaying your vote on the cable franchise ordinance!! I am thrilled to see my elected officials really listen to a wide range of concerned citizens who are willing to help enlighten and support the Council re: our and your concerns about the future needs and possibi! lities of digital cable infrastructure and non-commercial channel space in King County!

I look forward to attending the promised meeting with you, Dow, and your staff, and working together as a community to help the Council think more strategically, backed by more wisdom and expert knowledge, in order to wield a bigger stick with Comcast. Channel space is extremely valuable real estate and there are other municipalities around the country who can provide us with a stronger case for negotiating with Comcast. I'm also hoping to keep alive the possibility of working in tandem with the City to present a larger regional vision that Comcast can't ignore.

This is a victory for King County and citizens everywhere!

Thank you for your courage to listen and slow down for 30 more days!

Robin Oppenheimer

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey