Governor Brown vetoes "Telecom Power Grab" bill

Governor Brown vetoes "Telecom Power Grab" bill

Posted October 16th, 2017 by seanm

Governor Brown vetoes "Telecom Power Grab" bill
SB 649 was opposed by local governments and Access Humboldt

Access Humboldt joined local governments, consumer advocates and public interest organizations in opposing SB 649 and calling for a veto.

Access Humboldt's executive director Sean McLaughlin said, "we applaud Governor Brown for protecting public interests by vetoing SB 649 which would have given industry the ability to abuse local community assets for their own profit. Now is a good time to ask our elected legislators why they would ignore local jurisdictions to even consider supporting a measure that would give away the public rights-of-way while leaving local communities exposed to industry profiteers."

In Governor Brown's veto message for SB 649, with a nod to industry he says: "There is something of real value in having a process that results in extending this innovative technology rapidly and efficiently. Nevertheless, I believe the interest which localities have in managing rights of way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill."

SB 649 was industry's proposal to increase profits while promising nothing - easily characterized as a private grab of public assets. Easing erection of "small cell" facilities wherever private companies want to build them was the incentive to speed wireless deployment - but no promises were made for any public benefit. Not for public safety, not for education, not for government purposes, not for local access nor inclusion - literally nothing promised in exchange for taking control over public rights of way.

The idea of giving private industry a right to use public property without fair consideration was universally opposed by local governments whose constituents pay to acquire and maintain easements and public rights of way.

County of Humboldt and local cities along with local jurisdictions across the region and statewide were on the record early and often expressing opposition to the "Telecom Power Grab" (see Rural Counties Representative Council RCRC , California State Association of Counties CSAC and League of California Cities LCC ) - to no avail. The bill was adopted and sent to the Governor - who heard their plea.

For more information contact Sean McLaughlin, c: 707-616-2381, e:


Access Humboldt is a non-profit, community media organization serving the residents and local jurisdictions of Humboldt County on the North Coast, managing resources that include: cable access TV channels; KZZH FM 96.7 community radio; a wide area broadband network with dedicated optic fiber connections to twenty locations serving local jurisdictions and community anchor institutions; broadband access wireless networks; a Community Media Center with studio and other production equipment and training on the Eureka High School campus; and ongoing operational support for public, educational and governmental access media services.

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