The model policy was coauthored by San Carlos Assistant City Manager Brian Moura, whose city adopted a version of the model policy in 1994. One advantage of proposing a policy is to "get the city council to talk about what direction it wants to go and what they expect," Moura said, adding that this was a key reason the issue was brought to the San Carlos City Council in the first place.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXAMPLES
San Francisco was in the process of creating a telecommunications commission this summer which would be charged with drafting a telecommunications plan for the board of supervisors, regulating telecom companies, and investigating consumer complaints, among other things. The board was planning to vote on the matter this summer, and it was expected to pass with the mayor's support.
The idea for a commission was first proposed in 1993 in response to the federal 1992 Cable Act, but the measure failed. An attempt to create a telecommunications commission last summer also failed. It may pass this year partly because the city has a new mayor and at least one board member who previously voted against the proposal has supported this year's version.
The joint city/county government is also hiring consultants to help decipher what the new laws and regulations mean to San Francisco. "We do not have the expertise in the city to deal with this," said June Gutfleisch, an aid to Supervisor Sue Bierman, who sponsored the commission measure.
Clark County, Nev., which includes Las Vegas, passed a resolution last year outlining the county's vision on issues including managing rights-of-way and creating conditions to attract telecommunications services at low costs for residents.
Nevada local governments are also working within a new state law that limits what a government can charge a telecommunications provider for the combined right-of-way, business license, franchise and other fees. Previously, franchise fees were calculated in ways different from business licenses and other fees, said Brenda Trainor, Clark County's telecommunications manager. "Now we have to retool our approach to both," she said.
The county is fleshing out its vision resolution passed last year to determine how to proceed. "We are trying to lay out a roadmap," Trainor said. With this end in mind, the county is holding a two-day planning session this summer with elected officials and the private sector to help all sides understand each other and help create an environment that is good for both the community and economic growth.
LONG BEACH GETS STARTED
Long Beach, Calif., put a telecommunications plan in place in late April, and is implementing programs to encourage more telecom providers to do business there while protecting the interests of the local community. The Southern California city even held a mixer recently for telecommunications service providers, and 22 companies were represented. The message is that "we are hoping they come to Long Beach," said Wally Bobkiewicz, the city's telecommunications manager.
The policy, which can be found on the Web at
To protect community interests, the city has review processes in place on use of rights-of-way and communication tower placement. The recently formed Telecommunications Bureau is the central point for applications, and a review process can include public hearings.
The bureau was formed before the federal Telecommunications Act became law, and the