Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Council tables low voltage regulations

City Council's committee today decided to table the low voltage regulations that had been proposed.

Apparently, the huge turnout in opposition to the new fees, permits and rules was enough to make city council members say no.

But I just heard a WSPD news interview with one of the administration staffers. It's not yet up on the WSPD website, so this is going from memory right now....

City director Chris J. Zervos says that the low voltage area is an unregulated industry. Reporter Aaron Brilbreck responds and says that AT&T is regulated by the PUCO yet they're not exempted even though they are regulated. Zervos agrees. Brilbeck follows up with, "so the regulation isn't really a valid argument, is it?" Zervos then says, "You know, we're done."

I guess he didn't like having his contradiction pointed out.

The good news is that concerned citizens and businesses in Toledo found out about an onerous and 'not business friendly' regulation, showed up en masse to oppose it, and city council actually listened to them and turned down.

Side note: I'd sent an email to all council members with the questions I raised in my previous post and have, so far, received the following responses.

From George Sarantou:

Maggie,

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the proposed low voltage ordinance 83-09, from the Finkbeiner Administration. Today we had a public hearing, which many constituents attended, and the Community & Neighborhood Development Committee decided that this legislation would effectively be tabled. From all of the testimony, it is clear to me that this legislation would place an unfair burden on business, as well as consumers, who utilize low voltage services. It would also lead to several days of delay for inspectors to come out and approve a telephone, computer, cable, or other low voltage work - thus this will raise the cost of low voltage installation in the City of Toledo and create enormous delays for consumers wanting to get their telephone installed in a timely fashion. It is clear to me that this is not a safety issue because nobody could sight any harm done to consumers regarding low voltage improper installation.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns.

Respectfully,

George Sarantou

From D. Michael Collins,

Ms. Thurber,

Thank you for emailing me concerning the proposed ordinance 83-09 (Low Voltage Installations). I am sure that you are aware that a public meeting was held today in council chambers for the purposes of sharing opinions in this very controversial issue. I attended the entire meeting and do not believe that this ordinance serves the citizens of our community in a positive way. There was no evidence that a community safety issue exists, however the issue of unscrupulous conduct in a minority of the situations exists. The issue of fraud and/or theft will not be addressed with the passage of this ordinance.

In addition it became very clear that the list of exempt organizations as well as businesses needed to be expanded. The matter will remain in Committee and will not be voted on until it is relieved from the Committee. The Chairperson of the Committee Councilman Joe Mc Namara will advise if he is going to have a second meeting.

I have after careful review and deliberation, listening to the testimony and speaking with the business community find no reason to support this legislation. I will be voting no if the matter comes before Council for consideration.

Thank you again for your email.

Sincerely,

D. Michael Collins
Councilman, District 2

8 comments:

2Bn11FA said...

Maggie,
All well and good but they still didn't answer the questions you asked!

Lone Owl said...

Interesting: "The scope of work would include ...cable materials and cable installations..." then ...Specifically excluded in the proposed law are cablevision systems..."

DirectTV and Dish Network are 'Satellite Systems' and NOT 'cablevision systems', so they will be required to abide by the new ordinance. Buckeye Cablevision IS a 'cablevision system' and therefore does NOT have to abide by the same ordinance.

Could Block have had any input in regards to this proposed law?

I know - "Silly me for thinking such!"

Maggie Thurber said...

Lone Owl - while Buckeye's cable portion of their business might have been exempted, their phone and internet services would not have been.

And I've just learned that a representative from Buckeye, on behalf of the company spoke against the ordinance for this very reason.

Lisa Renee said...

Nice coverage, it will be interesting to see what happens with the other two companion pieces of legislation that were not tabled.

Maggie Thurber said...

Lisa - I expect the other two ordinances (raising the license fee for journeyman and apprentice categories and increasing the inspection cost for a special inspection) will pass without much fanfare.

I don't know if the skilled trades will oppose the increase for these two categories because the other categories aren't seeing an increase.

I also don't know how many of those special inspections are done - or even what they are for. The ordinance doesn't really define what qualifies for "special" but my reading of the term makes me think that it's anytime a entity asks them to come out and do an inspection that isn't associated with a permit where the inspection is required.

dusty said...

It really makes me mad that our city council continues to waste time on such stupidity! Will this nonsense ever end?

Because of their stupid ideas people were forced to take time off work and away from their busy schedules to tell city council "NO". Low voltage regulations should never have become an issue. Period!

What on earth were they thinking? And where did they think they were going to get the man power to follow up on the inspections?

You can bet that this will come up again just like Point of Sale and Rental inspections.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

I received the very same responses from George and Mike as you did, except they used my name instead of yours.

As for the rest of City Council...,
(insert cricket noises here), nada.

Maggie Thurber said...

I also got a phone call from Betty Shultz ...

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