Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Items From Comptroller John Liu

In response to the ongoing blackout of CBS (NYSE: CBS) and Showtime by Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), City Comptroller John C. Liu has asked Mayor Bloomberg to convene an emergency meeting of the Franchise Concession and Review Committee (FCRC) in the next 24 hours to discuss actions to bring an end to the blackout. Comptroller Liu has repeatedly called on Time Warner Cable and CBS to resolve their contract differences without resorting to a blackout that unfairly punishes cable viewers. His letter to the mayor is reproduced below.

August 5, 2013

Hon. Michael Bloomberg
The City of New York
City Hall
New York, N.Y. 10007

Re: Emergency FCRC Meeting

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

As members of the Franchise Concession and Review Committee (FCRC) established by §373 of the New York City Charter, the Mayor and the Comptroller share an obligation to review and enforce cable franchise agreements with the City of New York.  On Friday at 5 pm, because of the dispute between New York City Time Warner Cable (TWC) and CBS, more than a million customers lost the ability to watch the programming of CBS and Showtime, services for which they continue to pay. 

In order to end the dispute, I ask that you convene an emergency FCRC meeting in the next 24 hours to review TWC’s franchise agreement with New York City.  At the meeting, my representative will urge that the City aggressively pursue any and all possible penalties and enforcement actions that can be levied against TWC, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1)   A penalty for each day a cable channel is dark;
(2)   Possible termination of TWC’s franchise agreement, which is set to expire in 2020; and
(3)   A fair credit for TWC customers.

New York City customers are suffering because of a standoff between two corporate giants. We need to send a strong message to all cable providers that receiving a New York City franchise is a privilege they must not abuse.

John C. Liu 


City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about the State Supreme Court's decision invalidating the prevailing wage law for building-service workers.

"The decision striking down the City Council's prevailing wage law is a loss for working men and women. Workers employed in structures that receive major City subsidies or where the City occupies significant space should be entitled to a prevailing wage. We must continue to fight to ensure all New Yorkers receive fair compensation for their work.”


  City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to early reports on City schools’ results on the new state “Common Core” test scores:
New York City public schools’ reportedly dismal results on the new state tests send a clear message: Mayor Bloomberg and his Tweed cronies have been cooking the books on student test scores for 12 years. Pointing to rising high-school graduation rates, the Mayor claimed that high-stakes testing was leading to greater student achievement and teacher accountability. He excoriated teachers and others who pointed out the flaws in his analysis. In fact, the regime of teaching to the tests pushed kids out the schoolhouse door, even if their diplomas were worthless and their skills did not permit them to succeed in college or jobs. Mayor Bloomberg had 12 years to advance his so-called reforms and pad his educational legacy. He failed. He cannot spin these results to mean something they don’t. New York City’s children deserve better.




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