I urge you, my City Councilor, on April 2nd to vote in favor of the Cable Franchise and Hearing Board's recommendation to unanimously award the new Public Access TV contract to Quote-Unquote, Inc. through 2017, for the remainder of the current Comcast Franchise agreement period.
The Cable Board is by City Ordinance 13-5-2-1 the only group with the authority to make recommendations to the City Council in the best interest of both the cable channels and cable subscribers.
It is unfair and non-transparent to have a randomly appointed, ad-hoc committee making recommendations to the City Council and/or Mayor's office regarding their perceived best use for the public channels when there is, by law, a group created to perform this precise responsibility.
The ad-hoc committee's recommendation was to award the contract to an organization which is a non-performing, highest bidder with no experience in operating a TV station. Quote-Unquote, Inc. deserves a fair and just opportunity to bid on running the public access TV channels in Albuquerque.
Quote-Unquote, Inc. has proof (over 1,500 documents acquired through the IPRA--the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act) which reveals a number of irregularities that the City of Albuquerque Procurement Office engaged in. Some issues that will be brought up before Council are:
1. "Behind Closed Doors / Unethical Dialogue between Bidder and City"--The process that Quote-Unquote endured was unfair due in part to what can now be seen as unethical conversations between the administration and uPublic regarding the RFP. This in turn gave uPublic an unfair advantage in the procurement process over all other bidders.
2. "Bidder Making False Statements about Its 501(c)3 Tax-exempt Status"--The ad-hoc committee knowingly looked past the material misrepresentation of GCMA dba uPublicTV's 501(c)3's IRS tax-exempt status. They claimed on their application in the Summer of 2011 that they did indeed held IRS tax-exempt status, when in reality their status was revoked in Spring of 2011, a fact easily verified on the IRS website accessible to the public.
3. "Violation of the Anti-donation Clause"-- The City of Albuquerque knowingly awarded public funds to build-out uPublic's privately owned property. This violates the anti-donation clause and further questions the integrity, credibility, and transparency of public funds being administered through the City of Albuquerque.
Given the above legal irregularities and mishandling of the RFP process, Quote-Unquote, Inc. and the broader Albuquerque community urge City Councilors to Vote YES on EC-12-67, the Cable Franchise and Hearing Board’s unanimous recommendation to award the Public Access TV contract to Quote-Unquote, Inc.