franchise agreement in a 5-2 vote after a nearly two-hour public hearing held at City Hall—the third public hearing held on the subject since last fall. Representatives from both Verizon and Cablevision presented their cases, allowing council members and the mayor to ask questions before the meeting was opened up to the public for comment.
“As a municipality, we have to give the people choices,” said Mayor Reginald Spinello before casting his “aye” vote. “I’d like to thank every council person...they all put in a lot of time and work on this.”
This was the third public hearing held regarding the franchise agreement over the past few months; the resolution had been tabled previously due to Cablevision’s contention that the agreement did not put the two companies on a “level playing field.” Attorneys representing the company once again warned council members that entering into this new agreement with Verizon violates the current contract the city has with Cablevision.
Jeffrey Forchelli, an attorney representing Cablevision, read from the contract, a 15-year agreement signed by former Mayor Ralph Suozzi in 2009, stating that if the city enters into an agreement with a competitor, “it shall not grant more favorable terms” to the company, and if it does, Cablevision “may ask the city to level down their agreement.”
Cablevision has been providing free service to the city’s public buildings including City Hall, the schools, police department and fire department. The new agreement with Verizon does not require the same level of service for FiOS.
“It is fundamentally unfair to Cablevision,” said Cablevision Vice President Adam Falk. “It’s not about keeping the competition out...it’s about having a fair and level playing field.”
Cablevision committed to a $100,000 grant, whereas the initial Verizon FiOS contract was for $21,000. However, during the meeting, Mayor Spinello got Verizon to commit to an additional $21,000.
Cablevision Systems Corporation issued the following statement: “Cablevision competes effectively in Glen Cove and every other city and town where we operate, and while we welcome competition, we note that this agreement shortchanges Glen Cove residents by excluding them from the benefits that Verizon provides to every other franchised community on Long Island. As such, we will continue to compete vigorously and also take the necessary steps to ensure that competition is on a level playing field.”
Representatives from Verizon contended that the agreement does meet the definition of a fair and level playing field and that “any disputes would be brought to the Public Service Commission.”
Councilmen Tim Tenke and Michael Famiglietti were not comfortable with breaking the city’s contract.
“I wasn’t crazy about proposing this agreement...my hope was that (Verizon) would present a more equitable agreement, and that didn’t happen until tonight,” Tenke said. “You’re asking us to break an agreement...I can’t imagine what kind of message that sends to other businesses we have contracts with...I’m obligated as an attorney to vote no.”
“I don’t believe this is on a level playing field and I am also not comfortable breaking the contract,” said Famiglietti.
“The vote is about choice and availability,” said Councilman Tony Gallo. “The choice for the people trumps all other issues.”
“I believe Verizon put us in a position we shouldn’t have been in,” said Spinello, noting that reaching the agreement was a “tough battle.” He also said, “Cablevision has been a good friend to the city.”
Most of the residents present at the meeting were also in favor of allowing Verizon to offer service to residents. The term of the contract is for 12 years, and will allow about 80 to 85 percent of residents to have FiOS; some areas of town still do not have the infrastructure in place, and at this time, it is unclear when and if they will.
Friday, 22 August 2014 00:00
The Glen Cove City Council’s decision to allow amplified music at outdoor cafes at last week’s special meeting was music to the ears of The View Grill manager Frank Venturino. The council voted 6-1 in favor of the decision to allow music from the period of Aug. 12 to Sept. 30. Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti was the only council member to vote no on the resolution.
“We just want to have some background entertainment for our patrons while they are at our restaurant,” said Venturino. “We don’t plan to get wild with the music. We just want to support local talent who entertain people with a microphone and maybe an acoustic guitar from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.”
Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00
Mayor Reginald Spinello is pictured with students at the School for Language and Communication Development in Glen Cove. The students had prepared a showcase of their projects for a “World Day Celebration.” They spoke to the guests about the many different cultures and languages spoken around the world.
“The administration, faculty, and staff at the School for Language and Communication Development provide the students with an exceptional education and I am very proud that they are a part of our great city,” said Mayor Spinello.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00
All athletes interested in putting their bodies to the ultimate test can hop on over to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay, which will once again be the site of Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24.
The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at Roosevelt Park.
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
Kristen Gillman earned a come-from-behind two-up victory over Brooke Mackenzie Henderson in the 36-hole championship match of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, being conducted at the 6,297-yard, par-70 Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove. The final match was held on Sunday, Aug. 10.
Gillman, 16, of Austin, Texas, was three down through 26 holes to Henderson, 16, of Canada. But Gillman, a junior at Lake Travis High School, birdied five of the final 10 holes to complete the remarkable rally.