Dear Mayor and City Council,

I am shocked and embarrassed by the actions of my City Council regarding the passage of a resolution to draft a law to move adult programming to after midnight.

Why does Berkeley need a special law beyond the 10 pm safe harbor guidelines of the FCC?

At the heart of this resolution is the age-old cry of the censor "I’m offended by what I see and I don’t think any one else should be able to see it! I want it removed!" Two of the authors of the resolution have said as much; Polly Armstrong said at the council meeting that she didn’t think it should be on at all! And here is a quote from Betty Olds in the Daily Planet:

"Disgusting," Olds said. "It shouldn’t be allowed to be put on … I would be willing to forego having that channel (25). … and I know that the majority of the citizens feel the same way."

She is even willing to kill the public access channel to GET HER WAY!

So, they cloak it in the worn out refrain of buzz words "We must protect the children from pornography!"

It is clear that this resolution is not just designed to protect children, but to protect EVERYONE from so-called "sexually-explicit" programming. By moving the programming to after midnight, you are limiting the number of people who have access to the show. You are denying many adults who watch the show their right to watch the show because they have jobs and have to go to work the next day and can’t stay up that late! Who is being penalized here? And how do you define sexually-explicit? Boy, now that’s a slippery slope…

And all this to protect some mystery child from stumbling on to adult programming. How old are these "children" we are talking about? I don’t know about you but I was not allowed to watch TV after 9pm when I was a child (up until 15). And once I was old enough to stay up later and watch TV after 9pm, I was old enough to make my own decisions about what I wanted to watch (high school)! My parents trusted me. I am so tired of "the children" being used as an excuse. You are insulting the parents and the children of Berkeley by implying that they cannot deal with this in their own way. It is not the business of government to interfere with parenting.

The FCC has already established a safe harbor guideline of 10 pm and I do not believe that Berkeley has to establish its own special law. And I certainly do not want the City Council involved in some "review board" and as the "ultimate authority"!

Never mind that one of the Council would like to blackmail the public access channel by threatening it’s funding as a way to curb the "sexually-explicit" content.

Never mind that one of our Council members thinks that the arrest of peaceful UCB student protesters by Berkeley Campus police is "a matter of foreign affairs". Does she really thinks she represents the views of her district by saying that?!?

Never mind the childish and disrespectful way members of the City Council treated each other at the meeting with lots of eye-rolling, face-making, heavy sighing and barbed remarks. Now who’s setting a good example for our children?

Michael LaBash
Berkeley resident


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