Using Your Subsidy To Campaign For A Higher Subsidy?

I know Dallas IMedia, the public access community television channel, does good work. And I know Lisa Hembry does good work. But Lisa’s email below the jump, asking me to campaign to keep Dallas IMedia’s current city subsidy, raises two points. First, is cutting her subsidy “an attack on free speech”? Is the city obligated to subsidize other people’s opinions? I thought it was the other way around, that the city was obligated not to interfere with other people’s opinions. Second, should organizations receiving citizens’ money use some of that money to campaign to get more of it? It’s bad enough that municipalities like the City of Dallas can use taxpayer money to lobby the Legislature for, say, higher property taxes. Is it proper for organizations receiving city dollars to campaign for more city dollars? Will l soon be receiving urgent emails from the water department?

Yes, We Will! Save Community Television in Dallas. Mobilize at Town Hall Meetings

August 2008

Dear Wick,

Every great city in America, “land of the free and home of the brave,” supports public access to cable television channels. As a model urban city, Dallas should be no different.

Once again, I am personally asking you for your immediate action to SAVE community television. The time is NOW, the situation is CRITICAL.
The Dallas City Council is working through the proposed 2009 city budget, and Dallas iMedia Network (formerly DCTV) has been reduced to $196,000 dollars.

Unless iMedia’s budget is restored, our voice will be silenced…and the attack on our free speech will continue to accelerate.
Here is a snapshot of how the city has deteriorated iMedia’s contract value over the last several years:


  • 2001 – 2005: $700,000
  • 2006: $543,000
  • 2007: $508,000
  • 2008: $300,000
  • proposed 2009: $196,000

This drastic funding reduction may well end public access television in Dallas.

iMedia funding must be restored to the bare minimum 2008 level of $300,000.

City Council Members are holding Town Hall Meetings in your neighborhood to listen to citizen concerns. This is an emergency.

Please attend and SPEAK. Ask for funding to be reinstated to at least $300,000 for public access television in our community. See the Town Hall Meeting link to the right.

Also, mark your calendar to attend the final budget hearings and vote, in Council Chambers, on the following Wednesdays:

  • August 27
  • September 10
  • September 24



Public access television helps local government fulfill its societal obligations. The members of the Dallas City Council need to know YOU and hear YOU say public access television matters in our city!

Call 214.670.3738 at least 24 hours in advance to register to speak at the three City Council meetings listed above. In addition, it is vital that you call, or email Mayor Leppert and all city council representatives.


YES, WE WILL! Save community television in Dallas. Call me to let me know that I can count on you.

Thank you for your help,

Lisa Hembry
President / CEO
214.631.5571 (ext 304)

P.S. Please forward this e-newsletter on to your friends and colleagues.




How You Can Help
help key

Please tell us which meeting(s) you plan to attend– we have talking points to assist you. Call 214. 631. 5571 (ext 304) or email Lisa Hembry.

Mark your calendar to attend budget hearings with the entire council, along with the final vote. Meetings will be held the following Wednesdays at Council Chambers:

  • August 27
  • September 10
  • September 24



Call at least 24 hours in advance to register to speak at these meetings (City Secretary:
214. 670. 3738

It is very important that you, call, write and email your Councilperson and the Mayor– they are your public servants, and want to hear from you.






phone: 214.631.5571






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6 responses to “Using Your Subsidy To Campaign For A Higher Subsidy?”

  1. JS says:

    Dear Mayor Leppert,
    I understand that the proposed city budget unfortunately cuts funding for Dallas iMedia to $196,000. This is NOT enough. Instead, please cut the budget to zero. If Dallas iMedia cannot make a go of it without governmental funding, it need to iGo. Please spend that $196,000 on fixing some roads or watering some trees or something.
    Thank you,
    A taxpayer

  2. Sophie says:

    “Free speech” is among the most misunderstood concepts in America. Just ask anyone who monitors any sort of online discussion group.

  3. Wes Mantooth says:

    How is this fundamentally different from what KERA does multiple times a year on the radio and on TV?

  4. I’m affraid there’s a significant misunderstanding here. The city pays no subsidy for public access — citizen journalism. Subscribers to Time Warner Cable pay 39 cents a month for PEG — public, education and government. This is seperate from the franchise fee that is paid to the cityby the cable company. When the franchise was first granted, there were 16 channels and the subscriber payments to public access were well over a million dollars. Today we have three channels and are in the draft city budget at $190,000. We’re only asking that we be brought back to last year’s level — $304,000.

    Additionally, we’ve provided over $360,000 worth of services to the city this year. I can assure you there’s not a fraction of an ounce of subsidy.

    When’s the last time you watched? Go to and see your community in action.

    David Dunnigan
    Chair, Dallas iMedia Network

  5. Lisa Hembry says:

    Misinformation and lack of information is one of the key reasons that public access television is critical, especially in America’s urban communities. Dallas iMedia Network is a vendor/contractor for the city of Dallas. As with any contract, when the services are performed the vendor expects the document to be honored. I have forwarded a copy of our contract with the city of Dallas to D Magazine. Clearly, we are not receiving tax dollars or govenment subsidy. Legislation was created to ensure that cable companies set aside funding, as part of their franchise agreement, for public access, education and govenment channels and their operations. The city of Dallas receives these funds from Time Warner for the purpose of funding these services. Public Access television was created by the U. S. Congress to ensure that the voice of local communities was not silenced by Big Media. Dallas iMedia Network is passionate about our mission. We will not give up.

    iMedia Youth Channel and education programs have trained thousands of local youth to think critically about the media messages that they are bombarded with every day. On September 13th, Dallas iMedia Network presents the first annual Student Success Summit to encourage and motivate our children to graduate from high school With a dropout rate reaching critical levels, we are giving youth a change to express their needs. Funding for these projects comesfrom ExxonMobil Foundation,the Dallas County Community College District, ONCOR, the Harold Simmons Foundation and other organizations that care about the future of our city.

    Diverse people from all over our community come to iMedia to inform, educate and entertain. We are the town square for Dallas. If we are silenced, I believe that this is definitely an attack on free speech.

  6. JS says:

    “If we are silenced, I believe that this is definitely an attack on free speech.” The City of Dallas not providing money to iMedia is about as much of an attack on free speech as Tim banning me from Frontburner.

    “iMedia Youth Channel and education programs have trained thousands of local youth to think critically about the media messages that they are bombarded with every day.” Give me a break. Frontburner has trained me to critically study pictures of Tammy Dombeck, Casey Thompson, Jessica Simpson, and the D Magazine interns — should the City of Dallas give Frontburner money?

    And I may have misunderstood the following point, but “[w]hen the franchise was first granted, there were 16 channels and the subscriber payments to public access were well over a million dollars” while now iMedia has “three channels and are in the draft city budget at $190,000.” Let’s see, you reduced the number of channels by 81% percent and your payments from the city of Dallas have dropped by 81%. Interesting how math works, isn’t it?