"[Assembly Speaker] Fabian [Nunez] and I were joking," Assembly member Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, told the Sacramento Bee, "Everybody's getting rich on this but us ... We're just trying to do the right thing."The joke, I guess, is that politicians are getting rich signing away cities' rights to regulate cable and video services, their jurisdiction over the public right of way, and the future of public access television. (The Bee points out the unsurprising coincidence that Nunez, the bill's sponsor, has received heavy contributions from the telephone companies pushing for it). Now the cable companies, previously allied with the cities against the bill, are defecting in exchange for the ability to renege on their existing agreements.
If I owned a telephone company and this bill passed, I would immediately flood one city with 20 different project proposals, including two or three totally outlandish ones. After the city inevitably failed to make a ruling on all of them within the 45-day period, I would trash all but the most profitable, which I would be free to build without any public oversight.