Readers write | SierraSun.com

Readers write

Cebridge CEO is misinformedAs manager of the Borough of Kutztown, Penn., I read with interest the Aug. 5 My Turn column in the Sierra Sun, “PUD’s $24M broadband adventure is high-risk,” by Jerry Kent, chief executive officer of Cebridge Connections. While I do not have enough specific information to comment on Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s fiber-to-the-user project, respectfully leaving that decision and debate to the board members of the PUD, I would like to correct inaccurate information propagated by Mr. Kent regarding Kutztown’s fiber-to-the-user project.To our knowledge, Mr. Kent has not spoken to anyone in Kutztown and we are not aware of (nor did he identify) the source of his information about our network. Debate about the spending of public funds on fiber-to-the-user networks should be robust and vigorous, however the entire public process is damaged when misinformation is propagated.Kutztown launched a fiber-to-the-user network in August 2002. In two years the network has provided our community with many direct and indirect benefits: lower cable television rates, access to broadband Internet, lower phone prices, a community television channel, remote monitoring of utilities, a soon-to-be launched home security system, wireless broadband to otherwise un-served businesses, and new and expanded opportunities for businesses.The Shpigler Group, a telecommunications consulting firm from New York, recently completed a thorough study of the financial viability of Kutztown’s telecommunication project. On June 15, Shpigler presented its findings to the Borough Council and public. As part of this presentation it was shown, contrary to Mr. Kent’s claim, that telecommunications revenue is greater than telecommunications operating expense.While the telecommunciations project is covering operating costs, revenue is not yet covering its debt service. Few capital-intensive ventures do in just their second year. Mr. Kent seems to want to hold municipal fiber-to-the-user projects to a financial standard that is not practical, nor often used when evaluating any start-up venture. The elected officials of this community, in planning the telecommunications project, accepted a timeline of seven years before the venture would reach profitability. This is the timeline that Kutztown is following. In fact, the project is on pace to meet this goal earlier than expected.I would like to wish your community good luck as you debate a public fiber-to-the-user network. I invite anyone from the PUD (and Mr. Kent) to contact my office if you are interested in discussing Kutztown’s project.Jaymes VettrainoManager, Borough of Kutztown, PaWriting to complainI am writing to complain about your front page article of Aug. 4, “The Regulator runs for re-election” about Josh Susman’s town council candidacy. The article consists entirely of a lengthy, uncritical interview with Mr. Susman. No effort was made to independently assess Mr. Susman’s record or to analyze his position. The side box briefly mentions the other candidates without giving them anything resembling equal space. The article is really an unpaid (I hope) ad for Mr. Susman. As such it is appropriate for the editorial page, not for the top of page one. The recent negative article about TDPUD board member Pat Sutton is similarly inappropriate – an editorial masquerading as news. These articles make clear the fact the current editors of the Sun have little knowledge of journalistic ethics and raise serious questions about their motives. Jack Kashtan Donner Lake [Editor’s note: The Sierra Sun featured front-page coverage of the organized events put on by the three other candidates to announce their plans to run for Truckee Town Council: “Florian will seek third council term,” May 21; “Casting for council: Anderson to run for Ted Owens’ seat,” May 28; and “‘Green’ light for town council,” June 14. The article on Susman’s intention to run for re-election afforded nothing more or less than the coverage given the other candidates so far in advance of the November election.As the election approaches, the Sierra Sun plans to provide in-depth, balanced coverage of all the races and candidates, including Truckee Town Council and the various special districts.]