Have you heard the one about OpenBand, the wholly-owned subsidiary of MC Dean, Inc.? OpenBand is the cable/Internet provider for some local HOAs, among other things. OpenBand’s service doesn’t exactly engender a lot of positive feelings among many of its customers.
Well, OpenBand’s cable franchise agreement is up for renewal by the Board of Supervisors this year. Franchise renegotiations and renewals like these are on a regular, known schedule. Cable companies, like OpenBand, pay very close attention to these schedules. At times, you can actually see their responsiveness to their customers swell as the deadline for franchise consideration creeps closer.
It is worthwhile to also pay attention to a cable company’s political donations as franchise renewals come up for consideration. For example, here in Loudoun County people affiliated with OpenBand’s corporate parent, MC Dean and Companies, donated $4,500 to Eugene Delgaudio (and $1,000 to Lori Waters) during the 2007 election cycle, and another $5,500 to Delgaudio overall. MC Dean’s OpenBand franchise would be considered by the Board elected in 2007, after all.
Wait a minute, you say, I only see $3,500 to Delgaudio in 2007 at that link and $4,500 overall. What’s the deal? Well, that’s because you didn’t see this link to McDean Inc for $2,000 in ’04, and this link to Marion C. Dean for $1,000 in ’07, and this link to Dean Inc for $1,000 in ’03, and this link to William H. Dean for $1,500 in ’02.
Now, with that kind of input into Delgaudio’s coffers, it’s no wonder that Delgaudio is suddenly NOT a fiscal conservative, at least when it comes to people who have to pay to OpenBand:
Not all supervisors were comfortable with Miller’s request, however, with Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) saying there already is a simple solution for those unhappy with OpenBand’s service: pay an additional $75 a month for satellite.
I’m not taking a position on whether the franchise should be renewed. I’m not an OpenBand customer, and not on the County Cable commission (though, in the interests of transparency, I will disclose that I served on the Town of Leesburg’s Cable Commission, and its successor Technology Commission, for two and a half years). That being said, I can, and do, take a position on whether a Supervisor should recuse himself from voting on a contract that directly benefits a major campaign contributor.
I think he should.