Monday, April 30, 2012

Any way you cut it, the US Federal Communications Commission is blatantly ignoring public law when it comes to regulating our Amateur Radio Service in the United States of America.

Indeed, these clowns seem to have forgotten that our federal and state laws are written for compliance by EVERYONE.... INCLUDING high-handed government bureaucrats who seemingly think they can continually ignore federal law and get away with it.    

Once these federal equal access laws that I have been citing in previous posts went on the books back in the early 1990s, our FCC bureaucrats should have looked at what the new laws very clearly said about redundant licensing requirements that serve no regulatory purpose in granting access to public resources…and then repealed all that nonsense!  They then should have put new regulations into place that complied with both the sprit and the intent of those new federal laws.

Unfortunately, to date...some 20 years later....NONE of that happened!

I also find it rather comical that some of the more vocal "crusty curmudgeons" in our ranks keep saying these reforms aren't "what hams want".  Yet, when all this "incentive" nonsense was first pushed down our throats back in the late 1960s, our FCC bureaucrats at the time didn't seem to care whether their proposals were popular with a "majority" of hams or not. 

Indeed, over the strong objections of even the ARRL regarding the final version of the regulations that later served as the basis for the FCC's wholesale hijacking of our Service for their own political ends (under the guise of "incentive licensing"), the FCC just went ahead and implemented them. 

Likewise, the FCC also didn't seem to care about "what we hams wanted", let alone the MAJOR impact it would have on both our own and many other radio services) when they enacted access BPL...a blatant, for-profit, regulatory assassination of a public resource which has since proven to be nothing but a HUGE RF polluter. Again, they just went ahead and implemented it with the cavalier bureaucratic attitude that "the hams (and others) will just have to lump it".

So, as I see it, there's a LONG track record of the FCC doing as they damn well please despite the very valid objections of our (and other) radio services.

But, regardless, the long needed reforms I'm now advocating are NOT something that should be determined by "plebiscite" or via their stupid "request for comments" farce anyway.  They were (and are) simply a matter of a US Government agency complying with the US Federal Code.  Period.

Indeed, back when I worked in the Federal Service, and when federal laws relating to government appropriations and disbursements were changed, we didn't take a "vote" or ask for comments from our "customers" as to whether our agency should (or should not) comply.  We simply re-wrote our regulations to comply with the new laws.  In some cases, we even set up mobile training teams to instruct those persons working at isolated locations in our agency who dealt with such issues in the "new way" of doing things.  I know this to be true because part of my job at the time was to go "on the road" to teach these courses.

And while our approach to such regulatory and legal issues was all very proactive rather than reactive, I will readily admit that some of those decisions were not always popular with our customer base.  But compliance with other federal laws was always paramount in our operation.

As part of their baseless defense of all this continuing nonsense, some of our "crusty curmudgeons" have also noted that the real reason I don't submit a formal proposal to change the licensing structure is that I know it will be overwhelmingly opposed in the comments, and FCC will therefore not act on it.

Northing could be further from the truth.

The "real reason" I'm not submitting a proposal is that I know from my own personal experiences that the FCC's whole "proposal" process is a farce.  And, in this case, it's absolutely not applicable anyway.  That's because there shouldn't BE a need for any such "petition" nonsense in order for a US federal agency to fully comply with its own federal laws!

Bringing the regulations for our Service into compliance with these new federal laws should have been accomplished LONG ago when all these federal equal access laws first came on the books.  Instead, generations of spineless FCC bureaucrats have simply "kicked the can down the road" and crossed their fingers in the fervent hope that nobody will notice these disconnects until such time as we all die off and amateur radio itself finally goes the way of the dinosaur.

The bottom line here remains that the ONLY way these FCC bureaucrats will now act on these issues is if they are financially FORCED into acting on them..."from above".

Indeed, as the columnist Thomas Sowell once so eloquently said, “You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that, for bureaucrats, procedure is everything and outcomes mean nothing.”

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