Leanza Leaving MAP to Join NLC

Cheryl Leanza -- a public-interest attorney who helped to frustrate the deregulatory policies of Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell -- is leaving Media Access Project to join the National League of Cities.

MAP, a public-interest law firm based in Washington, D.C., beat the FCC in court over rulings designed to relax media-ownership restrictions and to keep cable-modem service free of open-access policies that would allow competing Internet-service providers to obtain wholesale access at regulated rates.

“Cheryl is an extraordinarily talented woman, and there are not a lot of others who combine her energy, knowledge and skills,” MAP president Andrew Jay Schwartzman said in a prepared statement. “We will miss her very much.”

The NLC is gearing up for the effort on Capitol Hill next year to overhaul telecommunications law.

Cities are expected to fight to retain control over access to public rights of way and the ability to charge user fees to cable companies and others. They are particularly concerned about a March 2002 ruling that voided their authority to collect franchise fees on cable-modem revenue -- a policy cities said is costing them about $500 million per year in lost revenue.