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Orange County Digest

Local News in Brief : Santa Ana : Comcast Sues City Over First Amendment Right

December 04, 1987

Comcast Cablevision, slapped with $1,000 per day fines by the city for failing to live up to its franchise agreement, filed suit against Santa Ana in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday.

In the lawsuit, the company alleges that the conditions of the agreement are based on content and therefore violate Comcast's First Amendment rights.

The city notified Comcast last month that, beginning Dec. 1, it would impose a charge of $1,000 per day for several franchise contract violations, including failing to build a cable TV studio and establishing a timetable for linking Santa Ana with other cable systems in the county. The city also wants Comcast to continue funding local programming at current levels.

Comcast vice president Jim Bequette said that complying with those provisions of the agreement would not benefit subscribers but would force the company to raise its monthly rates.

Comcast never says in the lawsuit exactly which conditions violate its constitutional rights. The suit also contends that the imposition of sanctions without a full hearing raises due-process issues.

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