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COSTA MESA : Forum to Focus on Cable TV Service

February 20, 1993|LYNDA NATALI

Have a gripe about cable television service? Tell it to the City Council.

Council members agreed this week to hold a public forum on cable TV issues.

The forum was requested by the Costa Mesa's Cable Television Committee, which earlier this month condemned Copley/Colony Cablevision for offering what it described as poor service and increasing subscriber rates.

"I think the bottom line is (that) because Copley/Colony is a monopoly, they can increase rates without more justification," said Wendy Leece, Cable Television Committee chairwoman.

But although council members agreed to hold the March forum, they refused to pass a similar resolution condemning the cable operator. They cited potential legal problems.

Residents were outraged by a January rate increase that bumped basic service up from $20.42 to $21.44 and options even more. Critics charge that rates have jumped more than 200% since the cable firm took over local service in 1984. They also say that the company has not responded to service-related complaints.

Steve McMahon, general manager of the local Copley/Colony office, said the recent rate increase resulted from several factors, including higher operating expenses. Recently, the company has incurred increased costs for employee health and benefit programs, he said.

"Contrary to popular belief, we do not receive programming free of charge," McMahon said, adding that the cable company would be happy to televise the public forum.

On Tuesday, a handful of residents said they wanted a public forum, saying that the cable company needs to hear their complaints. "I think there are a lot of negative feelings in the community," said resident Nancy Palme.

The public forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 2 at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave.

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