Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL

FROM: COUNCILMEMBER GARDINER

DATE: JULY 1, 2003

SUBJECT: COX COMMUNICATIONS FRANCHISE CONCERNS

RECOMMENDATION

Consider a response to the apparent failure to comply with a properly requested and mutually confirmed request for Special Shoot under the Cable TV Franchise Agreement.

BACKGROUND

On May 14, Matt Waters of the Department of Recreation and Parks made a production request to Cox Communications, to cover the annual July 4th City Celebration. On May 15, a formal production request was e-mailed to Art Yoon, of Cox, from Gabriella Holt, the City Cable TV Manager. The request form was prepared and submitted in accordance with the procedures agreed on by the City and Cox staff.

Cox Communications procedures require a minimum 21 day advance notice for the request; the City provided a 50 day advance notice for the July 4th shoot. At the time of the request Cox approved the shoot per the Ms. Holtís specifications (shoot time 11 am - 5 pm). City Staff and Ms. Holt met with Art Yoon and Paul Fornelli of Cox Communications, on May 20 at 9 am, to discuss streamlining production requests, so Cox could allocate their very skeletal crew, to all their franchise mandated obligations. On that date, Mr. Yoon again confirmed that the coverage for the Fourth of July Country Fair was not a problem.

Last week, without any advance warning or consultation, Mr. Yoon unilaterally advised Ms. Holt that Cox had withdrawn its confirmation with Rancho Palos Verdes and would instead be working on a shoot for the City of Palos Verdes Estates on the morning of July 4th and would not arrive in Rancho Palos Verdes until after noon. This is the second time in the past four months, where Cox has reneged on meeting its franchise-mandated obligations with the City. Each time they have claimed staffing issues.

Ms. Holt has advised Mr. Yoon that the schedule of events for the country Fair will begin with the Boy Scouts leading the Pledge of Allegiance at 11:15 am and the Mayor will give opening remarks and introductions at 12:30 pm. She further advised him that it is essential that the franchise-mandated coverage begin no later than 11:15 am and stay through the Mayor's opening remarks and introductions, at the very minimum. Ms. Holt made it clear that had she known there was a conflict when she made the original request, the City may have been able to set a different schedule to help meet the Cox staffing constraints. On June 21, 2003 Ms. Holt notified Mr. Yoon that the City couldnít change the schedule of events at this late date and expect Cox crew coverage, as approved on May 15, 2003. On June 25, 2003 Mr. Yoon indicated that Cox would meet Ms. Holtís coverage requirements for the Country Fair.

DISCUSSION

Councilmember Gardiner has asked that this matter be placed on the City Council agenda for discussion and possible action by the City Council. Action that may be considered by the City Council would begin with a notice to Cox Communications that they are in violation of their Franchise Agreement. Councilmember Gardiner has indicated he will present several far-reaching options to consider with respect to Cox.

Respectfully:
Les Evans
City Manager
(for Councilmember Gardiner)