A proposal for a city-produced cable television newscast was shelved Tuesday, city officials said, because of "poor timing," given the current atmosphere of political turmoil and because it was discussed in public before the City Council gave its approval.
"That's not the way we do business around here," said City Manager Robert C. Bobb, who said he ordered the plan shelved indefinitely Tuesday. He said he would want to review any such plan before any publicity is given to it.
The five-minute newscast, which would have been taped twice a week and rebroadcast several times daily in English and Spanish, would have been an attempt to "objectively" present events in the city, officials said.
No other city in Orange County has such a program, which would have been broadcast on the city's cable channel.
Mayor Daniel E. Griset said he was "stunned" when he heard about the plan, and he stressed his dissatisfaction with the city's Public Relations Department. "I've reached the point that I'm convinced it's time to make changes in the communications department," he said.
Griset said he does not like to see any city issue in the media before the council has had a chance to discuss it, and he added that he doubts that the proposal will resurface later when things have cooled down. "I think it would be outrageous for anybody to contemplate resurrecting this idea," he said.
Several dissident groups in Santa Ana have criticized the city's presentations on the cable channel and in a city-sponsored magazine as being one-sided, including a group attempting to block a proposal to demolish Santa Ana Stadium to make way for the proposed Westdome arena.
Members of the group, called Save Our Stadium, asked the council to give them equal time to air their views on the channel but were told that a different public access channel is available for community use, including free air time, instruction and equipment.