Beverly Hills : Cable-TV Vote Delayed Again

The City Council delayed until April 7 its decision on renewing the city's cable-television franchise with Century Southwest Cable Television so that the city and the company can further refine the proposed agreement.

"We keep getting closer and closer to what we want," said Councilman Maxwell Salter. He said that the council is also concerned about possible legal action by Century should the city decide to deny the agreement.

The council has put off deciding on the contract at three previous meetings.

The latest hitch involved a city request that Century provide an engineer to handle operational problems while the contract is in effect.

The city is still negotiating with Century, asking the company to provide a $4.5-million letter of credit and to give the city access to the franchise's assets should Century default on its bank loans. Under the proposed agreement, the city also would receive $1 million to upgrade its cable system and to construct a public access channel.

The vote to delay came after the council, on a 3-2 vote, turned down a proposal by Councilman Robert Tanenbaum to deny the contract. Tanenbaum and Mayor Charlotte Spadaro have opposed renewing the city's agreement with Century because they say that the company has failed to show it can fulfill the financial obligations of the contract.

Charles Firestone, the city's special counsel negotiating the agreement with Century, advised the council Tuesday to deny the agreement and set a hearing to consider revoking Century's cable contract.

But Salter, Vice Mayor Benjamin H. Standsbury Jr. and Councilwoman Donna Ellman voted to put off a decision and let negotiations continue.

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