S. San Pedro Residents to Keep Using Cable Studio in Rancho P.V.

Times Staff Writer

Residents of San Pedro south of 9th Street will continue using a cable television studio in Rancho Palos Verdes for local access programming under an agreement approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The agreement between the city and Times Mirror Cable Television, operators of Dimension Cable Services, operating in southern San Pedro and in four Palos Verdes cities, requires the cable service to provide the studio in question, at Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall on Hawthorne Boulevard.

Previously, the company had said it wanted residents to use a studio in Wilmington operated by Copley/Colony Cable, which provides services to Wilmington as well as San Pedro north of 9th Street. But those plans fell through, and San Pedro residents have been using the Rancho Palos Verdes studio for about a year and a half, according to Steve Fowler, Dimension's general manager.

The provision is part of a lengthy agreement intended to bring Dimension Cable's San Pedro operations in line with the 13 other cable systems in Los Angeles, all of which are required to provide their own public access studios, city officials said.

"It is what we call a cleanup," said Susan Herman, general manager of the city's Department of Telecommunications. "We are making all of the franchises consistent. Times Mirror was the last to go through."

Amendment to Agreement

The agreement approved Tuesday is actually an amendment to a 15-year franchise agreement between the city and Times Mirror Cable Television drafted in 1987. It includes scores of technical changes as well as typographical and spelling corrections. It also imposes several new provisions, including a requirement that Dimension Cable provide special equipment for hearing-impaired subscribers. (Times Mirror Cable Television and The Los Angeles Times are subsidiaries of Times Mirror Co.)

Karen Constine, an aide to harbor-area Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, said the provisions were not requested by San Pedro residents. "It doesn't seem to have come from public demands but rather from the policies of the city," Constine said.

Under the new agreement, the Rancho Palos Verdes studio must be made available to the public for at least 15 hours per week. That amount of time could increase if demand for the studio grows, city officials said.

Dimension provides cable services to 22,000 households on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, including 7,000 in San Pedro. The agreement approved Tuesday affects subscribers in San Pedro only. The cable company has separate agreements with the four other Palos Verdes cities and with the county.

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