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GLENDALE : Standards Weighed for Cable Franchisee

The Glendale City Council is expected to adopt a cable television ordinance that spells out various service standards to be met by Sammons Communications, the city’s embattled cable franchisee.

City officials hope that the ordinance--a basic skeleton for future agreements with any cable provider--will give them leverage in their protracted contract-renewal negotiations with Sammons, which have been in the works for more than three years.

The ordinance was introduced Tuesday and must be adopted by a second council vote.

“The most significant component of the ordinance is that it sets some very specific customer service criteria,” said Steve Adams, an assistant in the city manager’s office.

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For example, minimum response times will be established for customer telephone calls, complaints and requests for repairs--three concerns raised by viewers in past surveys conducted by the city, Adams said.

Still, city officials admit that the proposed ordinance will do little to compel Sammons to make other improvements that residents sought.

“The main problem is the quality of transmission, and I’d like to see some additional channels,” said B. Ritchie Payne, 73, a Glendale resident and longtime Sammons subscriber. Payne said he doubts that the ordinance will help the city extract any changes from Sammons.

Glendale’s 15-year pact with Sammons expired April 28. In early April, the council extended the franchise 90 days in hopes that a renewal agreement would be reached.

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Since then, the company has been given until Oct. 28 to submit its “final and best offer” to the city. If no agreement can be reached by then, a legal battle could ensue, although cable service would not likely be interrupted, city officials said.

Negotiators for the city and Sammons have declined to comment on the details of their talks, although city officials have said they want Sammons to provide more channels and better service.


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