Costa Mesa City Council Preview


Officials from the cable giant that holds the only service contract in

Costa Mesa will address the City Council tonight to outline steps to

improve customer service in the area.

Del Heintz, the director of local government affairs for AT&T;

Broadband, will discuss recent problems with customer service related to

extensive changes in technology and programming. Council members will

decide what action the city should take regarding the cable company --

although the law really limits what they can do.

The Federal Communication Commission governs contracts between cable

companies and cities. Aside from canceling the service contract -- a very

expensive and time-consuming process -- the city can do very little.

Earlier this year, residents reported problems communicating with AT&T;

Broadband customer service agents, saying hold times were excessive --

more than an hour -- if they got through at all. Many residents said they

got a busy signal when they dialed the toll-free number.

Jerry Verwolf, telecommunications manager for the city, said customer

complaints have increased dramatically in the past six years. In 1996,

four people complained to the city about poor service from AT&T;

Broadband. By 2001, the number climbed to 103 and officials have taken 43

complaints this year, he said.

AT&T; Broadband has a 15-year contract with the city, which authorizes

the construction, operation and maintenance of a cable system throughout

the city.

What to expect:

Council members are expected to keep the existing contract with the

cable company but give harsh warnings about improving customer service.


Those who miss seeing the Segerstrom players at City Council meetings

after approval of the Home Ranch project can rest easy tonight as the

developers come before the council to request a minor adjustment to

traffic designs.

C.J. Segerstrom & Sons will offer an additional $500,000 for the

changes in design and construction of an unfinished freeway improvement

on the Fairview Road onramp to the San Diego Freeway.

Existing plans did not accommodate the possible construction of a new

Susan Street offramp -- an integral yet unofficial part of the Home Ranch

project -- designed to dump traffic into the heart of the 93-acre


The Segerstroms have already given the city $1.5 million to pay for

the necessary changes. Additional funds are being offered to cover the

costs of halted construction caused by a delay in design approval for the


What to expect:

The council is expected to approve the additional funds.


Recognizing a lack of park space within Costa Mesa, the city is in the

process of trying to buy a parcel of land from Southern California

Edison, said Bill Morris of the Public Services Department.

Council members will decide tonight whether to purchase a small lot

from the electric company for $574,000.

At less than a half-acre, the land at Monte Vista Avenue and Monaco

Terrace would be too small for a sports field but could help with general

recreation, officials said.

What to expect:

The council is expected to approve the purchase.


* WHAT: Costa Mesa City Council meeting

* WHEN: 6:30 p.m. today

* WHERE: Council Chambers at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

* INFORMATION: (714) 754-5223

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