Faulting Falcon

In Mr. Ben-Yehuda’s article on cable rate reductions [Aug. 20] he quotes Susan Booker, regional manager for Falcon, as claiming that “rate increases . . . were due to the cost of producing local programming in 1997, such as high school baseball games” (emphasis added).

Although shocking, it is not surprising that local Falcon Cable representatives are trying to point the blame on the videotaping of four high school baseball home games, rather than their own predatory price-gouging practices for overcharging and violating the cable television franchise agreement with the city of Malibu.

Falcon has consistently violated the franchise agreement by failing to provide video equipment, training and facilities, which they promised when they first obtained the franchise which would allow local producers, such as myself, to cover local events such as high school sports without any pass-through cost to the community, but, alas, when we asked Falcon to do something so minimal for something so meritorious such as televising youth sports events here in our community, they pass through charges and blame us for their overpriced, monopoly-type billing practices.

When they are caught, like most wrongdoers, instead of accepting responsibility, they point at the innocent to divert attention and to avoid taking responsibility.

Falcon has insulted this community and continues to insult us by failing to honor the agreement they wrote and the promises they made to induce us to allow them to make the “highest profit margin” (L.A. Times) of any cable company operating in the country today.

Falcon Cable owes this community over $1,800,000 in liquidated damages for failing to provide equipment, training and facilities which they agreed to do or, they agreed if they failed to do so, to pay $500 per day as an agreed upon penalty.

How many local event programs have been produced by Falcon using their own for-hire cameraman and their own employee, Jeanette Scoville, and then taking credit as “produced by Falcon Cable” for their own promotional purposes, making us pay while decrying local citizens’ request to tape and program four local school sports events which, by they way, they aired months later and at such poor quality that they were virtually unwatchable. And this is what Susan Booker says caused our rate increases? What a bad joke Falcon Cable plays daily on our community.

Sam Birenbaum

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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