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City aims to block Charter

Glendale’s attorneys say changing public access channels would be harmful.

February 06, 2010|By Veronica Rocha

BURBANK — Glendale city attorneys on Friday asked a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to block Charter Communications from changing local government access channels.

Superior Court Judge Donna Fields Goldstein didn’t make a decision on the preliminary injunction request, but issued a temporary restraining order in January that blocked Charter from reassigning the channels, a change that would have moved the Emmy-award-winning GTV6 to channel 3.

Charter’s plan would shift Glendale’s public access channels, including channels 15, 16 and 21, with its entire channel lineup.

Fields Goldstein wanted to hear both sides of the issues before making a decision, she said.

In making her decision for the temporary restraining order, she said she would look at existing legislation, the potential harm of the change and status quo issues.

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“I think it was more of a legal issue,” Fields Goldstein said.

Glendale officials have argued that Charter did not have the authority to reassign the channels without their consent. The move would harm years of branding and marketing that went into establishing GTV6 as a the city’s programming channel, officials said.

“What we are really asking for is that the cable service be the same as today when we wake up tomorrow morning,” said attorney Jeffrey Melching, who is representing the city.

Charter, he said, can change all other channels in its lineup except the city’s public access channels.

Moving the public access channels, he said, would significantly impede the city’s ability to provide life-saving information, such as mudslide evacuation notices, to residents.

But Richard Patch, an attorney representing Charter, argued that preventing the change would cause more harm because customers would be confused about the channel lineup.

Charter has been trying to make its channel lineup uniform in an effort to advertise more efficiently and group programming by genre, he said.

If the channels remain the same, Patch said, Glendale, Burbank, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Montrose would have a different lineup than neighboring cities, such as Van Nuys.

“We think there is going to be confusion,” he said.


Get in touch VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@ latimes.com.

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