In Los Angeles, the police may stand still for rioting and looting, but you'd better walk between the lines. Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers CEO John Clark found that out the hard way before the recent Western Show. Clark told The Wire what went down when he tried to cross the street outside the Westin Bonaventure Hotel at 9 a.m. on the Sunday before the convention. "I was minding my own business," Clark said, noting that L.A.'s streets typically resemble a ghost town at such an early weekend hour. "Suddenly, a police car pulled up and the officer asked for my ID," Clark said. "Next thing you know, he's writing me a ticket [for jaywalking]. That was my welcome to L.A."
Clark still doesn't know how much the ticket will cost, as the authorities won't send him the details until later this month. Later on during the show, he said other members of his group also showed a penchant for jaywalking around L.A. Clark, an upstanding, law-abiding citizen, had learned his lesson and stayed behind as others threw caution to the wind. "I told them, I'm standing here until that hand turns white," he joked. He's in good company. Philadelphia Mayor John Street got the same treatment during this summer's Democratic National Convention.
Clark may be disgusted with his ticket, but Mary Loreto is delighted with the ticket she received as a result of her trip to the trade show. She's the new business manager for TeleKnowledge, a Massachusetts company that's trying to attract business from cable operators. No word on new contracts, but she did leave as the winner of video-on-demand providerDemandVideo's "vacation-on-demand" contest.
She gets to pick a vacation destination, and DemandVideo will pay for her trip. The executive is vacillating between Hawaii and Italy.
As reported in Multichannel News, Vice President Al Gore's camp has used DirecTV Inc.'s service to keep up with presidential campaign news. Now word is that his competitor is on the, well, quiet side of the digital divide. George W. Bush hasn't been catching a lot of the wall-to-wall cable-news coverage
of the Florida vote recount. According to a Newsweek
story on the MSNBC Web site last week, Dubya "doesn't even have satellite TV or cable at his modest ranch" in Crawford, Texas. The potential leader of the free world lacks up-to-the-minute, around-the-clock news coverage? If the news doesn't interest him, maybe someone should tell him pay TV also delivers out-of-market baseball games.
Not only are overbuilders attracting bankers, now they're luring local franchising authority executives to share their dreams. Some of the latest regulators who've given up bureaucratic careers join the new companies include Eric Kaalund, who spent years putting the spurs to AT & T Broadband as a manager in the Dallas Comptroller's Office; and Rich Esposto, the long-time executive director of the Sacramento (Calif.) Metropolitan Cable Commission. Both have accepted jobs with upstart Western Integrated Networks.
Altrio Communications Inc. has hired Brenda Trainor, a consultant and long-time member of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisers.
Incumbent cable operators and their competitors may offer dueling statistics on the Los Angeles marketplace, but there's one category in which cable is indisputably No. 1-lobbying expenses. From the beginning of July through the end of September, no industry spent more trying to influence the Los Angeles City Council,
according to a recent report from the city's Ethics Commission. According to reports, L.A. operators paid $349,254 to lobbyists during that period. Most of that work was related to the open-access issue. To put it in perspective: the No. 2 most-expensive issue-a controversial coastal area development called Playa Vista-resulted in only $187,539 in lobbying expenses.