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HMG-CN OPINION: Cerritos City Council Ignores Frontier Switchover Problem, Would Rather Build Museum


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By Brian Hews

The switchover from Frontier to Verizon debacle continues in Cerritos, as HMG-CN continues to receive a large amount of phone calls complaining about the lack of cable, TV, Internet and customer service.

But the Cerritos City Council seems to be more interested in—passing an ordinance prohibiting vacation rentals in the City (when there are only 5 listed in the City); having untelevised and unrecorded meetings to raise the City’s sales tax; approving what is rumored to be a $500,000 car museum — as opposed to fighting for  area residents that voted them into office.

There have been several other City Councils that have called in representatives from Frontier so they can face the music, why not Cerritos?

It is likely that the City Council, not wanting to spend hours listening to irate residents slam them for their inaction, does not want to request that Frontier attend a Cerritos Council meeting.

Once again they are more worried about getting elected and making their $60,000 a year in total pay and benefits rather than doing anything for the residents of Cerritos.

I remember years ago when the City’s air quality was rated poorest in LA County, Cancer-ritos as some called it.

The City Council acted very quickly, called in the Federal Government and days later got the agency to “clear the air.”

When the image of the City is under attack, the Council acts.

If residents are inconvenienced, the Council sends letters, in this case to Frontier.

Here are a few ideas for the Council related to the Internet and phone outages that might work.

First of all, meet with Frontier representatives; invite them to a Council meeting so the residents can let them know how unhappy they are. Invite Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and State Senator Tony Mendoza; tell Frontier executives they will be there.

In addition, why not set up an emergency hotline for residents to call so the City can provide limited minute phones to older adults who only have landlines.

You could fund the purchases by taking away the $400 per month car allowance each Councilmember has, I am sure they won’t object.

Heck, the City could buy the phones in Cerritos and make money off the sales tax.

I know the City was solicited by a company called Airmesh years ago. Airmesh set up Wi-Fi signal boxes all over the city, why not give that service free to residents until Frontier gets their act together.

How about negotiating with Charter, who has Wi-Fi hotspots in the City, until the problems are solved by Frontier.

That probably won’t happen since the City receives a “Franchise Fee” from local cable companies. Offering cable services free would cut into that fee, and we all know Cerritos can’t afford that with a $58 million reserve; but they can afford a museum.

And the ideas put forth in this opinion probably won’t happen either.

After all this is Cerritos where the council fancies themselves so powerful (and arrogant) that some violated the Brown Act to support a biased newspaper with City advertising dollars, a newspaper that will always support the Council majority of (R)’s.

The City support continues even after the R’s discover that its puppet “publisher,” Melinda Kimsey, falsely accused a fourth-grade teacher of pedophilia and sexual harassment and was forced to recant the entire story and pay a $20,000 fine.

They are already christening Brad Beach as the next City Councilman.

And Janet Beach, a Cerritos Commissioner, designs the 15-point font, twelve page rag for Kimsey.

I guess Brad and Janet don’t care that Kimsey falsely accused that teacher of pedophilia either.

And so the Frontier debacle will continue and HMG-CN will continue to receive phone calls from irate residents asking for a solution.

Maybe HMG-CN should publish the personal emails of all Cerritos City Council members so they can see how angry the residents are, and maybe they will finally do their job and fight for the residents…instead of building a car museum.

  • Cerritos Resident says:

    Brian, last nite, it was announced at the Fine Arts commission, ( 5/19/2016) the next Fine Art commission will be in August, it will be non televised study session. It is open to the public with seating available but will not be televised. This is just bad business. The Commissioners wanted to talk about future projects without being televised. I don’t like that at all.

    Many of the community, are upset that the annual Cerritos Study Session was non televised and not archived on to the city web site!!! Where is transparency, this smells like city of Maywood-Bell corrupt government.

    Regarding the Frontiers chaos, the other night, came home, no hard line telephone, but the computers did work. The telephones came back and running the next day. Also received our 2nd statement from Frontiers, this is our second statement which reads in errors. The billing from Verizon Mar 31, 2016; did not translate to Frontiers Apr 1, 2016; , I’ve spent hours and hours and hours, showing them cancelled checks etc, Frontiers promise that it would be reflected on the new bill, still the new bill is not correct, hence never been updated. We have yet to receive one correct statement from Frontiers, I suppose it’s being generated from an offshore holding company.

    This week, contacted Pam in the city of Cerritos and Communications, she stated that they’re still having complaints about the Frontiers this week from many Cerritos residents. Communications Depart. is our go to contact, between residents and Frontiers. Few weeks ago, Frontiers told us the IP # purchased from Verizon were not correct, so has been a burden for Frontiers, as the IP # have to be changed out, to reflect Frontiers IP #. Why cant the city hall compound, broadcast Wifi signals, 24 hrs daily during this crisis, instead of the 9am-9pm curfews?

    Question to CCC, whey do we have only (2) telephone vendors in the city: Frontiers and Charter? We have limited racial diversity, now we have limited communications diversity. Senator, legislators and congresswoman, must be present to the next CCC hearing, we elected them in to office, this is a national communications outage, which effects national security.

    Question for the Museum, the vintage cars are being stored on the city hall parking structure, which is owned by the residents of the city of Cerritos. Why can’t we see the stored museum cars, since the parking structure is park of the public assets? It was never disclosed, if the founder of the museum dies within the next decade, the residents are held responsible for the $400K yrly maintenance of the museum. City has no money for public works, why are we taking money out of the general funds, to budget for a museum, which will not be open to the public? http://cerritospublicworks.blogspot.com/
    Museum is another pick elephant, frequented by select groups of subscription fees; compared to the CCPA. My opine, the CCPA and Museum are very very expensive city PARKS, which are only frequented by the wealthy at large, which can afford paid subscriptions.

    Both city of La Palma and Palos Verdes, council and commissioners, receive no car allowance, no stipend, no PPO Medical Ins to grave, why does Cerritos Council remain one of the few seated councils, flush with benefits and perks?

  • Granada Park says:

    This Cerritos Council thinks they’re very regal, they’re above everybody else, and they’re just flush with perks and benefits. This will be the last time I even consider having an immigrant Seated on the council. They are seated there for their own race and nobody else. When will we have representation by districts, compared to ABC?

    Before this election of regal eating mice, always thought the immigrants in this country were the underdogs, while I have changed, immigrants are lizard covered snakes, praying on the economy of the residents who helped establish Cerritos 60 yrs ago.

    Pulido has way too many family, cousins and relatives appointed to commissioners. Family of nothing but incest governmental top dogs.

  • Motor City says:

    Many great points. Check out where those cars for the museum are being stored. On city property, that’s where At whose expense? At the city general funds expense. Is that even legal? Misuse of public funds for private benefit? Check out who’s being paid to watch those cars. City has the Sheriff’s department keeping on eye on the cars. Who’s watching your car? City paid for parking garage cameras aimed on area where those cars are parked. Video feed is displayed on monitors in sheriff’s station. Is that even legal? Misuse of public funds for private benefit? Is city paid for sheriff’s staff being misused to provide private security for private cars? City must have money to spend and favors to give. Just not for you or me.

    City also paid power company a quarter of a million dollars a year for parking stalls near Liberty park and the beneficiary was the multi-millionaire auto dealers. Curious, who’s paying for the parking stalls at the mall so, auto center employees can park in the Sears lot?

  • Pubic Phone Booth says:

    Will Frontier’s problems taking over for Verizon spell doom for the company?

    When Frontier Communications was preparing to take over Verizon’s landline-related operations in California, Texas and Florida, the company stressed that it would make the transition as smooth as possible.

    But as scores of newly minted Frontier customers know, that transition has been anything but smooth.

    Julie Rock said she endured a variety of problems before finally throwing up her hands and switching to Time Warner.

    “My phone messages were not accessible,” she said. “My phone would ring sporadically and say that I had a message but there was no message. I was also unable to remotely program my DVR, which I could do before, and my Video on Demand choices suddenly were very limited.”

    Rock’s frustration escalated when she attempted to speak to Frontier representatives about the problems.

    “I called their customer service about my bill because it was outrageous,” she said. “They told me I needed to talk to collections, but when I was transferred there they said I needed to talk to customer service. And I kept getting cut off. I probably spent close to 16 hours on the phone with them for one thing or another.”

    Rock’s story is not unique. Since Frontier took over on April 1 complaints have escalated, prompting many to contact the California Public Utilities Commission.

    “We have received 1,256 complaints so far,” CPUC spokesman Christopher Chow said earlier this week. “We’re going to have a Frontier workshop next Tuesday at Long Beach City Hall. The goal is to find out what’s going on and what the utility is doing about it.”

    Frontier’s expansion into California is eerily reminiscent of Haggen’s botched entry into the Golden State’s supermarket industry last year, a move that resulted in layoffs, store closings, lawsuits, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing — and ultimately the company’s decision to pull out of California.

    There are definite parallels.

    Haggen’s expansion grew the Bellingham, Wash.-based business from a regional chain of 18 grocery stores and 16 pharmacies to a vastly larger company with 164 stores and 106 pharmacies.

    Frontier was a far bigger player to begin with. But its $10.5 billion acquisition of Verizon’s Internet, video, phone and Fios networks has boosted its footprint in the same kind of way.

    The Verizon acquisition expanded the company’s workforce of 19,200 employees to about 29,200, and its customer base has jumped from 3.4 million people to 7.1 million.

    Company spokesman Cameron Christian says no, although he acknowledged there have been problems.

    “There was a significant set of data that came over to us from Verizon and some of it was inaccurate, so more customers than we anticipated had problems,” he said.

    Christian said Frontier has also experienced problems with its customer service vendors, many of whom are offshore contractors. The company plans to eliminate any reliance on overseas customer service agents by no later than July 30.

    “This has been deeply disappointing to us and our Verizon customers,” he said.

    Frontier Communications participated in an Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce hearing last week that was chaired by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, to discuss concerns over the transition.

    During the hearing, Frontier representative Melinda White apologized to customers who have experienced disruptions. White said Frontier has completed training for more than 4,000 customer service representatives and field technicians who formerly worked as Verizon employees.

    White said the company is expediting its response to service issues involving elderly customers and others who are disabled or have medical issues.

    The company said it is also resolving the limited availability of movie and television content in its Video on Demand (VOD) library.

    “We are working to load more than 100,000 titles into the VOD library, and we have placed a priority on loading the most popular content first,” White said. “We expect to complete this process within the next several weeks. We will also ensure that all content that customers have previously purchased is available to them.”

    James Ratcliffe, an equity analyst with Buckingham Research Group, figures Frontier will eventually iron out its problems. But that’s not saying it will happen tomorrow.

    “It’s never easy,” he said. “You are often talking about integrating things like billing and operational systems. Employees have to get used to new user interfaces on their software. You can have two perfectly functional systems, but if they aren’t integrated … that can be a challenge.”

    Christian couldn’t say exactly when all of the issues will be resolved.

    “We’ve made some real progress on our backlog of tickets,” he said. “We hope to have them resolved by the end of May.”

    Christian said Frontier is in it for the long haul.

    “We have a strong, long-term commitment to serve customers in California,” he said. “We have a strong engagement strategy.”

  • Taxed to Death says:

    My thoughts and opinions are as follows. I welcome a discussion and any corrections or additions.

    City leadership in these parts appears to be nothing short of fiscal idiots. Sooner or later the house of cards will fall.

    Foxes in the chicken coop yelp that city is broke and residents need to pony up more money to pay for immoral and misguided spending approved by their city council. All this while a very long term city manager has collected millions in city pay and benefits over the years.

    Why hasn’t the city manager been able to explain that city must stop flushing millions every year on the performing arts center, magnolia power plant, auto center, city mall, council pay, and council benefits?

    Over the years the city of Cerritos has:
    – Increased fees for resident usage of recreation facilities
    – Increased parking fines
    – Increased water rates
    – Increased trash collection fees
    – Increased the number of offenses that require a fine
    – Increased library related fees
    – Increased council perks
    – Increased management pay

    – Paid for part of the auto center sign
    – Provided auto center a low interest loan for the auto center’s share of the sign
    – Paid for parking stalls for auto center to use
    – Provided money for mall remodel
    – Provides lifetime health benefits for council members
    – Pays for council members to travel to foreign countries
    – Pays monthly car allowance for council members
    – Paid to clean freeway in near auto center
    – Provides free tickets to council members to attend events at the Performing Arts Center
    – Allows the Performing Arts Center to run in the red for every year for the past 23 years
    – Allows the Magnolia Power Plant to run in the red every year for the past 13 years
    – Does not allow residents to purchased electric from the power plant
    – Provides electricity to auto dealerships at a lower rate than residents pay Southern California Edison

    – Seeking to increase sales tax
    – Seeking to increase property taxes
    – Rumored to be considering implementing a street light tax
    – Multiple current and past council members organized and openly fought against school board bond

    Took money from the general fund that should have been used for road repairs, sidewalk repairs, tree trimming, senior programs, youth programs, safety, home burglary deterrent programs, and auto theft deterrent programs and loaned it to the redevelopment agency without voter approval.

    Used redevelopment money to provided corporate welfare to benefit multiple businesses, pay city employee slaries, and paid council members to act as overseer of redevelopment agency.

    Redevelopment agency is gone. The money is gone. City owed the state of California.

    City had to pay state Millions, because cities like Cerritos were abusing the intent of the redevelopment agency.

    City takes from general fund (resident’s money) >>> loans to redevelopment agency (redevelopment agency money only) >>> State dissolves off redevelopment agencies >>> city refuses to take serious measures to cut spending >>>city goes after uninformed, uninvolved, and unconcerning residents to collect money they need to support bleeding performing arts center, bleeding power plant, and bloated council perks.

    Isn’t this similar to a Ponzi scheme?
    A Ponzi scheme (also a Ponzi game or a Ponzi) is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources.