Cable’s out: AT&T slow to refund $2
City officials are fuming after learning that AT&T Broadband, the company that has a monopoly on Chico’s cable television service, seems once again to be asleep on the job.

After the city charged that AT&T’s customer service representatives took too long to answer the phone, the company agreed to credit subscribers $2 each. But the company said there was no way its computer system could apply credits to all Chico users, so they would have to send in a special coupon.

Several thousand customers fulfilled their part of the bargain. But this week, calls poured in to the city as subscribers found the same old bill in the mailbox. When customers called AT&T’s customer service line, operators didn’t know anything about a coupon.

“Obviously, we’re quite upset with AT&T,” said City Manager Tom Lando. “They already have a bad reputation, and it’s going to be even worse.”

Chet Wood, a project manager for the city, said, “It seems like it should have been fairly easy and fairly straightforward, and they dropped the ball.”

Lando figures the corporation was just banking on people not returning the coupons.

“We do intend to process the credits,” said Brian Deitz, a Sacramento-based spokesman for AT&T Broadband. Asked what went wrong, he said, “I don’t know if anything went wrong. There may be a lag in that just because of the manual process. If it’s not on the first bill, it will be on the second bill.”

Redistricting debacle ends with a whimper
It took only about 20 minutes Tuesday for the Board of Supervisors finally to approve a redistricting plan that was more than a year in the works.

The plan looks a lot like the original proposal that was submitted last summer by County Clerk Candace Grubbs, just before Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi hijacked the process with the notorious Plan 5. You’ll probably recall that the introduction of Plan 5 last July launched a three-member majority of the board into a bitter lawsuit against Grubbs, who refused to implement it, claiming it was illegal. She eventually won in court. Although the redistricting battle was outright hostile last year, any lingering bitterness seemed absent from this week’s meeting.

The board passed Plan 3, as it is called, unanimously and with little discussion. The plan doesn’t make any major population shifts from the former map. Some highlights: The Lime Saddle area was shifted into District 5 from District 1, and the area around the Bidwell Park deer pens on East Eighth Street was moved from District 4 into District 3.

Domestic care workers peeved over postponed contract negotiations
Dozens of green-shirted members of the United Domestic Workers Union waited several hours at Tuesday’s marathon Board of Supervisors’ meeting for a quiet protest that lasted only a few minutes.

They were there to protest the county’s repeated postponement of contract negotiations with the union’s bargaining team, which represents more than 2,200 in-home-care workers. The workers voted in June for union membership and have waited since then to begin negotiating a contract with the Board of Supervisors (in its role as a public authority). Union organizer Molly Hillis said that she’s written three letters demanding to begin negotiating (as required by law), but the county has informed her that it doesn’t want to begin until the state finally passes a budget—November at the earliest.

"That’s just unacceptable to us," Hillis said.