Chula Vista Mayor's Dispute With Cox Heats Up
Cox Communications To End Free Internet Service To City Of Chula Vista In 2011
Last Updated: 1145 days ago
Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said the city would no longer receive free Internet services from Cox Communications next year after she claimed the cable company is undermining the city's efforts to pass Proposition H.On Monday Mayor Cheryl Cox told 10News, "[Cox] notified our staff that they were ceasing delivering those services as of the end of the year."Cox said the cable company notified the city last week that they would end free services beginning Jan. 1, 2011. However, Mayor Cox said she's suspicious about the timing.She said Cox Communications notified the city that the company was suspending the free service on the same day she did an on-camera interview with 10News about Proposition H.Proposition H is a tax measure that would update and extend a "Utility Users Tax" on phone calls and telecommunications services.Opponents of the measure argued that the proposition is another tax hike. Supporters said residents have been paying the tax since 1970 and that it's only an increase because the 5 percent of the city's population that does not pay the tax now will begin paying it if the measure passes. Supporters also argue Chula Vista needs the estimated $6 million in revenue the tax brings in every year.Cox Communications produced and is currently airing a campaign ad about Proposition H, which a spokesman said gives information about the measure but does not support either side. However, the ad only mentions opponents to the proposition and does not mention supporters. The ad also concludes with the tagline "Proposition H: It's not what it seems."An expenditure report obtained by 10News shows Cox Communications spent more than $2,400 on the Proposition H ad and additional literature. The report also lists the money going towards Proposition H opposition. The spokesman said they wanted to choose "neutral" but had to chose between "support" and "opposed" on the filing.Mayor Cox told also 10News last Wednesday the cable company wasn't acting like a good corporate or community partner."It's curious that their announcement comes at a time when which I had called them out," she said on Monday.Chula Vista has 1,012 computers with internet service which are used at City Hall, city facilities and public libraries. The police also use a secure Internet connection to communicate with the Department of Justice and other law enforcement.Under its franchise agreement with Cox Communications, the city of Chula Vista has received the Internet service for free since 1999. It was supposed to have that free service through 2019. City officials estimated it will cost $30,000 per year to pay for the service across the city, which the cash-strapped city does not have.The city is in the midst of cutting at least $12 million from next year's budget.