Cable Companies and Street Lights

by on November 7, 2018 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

The Old Broad

My Cable Company

I wonder if I will get as much flack over this column as I have with all the other ones I have written in the past two months. I have yet to talk to anyone that recommends their cable system, so I have a feeling that I may be treading well.  We’ll see.

My cable provider is “Cox”.  I have a bundle consisting of WiFi, Television and a Land Line.  Someone asked me the other day why I needed a Land Line and my answer was “that is the way I find my cell phone.”  Quite honestly I prefer talking on my land line.  The reception is clearer; it doesn’t hurt my hand holding the receiver the way the cell phone does, and I can put it on my shoulder comfortably and still have the use of both hands.  The cost is reasonable – $20.82 – at least compared to my cell phone.

But I am having some trouble with my landline since Cox went digital.

When I was in Las Vegas I called my house to pick up any calls that might have come in while I was gone.  Imagine my surprise when I got a recording saying “this party does not accept calls from numbers with caller ID blocked.” Really? When did that happen? When did it happen that I could not call myself.  So…I called again and got a recording telling me that “ the number you are calling has been disconnected or discontinued.”  What the hell? First I couldn’t call myself without dialing *82, and now they are telling me that my number is discontinued?

Then I thought back to when my friend Mary and my daughter Michele had called me and told me that a very strange sounding man had answered my phone that said that “your friend is not accepting calls at this time.”  The bizarre thing was that “he” called Mary back and asked her who she was and what she wanted.

Michele only told me that he told her I wasn’t accepting any calls. And the strange thing was that I was home when both of these calls came through.  But it never rang at my house.

Before I had left I had arranged for the “new RoboKiller” offered by Cox.  The other companies had offered it for some time and even Verizon had offered it on my cell phone.  I thought that maybe the trouble was this new system, because I had signed up for it on Verizon without any trouble, so thought it would be the same with Cox.  I should have realized that NOTHING is the same at Cox.

I disconnected the RoboKiller while in Las Vegas, and today I needed to call and leave a message for my students, only to find out, again, that I was “not receiving calls from unlisted phone number”.  And, when I called back two hours later, I was told the number was discontinued, again.

When I got home I called Cox and spoke to a nice young lady that said she would look into it and call me back. I am still waiting for the callback.

I wish I could say I am only having trouble with the land-line, but I am concerned about the WiFi.  I am paying $76.99, up from $59.99 so that I can have a faster speed.  Faster than what?  The snail that is attacking my orange tree?  Faster than the termites that are swarming over my swimming pool.  I am still waiting minutes before I am connected to other internet places – that is when I am connected at all. I can’t tell you how many times I just close off the computer because I can’t make my connections.  And when I call Cox, and reset my modem – my speed does not increase.  I am frequently told that there is work being done in the neighborhood and it will be fixed shortly.  “When?” I ask.  “We do not know for sure, but it will be fixed.” I’m still waiting for that “fixing.”

And let’s talk about the television.

What a joke that has become.  I was paying $85.93 for cable television. That did not include any of the pay channels.  I am not a television watcher. I DO watch the news, particularly MSNBC, and some of the local channels.  I used to watch the Chargers on ESPN, but I have no desire to watch them anymore.  I don’t watch the cooking channels; I don’t watch QVS; I don’t watch movies, etc.  I really do not need to have all those channels. So…I went to the “basic channels”  – the local channels, a dozen foreign language channels, PBS, etc.  The cost went down to $69.42, BUT I could only receive those channels that I didn’t ever watch.  During this tumultuous time in our society, I was getting a biased opinion from KUSI; a negative opinion from Fox News, and a “so-so” opinion from KNBC.

I decided I had better go back to a better system that included MSNBC and/or CNN.  So now I am paying $72.92 to watch a few channels.  I don’t want the foreign language channels; I don’t want the shopping channels; I don’t want the cooking channels, yet I have no say in  what I can purchase and what I can’t purchase. Why can’t a price be put on the channels, like HBO, and let the buyer only purchase what they want to watch. I guarantee they will still be making money.

And a word about reception:  Usually it works, but there have been times recently when it flutters and sputters; there have been times when it is dark; There have been times when there is nothing at all. I will be watching the news and suddenly it goes dead. Black.

When I call Cox I usually get a message telling me that there is an “outage in your neighborhood” and they expect to have it fixed. Sometime.

I have spent hours talking to their technicians.  Sometimes they are so perplexed at what is wrong that they have to switch me to “Tier 2 personnel.”  What is even worse is when “Tier 2” people don’t know what is wrong and they switch me to “Tier 3”.  And you know what happens when talking to “Tier 3” personnel?  They usually are the ones that make an appointment for the service man to come out and check my systems.  And when they come out they SOMETIME can fix the problem, but more often than not need to call someone else to come out and look at the problem.

Why don’t I change to AT&T, you ask.  Two of my neighbors have AT&T and they have the same problems that I have.  And they are paying the same, if not higher, amount for their monthly bill than I am.  The AT&T trucks are in the neighborhood as often as COX is.  Yesterday I took a picture of the COX truck parked in front of the AT&T truck, with the cones out in front of both vehicles.

Why  can’t we get a cable company that works? Why do we have to pay such an exorbitant amount for a system that malfunctions at least once a month?

I purchased the “Skywire” Antenna after seeing it advertised as a way of by-passing my cable company. My son-in-law, a computer expert, installed it for me.  And it worked worse than COX.  I could not get local channels; I couldn’t get a clear image on the screen, and it had wires sticking out of the wall because that is how it is connected. When I went to return it they refused to refund my money because the antenna was not “malfunctioning.”  They told me that if it was broken or unusable they would refund the money. Do you know how tempted I was to just break it?  I notified my credit card company, and also wrote a YELP review.  Strangely enough, 4 months later I did receive a refund with no explanation.  I gladly accepted the refund.

I am certainly open to suggestions, as long as it isn’t for AT&T.  I would imagine that any others having the same problem as I am having would also welcome suggestions.  So…do you have any that would improve the cable situation?  It would be appreciated.

Street Lights

Now that the election is over and we can forget about Proposition 6 and the streets and highways, let’s talk about the city crews for a moment.

On October 28, I reported that the street lights in our neighborhood were out.  They had been out for at least a week before I reported it. I was concerned that Halloween was coming and all the little gremlins would be walking the streets without the advantage of those lights, as dim as they may be.

Street Light

Report Number: 02432928
Report Details:
Report Date: 10/28/2018 7:39 PM
Report Number: 02432928
Service Notification Number: 040300078900
Current Status: In Process

Report Category: Street Light

Report Type: Lights
Address: 4683 Tivoli St
Description: Corner light not on. Corner Tivoli and Devonshire.
Images: 0 uploaded
Date Corrected:

Well guess what.  They are still not lit, and today is November 6th.  So what are the crews doing? Why haven’t we had street lights for over a week? When will they be working again?  And they aren’t just out on Tivoli and Devonshire. They are also out on Sunset Cliffs between Adair and Granger. Maybe even more because I have not driven down those streets recently.

Wonder what it will take to get them turned back on? An accident? Someone hit by a car because they couldn’t be seen crossing the street?  Honestly, the services we are being leave a lot to be desired.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ November 7, 2018 at 12:16 pm

I have a few suggestions for you.

First, you can look into cord cutting, meaning stopping cable TV and instead using some combination of Roku or other smart TV box and Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime streaming, and Netflix. The premium versions of all of them are still cheaper than cable TV, and most people make do with just 1 or 2 of them.

For telephone, if you like your analog connection better, you can get a POTS telephone line still with only local service from ATT for about $23 a month. POTS means Plain Old Telephone Service, as in a regular landline on a copper wire, not a digital service on ATT DSL or Cox Cable. The phone companies hate this and want everyone to go digital, but you have a right to get the old landline.

Regarding call quality, these days cell phone to cell phone calls are often much better than landlines ever were. When I call a coworker’s cell phone with my cell I am struck how much more natural the sound is, especially the bass tones, of their voices.

If you really just use your landline to call your lost cell phone, there are now websites that do this for you free. Apple’s iCloud “find my iphone” works really well. I forgot mine at a store once, and it showed me exactly where it was on a map.


judi curry November 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I really prefer my land line over my cell phone. I find the reception is better, clearer, and was only teasing about using it to find my cell phone.

Can I still get MSNBC, CNN, etc. on either Roku or Hulu. I have You Tube but can’t get what I want when I want it. And Netflix still doesn’t give me the local programming that I want.

Interesting what you have said about POTS. When I called Cox to request going back to it over digital, they told me that digital was my only option. I will try again. Thank you.


ZZ November 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Regarding what channels you can get using wifi on your TV…. I don’t know, but probably most of the news channels are available. The main sacrifice cord cutters have is live sports. From what I hear, the cord cutting is a little work to set up, but most people don’t miss traditional cable that much, and the savings really ads up, $50 a month for 5 years = $3,000.

Cox is a cable company so doesn’t offer POTS. You’d have to call AT&T, which merged with SBC, which merged with Pacific Bell, which was the original owner of our local phone lines.

One nifty reason newer OB residents might want to do this is that is the only way they can get an old school OB 619-222-xxx or 619-223-xxxx phone number.

Here is the AT&T options for POTS landlines:

They also will discount it if you are low income, and the old copper line it uses has its own power feed so does not go down if your power or internet goes down.


judi curry November 8, 2018 at 7:33 am

Wouldn’t you know it. It is 7:30am on Thursday. I have not received an email on Cox since 1:27am. I called only to be greeted with the message that “some people in the area may be experiencing a temporary delay. We are aware of the problem and hope to have it fixed by 6:00am.” Well….it is an hour and a half later and it is the same recording. Retaliation to the article? Probably not, but so very typical of COX!


Jane Swanson November 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

Do you use the library? I received a message from Phil Gunderson, Integrated Library System Coordinator for San Diego Public Library that Cox is blocking library notifications from people with an email ending in This is not just inconvenient but disturbing that Cox can block my emails without notification or explanation. I called the Cox customer service number on my bill and the representative had never heard of this and doubted the veracity if the email. The library confirmed the veracity of the email. This is very disturbing to me


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