Two former members of the Alexandria City Council yesterday appealed to their successors to reconsider the council's controversial award of a cable television francise and to seek a state inquiry into the award.
Former vice mayor Nora O. Lamborne and former council member Beverly Beidler made the recommendations in an open letter, released yesterday. They urged the council, which took office July 2, to ask the state attorney general's office to investigate whether the city had violated "state bidding regulations" in granting the franchise.
Although the previous council voted to award the franchise on July 29, two days before its term expired, the new council still must vote on a contract to implement the award. That vote is scheduled for later this month.
The lame-duck council awarded the franchise to Alexandria Cablevision Co., a decision that Lamborne had favored. Beidler supported an award to Alexandria Telecommunications Corp., which lost the franchise after a bitter contest.
The previous City Council was put under such pressure to approve documents and make decisions without adequate time that we cannot feel confident that the approved system meets our goals and objectives," Lamborne and Biedler wrote.
"Even the franchise is now charging that the process was 'seriously flawed'," the letter stated, noting an Alexandria cablevision complaint over the handling of the award.
Mayor Charles Beatley said yesterday the new council does not have enough information to base a reconsideration on. If it [the needed information] develops I'll certainly ask for one," he said.
Charles Henry Smith, chairman of Alexandria Cablevision, yesterday said he was "upset" with the letter. "We are negotiating in good faith with the city," he said.
Smith said that the letter criticizing city employes who had handled its cable proposal, "represented bad judgment on our part. People have told me since then we should take the award and be glad," he said.