OFF LIMITS

Don't let the fax get in the way: Ears must still be ringing in the office of Lynn Graves, US West Communications staff manager in Denver. Last month Graves's office sent a memo to phone company area managers in Colorado and Wyoming that noted the following:

"The traditional summer service order load is beginning and the 1994 construction season is in full swing. Instead of getting ahead of our 1994 budget shortfalls in the winter and spring we generated a substantial budget overrun that will require much of our recent budget forgiveness. The challenge is to immediately turn around the over-spending and begin service rationing...I am not suggesting that we violate FCC or tariff requirements but we should notify Public Affairs that they must prepare the PUOs for some differentiation of serve levels between service areas.

"Metro--High Standards
"Urban--Moderate depending on the product and competition
"Rural--The best possible with the resources available but trending toward minimum standards."

When word of the May 2 memo leaked out via the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming's mostly rural population was "trending" toward outrage--particularly since US West was in the midst of hearings on its proposed $17.7 million rate hike before the Wyoming Public Service Commission.

Damage control came fast, via a missive from US West network services vice president D.F. "Duffy" Swan: "A memo is in circulation within our organization that I believe dramatically misrepresents both the principles of our company's commitment to service, as well as our objective of improving service quality--particularly in rural areas--through reengineering...In fact, our rural customers will receive the same, higher quality, reengineered service as urban customers."

Oh, no! Not that!

Are you being served? Although Channel 9 is fighting hard against the city's subpoena of its unedited videotapes from Paula Woodward's "Keep on Truckin'" series, Channel 7 had no such concerns when the Denver District Attorney's office asked for the outtakes of KMGH's interview with Delores Mercado, Steve Harrington's apparently unconvincing alibi for the night of Tom Hollar's murder. In fact, reporter Jane Hampden even took the stand during the three-week trial.

Don't look for Woodward to take the stand soon. Denver Manager of Public Works Mike Musgrave (who issued the subpoenas through a loophole drilled in the Denver City Charter after Woodward's first public-works expose back in 1989) is set to face off against KUSA at a June 16 hearing in Judge Ray Satter's courtroom in Denver County Court. So far, though, the city hasn't managed to serve Woodward with her personal subpoena.

Also among the missing: In all the hullabaloo over Dan Caplis's recent Channel 4 reports concerning the city's failure to tell bond buyers of BAE's delays at the new airport, there's one glaring absence. And that's Mike Fierberg, who's done most of KCNC's reporting on the airport (and earned Mayor Wellington Webb's seal of approval for his work in the process). Coincidence or conspiracy? Actually, summer vacation.

 
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