U-T circulation plunging

The U-T is better by far than ATT, an organization that, if there were a god, would be swept away in a great flood. Since November when my DSL modem conked out, I thought I'd switch to faster much-advertised ATT U-Verse, minus all the TV stuff. Just a land line and faster internet was what I wanted. Install U-Verse? It's impossible. Call the main phone number to complain? Get caught in an automated labyrinth, wait forever and then get "Asia" or "an official representative of ATT in the Philippines" after about 25-45-65 minutes. Sometimes you are disconnected and get to start over from scratch. When there is connection, there is deafening background noise as ATT "agents" apparently work from cell phones on the teeming sidewalks of Manila. Foul-up is ATT's default mode. Cancel U-Verse and give me back my old DSL and local-only phone service? Incompetent techs come repeatedly to the house to remove their handiwork. Phones die, internet dies, sometimes there's sporadic operation, but many days and nights are spent like "Little House on the Prairie." Total system breakdown on Christmas Eve. Tech on vacation. Go-to boss never calls back. No technician to fix systems and no mechanism to stop daily robo calls promising help "tomorrow." No way to stop robo harassment, apparently, short of perfecting the installation. Well into this new year of 2016, after another long hold-with-muzak, an angel from New Orleans registers my service on the phone, walking me through on-line forms I'd never seen or heard about, taking time to help a sputtering customer. To conclude: since then I have received numerous ATT bills, each amount-due different from every other, along with threats to shut down my "service" toute suite with penalties accruing until restoration. So today I spent another hour and a half on the phone, until a Filipino agent/saint set the account to rights, forgave sums that were not mine to pay, ascertained that I was not harboring any ATT "equipment," and allowed me to pay what I owed by VISA card. I asked if now I could throw away the half-inch ATT file I'd accumulated, and the representative said, "Better keep it for the record."
— January 22, 2016 9:04 p.m.

U-T circulation plunging

When the sole metropolitan daily newspaper of a major city is on the skids, there are serious negative civic repercussions, even if the Reader keeps hitting its marks and other journals sporadically publish "stories." Our GOP Mayor Faulconer, who replaced shooting-star Bob Filner, is a sunny public relations mouthpiece and is running for re-election UNOPPOSED in this big city, even with majority Democrat registration. City Council has been rendered powerless by Strong Mayor provisions and internal defections within its Democratic majority. Two of five sitting School Board representatives were elected UNOPPOSED and a third member, warmly praised by her colleagues while under investigation for wrongdoing by the District Attorney's office, also may run for re-election UNOPPOSED. The novice Superintendent of Schools overtly plans to end racial and socioeconomic integration (busing and magnet schools) and has unilaterally announced that 135,000 kids will start school in August 2016 (rather than after Labor Day) even though a majority of families polled last year (after school ended) opposed such a radical change. Not a word of dissent from any quarter. We don't all buy the U-T anymore so its resources are shrinking daily. Thus we don't hear regularly or repeatedly about what's happening in our community -- what needs attention, what needs interpretation, what's unacceptable, what needs to change and improve. We don't share a common source of reliable information anymore and we are losing touch with each other, losing interest in our present and losing control of our future.
— January 21, 2016 10:25 p.m.

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