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"Negatory," barked the veteran commissioner, though he hinted that he wasn't exactly happy to discover he has been living without. "Carollo came by to check and see if anyone in my office is going to be embarrassed by turning to the Playboy Channel. I said, 'Embarrassed? Hell, I was shortchanged!' All I ever watch is CNN news. Well, that and the city channel when the commission meets."
Plummer has good reason to feel left out of the action. Government officials indulging in the sexual candy available to them is nothing new, according to Assistant City Manager Ron Williams. "I know we had a little trouble with the 900 and 976 phone craze," he recalled. "I was in charge of the city phones. I had to rapidly get those numbers blocked." Williams chuckled when told that Playboy TV was available in a city commissioner's office. "People never learn, do they?"
Carollo inherited his office, and the cable channels on the television, from his nemesis, Victor De Yurre. "I didn't even know I had it," says De Yurre, who was ousted by Carollo this past November after eight years on the city commission. "I knew we had cable TV, but what was on was not my concern. When I was there, I was meeting with people and taking care of city commission business. It was not like I had idle time in the office to sit around and watch television."
The controversy was lost on Jim Nagle, Los Angeles-based director of public relations for Playboy Enterprises. "Unless people are neglecting their duties by watching Playboy TV, we don't see a reason why this is an issue," he contended. "We believe Playboy TV is as compatible with city government as HBO, the Disney Channel, and Comedy Central."
Carollo canceled those channels, too. He had TCI's Anthony Pope eliminate all the premium channels his office was receiving. And now he's trying to ban premium channels on every television at city hall. "I think my not accepting Playboy TV in this office tells you a lot about the difference between Mr. De Yurre and myself and our styles of government," Carollo huffed. "Then again, De Yurre was quoted as saying that there has to be an upside to being a city commissioner. Maybe this is how he got his upside.