Anatomy of a Hustle: Cable Comes to South Central L.A.

Anatomy of a Hustle: Cable Comes to South Central L.A.

by Clinton Galloway
Anatomy of a Hustle: Cable Comes to South Central L.A.

Anatomy of a Hustle: Cable Comes to South Central L.A.

by Clinton Galloway



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The Bradley Effect, indeed.

My brother was so passionate when he came to speak with me about cable television, I could hardly say no. It was 1979 and the two of us had had a big-screen TV store for some time. It was doing well based in part on the increased demand brought about by the cable television already available in many parts of Los Angeles.

Carl, a doctor, was worked up about the possibility of putting together a group to construct one of the remaining cable television franchises, the one that would serve South Central. As an accountant I knew after I looked at the numbers that we could expect to make a nice sum of money on the venture. But we were motivated by much more than that.

We would be the only black-owned cable franchise in the country, serving the largest black population living in one franchise area. The chance to make a difference in this community would be enormous.

At that time, cable wasn’t a monolithic goliath that served its customers uniformly. Instead, it was community-based and, in the proper hands, could affect real change. Carl and I spent hours upon hours dreaming of the programming we would produce. We knew we could turn around decades of ruin that made South Central the scourge it had become. Think of the possibilities of tens of thousands of people finally getting the education that could lift them out of poverty and the endless cycle of violence that plagued the area.

Today, thirty years later, I still get goose bumps.

With our financing in place and having educated ourselves on the emerging business of cable television, we applied to the city for the rights to the South Central cable franchise.

Thus began the worst period in our lives.

We had no idea that the country’s most famous black politician, our own mayor, Tom Bradley, would be the largest impediment to our goals. By trying to force us to sign our business away to his friends and benefactors, Mayor Bradley set in motion a drama that would take us all the way to the Supreme Court. Our story includes the worst of political strong-arming, as he and his acolytes jammed ignorant, ill-equipped companies through the franchise process ahead of our own. Mayor Bradley was insuring his cronies would profit from South Central cable as the people of South Central would continue to suffer from a lack of education, justice, and proper representation in City Hall.

We refused to roll over. We refused to take their money to walk away. We refused to give up on South Central. If you had asked Carl and me – two regular guys from New York – that we may one day stand in front of Justice Thurgood Marshall to fight for our civil rights, we would have laughed and laughed.

My brother passed on a few years ago, but not before I promised him that I would tell our story: how the City of Los Angeles took away our rights and how Mayor Tom Bradley turned his back on his own constituents so his friends could make a buck.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015584202
Publisher: Phoenix Publishing
Publication date: 09/14/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 332
File size: 268 KB

About the Author

Growing up, Clinton Galloway and his family always felt it part of their responsibility to help the less fortunate in their community. After getting his CPA license, he moved from a large international accounting firm to Los Angeles for work at a Beverly Hills investment bank in the late 1970s.

Seeing the violence, poverty, and lack of education that were prevalent in South Central Los Angeles made Clinton and his brother, Carl, realize that they should try to make a difference for the area’s residents.

Cable television could be that difference. Cable would create jobs in L.A.’s poorest community and – with the right programming – could create better futures for its challenged residents. Clinton and Carl would devote their lives to making things better.

After more than a decade of work, a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, and several small victories along the way, Clinton and his brother were unsuccessful. To make matters worse, in 1993, the U.S. Congress passed a law stating that regardless of the civil rights violations that had occurred during the cable television franchising - yes, there were many - there would be no damages allowed against any city in the United States. This new law virtually terminated Clinton and Carl’s case and ended their cable TV journey. Corporations had shown their immense power over our government.

It was then that Clinton first considered writing a book chronicling their journey, but years of health issues in the family followed. The book was put on the back burner.

Eventually, in Carl’s final days (he died from leukemia in 2008), he convinced Clinton to move ahead with the book. At his brother’s urging, Clinton shares their story in Anatomy of a Hustle: Cable Comes to South Central L.A. (Oct 2012).

“I had to tell our story. The treatment by the officials at city hall was no different than being robbed by thugs on the street.” says Clinton. “And what’s worse: it hasn’t changed. The book confirms the public's suspicion that elected government officials are looking out for their own best interests and not those of the citizens. This corruption is especially significant in an election year.”
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