At 11:07 on November the 16th Lafayette entered a new era. The first vote enabling LUS to move forward with a fiber to the home system passed with but one dissenting vote.
Ok, maybe 11:07 wasn't the exact moment when that happened. Maybe there was a long series of obscure votes on various resolutions and ordinances by confusingly constituted bodies that voted twice on all the crucial stuff just to make sure that all the bases were covered. Maybe that is what really happened. But I like the symbolism involved with the 11:07 time. Lucky numbers, you know.
The night stretched on, and on, and on. We saw all the presentations we saw last Tuesday again. Apparently Act 736 requires it. Then we saw some of the same people asking the same (or ones that were indistinguishable from the same) questions we heard last week. And we saw a repetition of opponents getting up and praising LUS and praising fiber but not like the idea of putting the two together. Some things did change a little: last time only one incumbent came; this time no incumbent bothered to register an objection. We got a few opponents saying out loud what I inferred last week: that what they really feared was LUS' success. If LUS was successful they feared that the competition would run Cox and BellSouth out of town; or, unaccountably they feared that such success would just be, somehow, wrong. That the opponents were reduced to praise of LUS and fear of its success is an amazing indication of just how weak the opposition has become. The opposition has ended not with the fireworks I would have once expected but with a whimper.
The biggest change from last Tuesday was the almost unanimous support from the community: A large crowd waited into the night, five and a half hours, to watch the historic proceedings and a fair number—25 by one count—were there to speak before the council. They were, mostly, impassioned and were, mostly, whole-heartedly for the fiber initiative. The few who spoke in opposition remarked on just how rare they were. At least one came to the podium clearly having intended to blast the project but admitted to having learned things that gave him pause during the hours he waited to speak.
The surprise of the night was the reappearance of Mayor Billings from Provo who flew in this afternoon, came to the council meeting, complimented our food, passionately plead our cause, was called to the podium repeatedly to answer questions from the council members, and sat through the whole thing. He saddles up and flies out again early in the morning. He had to miss that good Louisiana dinner he had more than earned. The man deserves a medal. I hope someone will at least serve him breakfast.
But the council vote made the whole thing worthwhile. Delicious. It really does usher in a new age.
Now we just have to decide what we want that age to be.