Saturday, November 27, 2004

A Retrospective Sense of Deja Vu

In one of those deja vu moments I was cleaning up my virtual desktop and ran across a fragmant of text I had pulled off the internet and never done anything with. Googling back to the original source I found that it came from a post called Provo Moves Ahead with iProvo Project of the blog "Utah Politics."

The entry, except for the fact that the author (Phil Windley) was talking about Provo, Utah sounded very familiar to someone who had attended the vote here.

Some points of similarity: the post explains that bonding will cheaper, much cheaper because it is "backdropped" by the monies from the electrical utility and not solely guaranteed by revenue, it notes that most people attending were in favor of the proposal (and the incumbents were not), the Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Iowa contrast was used to illustrate that cities with a fiber network do better than those without, that there would be later votes on issuing bonds, and the final vote took place at almost 11:00 and there was but one dissenting vote. Oh yeah, and Mayor Billings gave an impassioned speech in favor of the proposal. —That happened here too.

The original part of the post that attracted my attention is worth reproducing in full. History has a way of repeating itself:
"Jane Carlyle, a former member of the Provo City Council and a current member of the Energy Board spoke about the parallels between the formation of a municipal power utility in Provo and the iProvo project. She said that the municipal power utility was formed in 1936 and cited the following parallels:

* The City Council set up independent committee
* The study took 3.5 years to get from first idea to vote
* Polls showed 70% of citizens would support a public utility
* An ad campaign ran against the program by powerful outside interests
* Many people thought there'd be tax increases and there was not
* Outside interests used delay tactics after the vote

Jane called the municipal power project a study of great achievement in the face of uncertain risk and great odds. She concluded that moving forward with iProvo was 'not a weighty decision.' The hallmark of public power is that it is locally owned and locally controlled. Public broadband would share this legacy. 'Remember that the main concern is Main Street not Wall Street.'

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