It should be clear to all that in the real world BellSouth and Cox have not restrained themselves to a respectful or truthful argument and that there is no reason to expect that to change. Give them the platform of a referendum, the platform that they have been angling for from day one and everyone in the real world knows that they would take advantage of their huge financial advantage and relative lack of legal restraint to do to Lafayette what the incumbents have done everywhere: flood the media, a significant part of which they own, with as sickening flow of misinformation. (BellSouth's proposed state law and Cox's campaign both focused largely on making a referendum happen.)
Their whole purpose would be to defeat LUS in such a way that a public infrastructure could never be built.
Don't be deceived. If the petitioners were to succeed the consequence would be that they would never get their declared aim: to build a public fiber optic system that conforms to their idea of an ideologically correct business plan.
What follows is a partial rebuttal of the points made. My points are inset in green.
To Lafayette City Parish Government and Citizens of Lafayette:
Who is Fiber411.com? We are citizens asking for the right to vote on the $125,000,000 bond issue proposed by LUS. Nothing more. We are not bad losers, poor sports, Bell South stooges or supporters of a Cox monopoly.
Fiber411.com is a small group of citizens that started with the belief that the present LUS Fiber to the Home Initiative is not the best plan for Lafayette. We are 100% for a fiber optic network in Lafayette. We are for LUS building the infrastructure that the will bring competition to Bell South and Cox. We do not support Bell South, COX or LUS domination of our market.
Prove it: refuse the help of those who do not share either your goals or your values. It is abundantly obvious that support from BellSouth and Cox is support with an intent to kill LUS project. Demand they open their systems. Don't allow BellSouth or Cox to spend money supporting you. Denounce any use of paid time by "volunteers."We are for an open network that will allow the owners of LUS (the citizens) access to the all of the competitive service providers throughout the world. We oppose LUS and/or the City Parish Government being both the competitor and the regulators in the retail market for telephone, Internet and cable TV.
You claim to be for LUS being the builder and owner of the network but want open competition in the retail market. There are two ways to that goal. You can try and wreck the ongoing process in hopes of starting it over --blithely ignoring the reality of incumbent power-- or you can say plainly to LUS what you think would be better, prove yourself worth by working hard to get the network in place, and mount a fight for a more open system when outsiders aren't a factor and the very existence of the network isn't at risk. A petition at that point could make good sense. If Cox or your ally BellSouth gets the fiber network because of your tantrum your dream will never have any possibility of being realized. Focus on the reality of the situation! If this is indeed what you want then accepting help from the incumbents is allowing them to use you to their ends.We believe that the present LUS Fiber to the Home Initiative is a bad business plan that requires the citizens of Lafayette to take unnecessary risk
Actually it is you who wants LUS to take the bigger risk. A rental plan where the owner shares the revenue with the service provider 1) makes the owner reliant on the competence of others, 2) will always be a weaker business plan because it means sharing the income that could be yours with folks that don't have your gumption and haven't taken the risk to build the infrastructure required. This is precisely why BellSouth and Cox will continue to pursue their strong business plan of gathering all the profit for their owners. Why should LUS tie one hand behind them when the other guy is punching away?and in the end will result in higher utility rates, increased taxes and limited consumer choice to new technology.
This is merely ideological. You believe it to be true only because of an unreasoning hostility towards government. In the real world what has happened is that LUS following exactly this path has resulted in generally lower utility rates than private regional competitors. It also meant lower taxes since "fees for service " substitute for otherwise necessary city tax income. And we see no evidence that LUS who has continually rebuilt the electricity plant has shown poor judgment in the new technologies it chose in those realms. LUS has arguably outperformed and inarguably at least equaled the performance of its private competitors in each of these realms. To look at history and see anything else is to be blinded by ideology.But all of that is a debate for another day in a public forum, which allows facts, ideas and opinions to be presented to the public for their consideration.
No, it is not a "debate for another day." Arguing the actual issues instead of giving in to the pretense that stopping the plan is not your real purpose is what we should be doing. You don't want to have a vote because you'd like to "think" about it some more. No, honestly now, you want a vote because you've already thought about it and intend to stop the plan. You believe it unwise. This mealy-mouth nonsense doesn't play well and it makes it look like you are willing to say stuff like this just to avoid dealing with the fact that if the people were to actually vote on the issue right now you'd lose and damn few people would sign your petition. But you apparently hope that with a little initial finessing of the truth about your final aim and the subsequent dollars of outsiders in a referendum you can turn that around. Should this ever come to a vote the issue the incumbents make of it will have nothing to do with "open systems" and everything to do with trying to make people believe it is just too scary for anyone but big brother from Atlanta to do. And that the children of Lafayette should be grateful to wait their turn. That is exactly the tack they took in the first months and there is no reason to think they won't again. Did you miss all that?All Fiber411.com is asking for is the right of the citizens to vote on the present LUS plan.
(See above.)We attended the city council meeting and were only given 3 minutes
This is an outrageous lie. Sorry. But it is. Neal, Bill, talk to this guy. Tell him not to say things that anyone who was there knows is as far from the truth as is conceivable. For the record: Neal and Bill both talked for a very long time; multiple times. And were treated with complete respect by the council. They'll both confirm that. They just didn't convince the council. It isn't that they didn't make the argument but that they lost it that galls.to compete with the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by LUS to sell this plan to its citizens and the city council. At these meetings we asked the city council for the right to vote and they refused. If you are one of the council members that told us that you voted for the LUS plan because you had not heard objections from your constituents, we are objecting now.
To this end, we are circulating a petition, which asks the city council to give the citizens of Lafayette the right to express their opinion by referendum. We are getting great response from both those who are in favor of the LUS plan and those who are opposed to the LUS plan. The most often quoted phrase is "Well of course the citizens should have the right to vote".
Ahem, remember Evelyn?The statute the government is trying to use,
Hey, wait, "the government" isn't trying to use anything. YOU are trying to use a law that you were warned was not appropriate. (I know this for a fact. I did some of the warning. Ask Bill. Or read the blog.) Your research was bad. That is not the fault of the city-parish. It is your fault. (In my judgment this isn't the first poor research; it's just the first you've had to really deal with.)would require us "to submit the proposal to the Council which shall specify within 30 days the form of petition for circulation". It would then require that the petitioners gather 18,978 signatures on or before January 24, 2005. In the last election only 42,000 people in Lafayette Parish voted. If that is this government's idea of "government by the people, for the people and of the people", then we have much bigger problem than LUS fiber initiative and we can all agree that the city government has defeated the right of the citizens to vote.
Really now, be fair. the rules were in place long before this issue arose. You are losing and want to change the rules in the middle of the game. That's not how it works. You play the game out. Then, if you still think it unfair, you fix the game. This part does sound like someone is being a poor sport. Of course you don't mention the real figure you'd have to meet: you'd have to get 15% of the voters. That is all. If the town was angry and ready to overturn the decisions of people they voted in to do just this sort of work getting 15% would be no problem. But, I suspect, you know that speaking plainly would make it visible that you represent a very a small minority whose only hope is to get the big boys in from out of town to scare us all into submission. You may think that harsh. It is; I admit. But in the real world that sort of campaign will be the inevitable result of any election that allows Cox and BellSouth to pour money into defeating LUS. And defeating LUS today will only result in either Cox or BellSouth extending their current monopoly networks. And foreclosing an open system forever.The city council has the power to call for a vote of the people. We are asking our government: "Do you think we should have the right to vote" and we ask our government to respond. Quoting the statutes you have selected,
I interrupt for a reality check. The city has not, cannot "select" any statue. They have merely pointed out which are the controling parts of the code. YOU chose the wrong one because it called for numbers so small that you might actually succeed. The city did nothing to you. You let a little wishful thinking carry you away and are now lashing out at the city for your mistake. Get over it.
which make it virtually impossible for citizens to file a petition for referendum with its government, is not an answer. It's up to you. It's either yes or no.
Again 15% isn't an impossible number if it were more than a very small minority that wanted to stop this project. If the people were up in arms it would be easy. They are not. Referenda shouldn't be easy. We have a representative government. We elect people to do this work. When we don't like what they do we fire them.To our government we suggest that you trust your citizens. To our fellow citizens we suggest that you trust your instincts.