The tag team of Joey Durel and Terry Huval fired back at BellSouth today. They were visibly distressed by what they regarded as a betrayal by BellSouth. Time and again during the formal presentation before the cameras and then later fielding questions from the reporters they let it be known that they had reached the conclusion that this time and on at least two separate previous occasions the city had talked with BellSouth in good faith only to have the corporation turn around and speak out of the other side of its mouth.
The most dramatic phrase of the evening was Terry Huval's cajun characterization of the problem with the incumbent: "it's an issue of la gourmandise-which means greed." Strong words. But it was apparent that our leaders have decided that strong words are justified.
The mayor issued a dramatic call for the citizens to "take a stand" and "let BellSouth know you are furious about this."
The city appears absolutely confident about the law and frustrated at the time and money that working through the lawsuit is likely to entail. They claimed that, had they not had to deal with BellSouth obstructionism in the legislature and the current lawsuit, that they would have been looking at begining construction in six months--and without the added costs the delay's have entailed. The lawsuit was seen as an attack on and "an affront to the people of Lafayette."
The new regime with the incumbents is that they'll talk to them--but they want any proposals in writing first, so that they know they aren't wasting their time.
The language used has moved dramatically toward frustrated remarks that BellSouth is an outsider, a large corporation from Atlanta, and that it "is not a citizen of this community --the people of Lafayette are citizens of this community." In discussion with the reporters Durel referred to "monopolistic practices" and Huval remarked that the point of battles like this was to make places like Lafayette an example and to "squish cities like Lafayette" like "ants."
It wasn't repeated tonight but the message was clear:
"Get out of our way, because we are not goint to stand down on this!"