You know there is a reasonable limit to how long you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. These guys no longer answer questions of substance. They won't talk about where their convoluted legal reasoning comes from. They won't say why they end petition drives short of the number they need just when BellSouth needs cover. They slide from one rationale to another for opposing LUS. Whatever plays well with the audience seems to be the rule. At one time they thought LUS was too incompetent to compete. When that was shown to be just too silly, they changed rationales. It's hard to keep track. Is it wireless this week? Is it that the fiber their allies are beggaring themselves to install is "obsolete?" Do they want "open systems" and competition over fiber networks? If so, why are they, at the same moment they are loudly proclaiming the ideal, asking for monetary support and accepting the help of BellSouth, who will never, ever, open their network? Do they hate "coercion" but not recognize it when their ally puts their employees on the streets with petitions issued along with the morning work orders? Do they hate BellSouth and Cox as much as anyone--something two of them have said to me personally and I've heard the third say in public--or are they supporting their lawsuit?
It's embarrassing to watch. You would think it would be a humiliating way to act.
I suggest ceasing to listen to what these three guys say and only watch what they do. Turn off the sound at their next press conference. Find out one thing: is this what BellSouth would most desire at this moment? The answer is always "yes." Is a referendum just what BellSouth and Cox have wanted since they failed to outlaw competition in the legislature? Yes. Are they willing to give up early on their petition so as slide it in on a timetable that best meshes with BellSouth's lawsuit? Yes. Do they cheerfully support the corporation's lawsuit against the city-parish? Yes.
Have they been honest with us? NO.
People have been very tolerant with these guys, saying "It's their right" and backing off more explicit criticism of their consistency and character.
Let me get off that horse. There is abundant evidence that these guys have decided that they know better what the people "should" want than either the people or the people's elected representatives. No one elected them to be wiser or holier than the rest of us. Joining huge outside corporations in suing the city is not an act which we should feel obliged to write off to some sort of misguided idealism. Suggesting that a referendum in Lafayette would be anything less than a methodical mugging by corporate outsiders is dishonest. And I believe they know that. They seek to have Lafayette beaten bloody because Lafayette is not doing what they want her to do. Idealism is no longer a reasonable interpretation. They do the work of the corporations at every turn. Action speaks louder than words.
It's not what they say. It is what they do.
If they'd like to consider themselves honorable, I have a way that they can prove it to the community. It is what honorable men who hold the values they claim to hold would do without anyone asking. Until they start doing so, there is no reason to think they know what would be honorable.
1) Refuse to accept the help of those whose ideals you claim not to share. Do your own work with the help of friends and neighbors.I, for one, am out of patience.
2) Cease supporting those who you claim not to support. (Or honestly and openly state your support for the corporations and articulate the values that cause you to value their interests over the community's.)
3) Demand the same thing from the corporations that you do of the city-parish. Demand they open their systems, and that they abide by a vote. Be as vocal about that as you are about the city-parish doing so. Start a petition in support of a law to obligate them to do so that you run parallel to any petition demanding the city-parish do so.
4) Demand that the corporations spend not one red dime more than the city. If a fair discussion is actually what you want rather than a mugging, this should be easy. (And the city has a ways to go just to catch up.)
5) Quit hiding behind "we only want a vote" nonsense and own up to what everyone in town who has been watching knows have always your true motives: to defeat the LUS plan. Tell people you talk to the truth about about your motives instead of hiding them.
6) Quit refusing to talk about the real issue of the fiber plan itself; engage in an honest debate about the real topic rather than hiding behind Cox's tired battle cry of "Let the People Vote." The idea that real debate is for a later time is a cover-up for not wanting to engage in that debate without the unfair advantage of the dollars of the corporations at your back. Fight with your own resources.
7) Quit playing publicity games with petitions. Get some independent, knowledgeable legal advice; then either follow the best advice of real experts and find out how to run a real petition drive, or find some other way to publicize your position.
8) If you sue people, do it yourself.