Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Get out of our way: Drop the suit

Dropping back into town from a very good Mardi Gras break, I came back to a welcome announcement of a formal request by the city-parish that BellSouth and Cox drop their lawsuit that attempts to delay or derail the LUS project.

You can get a look at both the press release and the formal letter of request online. From the press release comes the strong language that I am happily coming to expect.
The lawsuit and the petition drive are both tactics that have been used by the telecom companies in other communities. “It is clear that BellSouth has been the guiding force behind this petition drive since the beginning and now that it has failed they are using legal action to try to intimidate the citizens of our community,” said Huval. "It is a shame to learn that the corporate greed of these companies will stop at nothing to prevent our Fiber plan from succeeding."
"Now that the petition is dead, we believe that if BellSouth and Cox are good corporate citizens of Lafayette, they should withdraw this lawsuit,” said City Parish President Joey Durel.
Trouble is, as has been noted previously, BellSouth and Cox are not citizens of this community—the people who live and work here are citizens and companies like BellSouth and Cox are our corporate guests. And not very good guests at that.

I don't expect BellSouth and Cox to withdraw, since the point of this lawsuit was never to win--that always seemed like a long shot. The calculus that must be at work is that a couple of extra months of monopoly profits at maximum market penetration in a city the size of Lafayette makes even an expensive lawsuit seem like chump change.

It is all about the money for these guys.

I don't think that the city really believes it likely that BellSouth or Cox will be good citizens in this instance. Instead, this is an opportunity to point out to the people of the city that BellSouth and Cox are not good citizens and do not have the best interests of the actual citizens of Lafayette in mind. The point is well-taken.

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