Sunday, February 20, 2005

Standing up! — The Advertiser endorses fiber

Red Letter Day -- the Advertiser says:
City should move forward on fiber- to-the-home plan

The endorsement:
Today we begin a series of commentaries on the proposed expansion of the Lafayette Utility System into the telecommunications field. We have withheld comment until now - waiting to acquire and carefully study all the information necessary for an informed opinion. We believe we are at that point.

Our conclusion is that Lafayette should go forward with the plan.
Snips from the endorsement:
What really is at stake is the competitive position of a small community in a global economy....Becoming a leader in telecommunications will position Lafayette for powerful economic progress. The LUS plan can make us a leader....Elected city-parish officials are trying, through this plan, to make good on promises to bring growth and prosperity to our community.

Why are they waging this negative battle?...Because they can...They wield enormous political clout and have very deep pockets. They are concerned about loss of customers in Lafayette, but beyond that they are fearful of the message that a victory for LUS would send across the nation

This is wonderful. A powerful endorsement. Even better—and even more praiseworthy, should that be possible—is that they will be following their endorsement with a series of analyses addressing the issue. That's the way it ought to be done and I am mightily impressed.

TOMORROW: There are numerous situations in which government does -- and should -- compete in the marketplace.


Anonymous said...

Some of you may be disappointed in the Advertiser endorsement of the LUS FTTH initiative. We are not. They support our point on the referendum. In their opening statement of the endorsement they support the very reason for our intervening in the lawsuit. The Advertiser states “We have withheld comment until now - waiting to acquire and carefully study all the information necessary for an informed opinion. We believe we are at that point.”

That is exactly our stand. We believe that the citizens are ready to make an informed decision. Or at least they will be when the all sides gets to present their point of view during the period leading up to the referendum. That’s the whole point behind calling for a referendum. Debate, discussion and information, then a vote. That is exactly what the lawsuit is all about. It gives the citizens a chance to make an informed decision. But the city refuses.

The Advertiser has been covering this story, and reporting to the people through their articles, since LUS first announced its plan over 9 or more months ago. If the Advertiser has only this week finally made its “informed decision”, how could the citizens have been expected to make their “informed decision” prior to December 21, 2004, which is the date the city passed the Resolution to authorize LUS and the City to borrow the $100,000,000, no I mean $110,000,000, no I mean $125,000,000, no I mean $135,000,000. Suppose the Advertiser would have come to the opposite conclusion and not endorsed the LUS plan. Wouldn’t they now endorse a referendum? They will answer that in part 3. Can’t wait.

Be assured no one would be arrogant enough to say that they have only just come to an “informed decision”, and then go on to say that the average citizens, who relied on their reporting, should have come to their decision some 2 moths ago. I feel confident the Advertiser will support the right of people to petition their government. Which is all this entire lawsuit asks.

After all Fiber 411 does not argue that LUS can’t lay fiber. LUS already has 65 miles of fiber in place. Nor do we argue LUS can’t sell fiber. They already sell it to many customers. All we are asking for is the right to gather a petition and to vote.

The Advertiser must agree that if the city can take this right away from its citizens, then the city may also have the right to take away free speech.

John said...

Will self-delusion never end?

Come on guys. Your whole endeavor has been deluded from the beginning.

That you persist in the obvious lie that "all" you want is a vote is the most convincing evidence is that self-delusion has passed over into the a conscious decisions to lie to others--first and most crucially about your own motives.

The raw truth is that you want to stop LUS, the city, and your elected representatives from doing their job. Admitting this is the first step in having the honest discussion you dishonestly claim to desire. No one. NO ONE should be expected to talk sensibly with people who lie about their motives. Somewhere in your hearts you have to know that. Until you are willing to present yourself honestly and admit your motives publicly there can be no honest discussion and the fault will be yours and yours alone. When a child who steals from your wallet persists in saying that all he wanted was to borrow the money to put in the collection plate when he has been begging all day for that ice cream cone you found in the trash you know that the real discussion can’t begin until he admits what really motivated him. You’d be a fool to argue with him about whether or not he should tithe.

That is the way it is with you guys. You don’t want LUS to build a modern telecommunications system. You used to say it clearly. Now you don’t want anyone to mention it. You, like the boy in my story want to argue about something more noble where you hope you can win. But the argument about fiber isn’t an argument for another day. It is the real argument and you are willing to lie about your motives and purposes. It’s not about voting or tithing anymore. It’s about being honest. Only when that is settled can a discussion begin.

Look, you guys failed to convince the council. So your blamed them and decided that all your really wanted was the right to petition. Then you failed to get enough people to sign your “easy-way” petition, much less a legitimate one. So you blamed the city and decided that you really wanted to sue to get your way after all. You’re just setting things up so that you can delude yourself that the paper endorsing the fiber plan somehow means that they actually, really, truly favor your little dishonesty about voting. Then you can blame them for betraying you when they say that the the normal procedures that less righteous men than you all have to follow should apply even to you.

Try and come out from under that cloud of delusion and try a little honesty.

By the way: I’d like to know just who is speaking under the cover of the anonymity of fiber411. All of you? One of you? Which one or ones? Surely you can be at least that honest.

Neal Breakfield said...

Dear John:

It's a little scary... thinking of government getting into an entrepreneurial role is something that we were all kind of taught in civics that government doesn't do. Government doesn't compete with the private sector.

- Joey Durel, Campaign 2003

John said...

Folks, this is typical of Neal and, I have to say, the folks at Fiber411. If you'll look at adjacent posts you'll see that Neal, instead of actually responding to any of the articles or commentary just repeats himself 18 times. There’s no communication attempted. It's a tantrum; the (im)moral equivalent of pissing on a neighbor's wall because he said something you didn't like.

It would be easier to develop some respect for these guys if they'd show some for themselves.

Likely what is frustrating Neal is the growing wave of formerly silent support made visible in response to Joey Durel's call to action. And likely LPF is a target because he doesn't like what I say about the boys in the above comments to yesterday's tirade that you can see above.

He can't answer real questions. He just continues to parrot whatever the last angry thing he or some handler feeds him.

I'll repeat what is obviously a futile plea: Start answering real questions. Quit mouthing nonsense.

I'm out of patience with these guys.

Neal Breakfield said...

People who can beat the message don't waste time trying to beat up the messenger.

WE have thick skin. You have no message.

The community's RIGHT to vote on this is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It is the law.

You want to break the law to ensure that you get your way.

You are entitled to your opinion, but if you try to break the law to infringe on OUR rights, WE can and will do something about it.

And no amount of insults will dissuade US from it.

GumboFilé said...

Like all civil governments, always and everywhere, the city-parish has a territorial monopoly on the lawful use of force. No business has such power. Cox and BellSouth have no such power. It should be obvious why the city-parish is willing to take a risk that Cox and BellSouth are unwilling to take. The city-parish has the power to force the people of Lafayette to bail it out. Cox and BellSouth have no such power. It should be obvious that this is unfair to Cox and BellSouth and to the people of Lafayette.

John said...


Since this comes close to actually being responsive and since you restrained yourself from reverting to any old spamming habits in the comments this time I'll try again.

First the issue for you, for me, for everyone involved is not a vote. The issue for each of us, from the beginning to this moment has been the wisdom of LUS and the city pursuing the building of a fiber optic network. You are against it. I am for it. That is what motivates you. That is what motivates me. The Voting thing is only what you thought would get you to a place where the public could be lead to agree with you about fiber. You may be obsessed now with the idea that if you don't get your way on this that some great injustice has been done you. It isn’t true. No one has stood in your way of securing a vote legally. You just couldn’t be bothered with it.

I am perfectly willing to argue the real points about fiber and have in fact been demanding that you do so. I am unwilling to pretend that the voting rhetoric is anything other than the obvious means to your real end. It's a dishonest attempt to shift the conversation away from something you've failed at (convincing folks that municipal fiber would be undesirable) toward something that you hope will give you second chance to knock down fiber. And worse from your point of view: it is transparently dishonest. You are surely outraged that this appeal to democracy is not working any better than your appeal to free enterprise. You are going to want to blame the Duel (hence the spam) or the paper, or even the people. But blaming others for your failures just isn't useful. You need to recognize that the reason that a passionate plea "just" for a vote falls on deaf ears is that anyone who has been watching the whole show realizes that calling for a vote is a ploy to give you another chance on the real issue.

You don’t do yourself any favors by discrediting your argument in this way.

What might actually work is dealing with the real issue. And answering real questions. I’ve asked real question about fiber starting way back with the “whaddaya want” posts and with some of your crew privately. I am always put off. Out of frustration I started asking real questions about the process of this petition drive. No response to public or privately put questions. Always “later.” Now we get you blowing in trying to inject snide remarks that have nothing to do with the posts that you attach them to. There really is no point in being tolerant of folks who won’t deal with the real issues and instead expect to blow in and blow out without consequence.

The real history of the fiber411 guys has been that you’ve been wrong about all the things you’ve claimed were well-researched or obviously true from the beginning. I argued that earlier in this exchange. The latest is that you thought (or said) that the Advertiser must be about to endorse your position on a referendum. That really was delusional and, as with other, similar, remarks, actual events have demonstrated how wrong they were. I don’t think delusional is too strong.

I am not breaking any law. It may come as as surprise to you but I don’t think you are either. I think your self-serving interpretation of the law is abusive, not illegal. If you want to oppose the fiber plan then do so. I am less willing to endorse some sort of end run around fighting an honest battle against the plan--which is clearly provided for--by first using an unrelated statute to try block not the plan but the bonds and then going even further by remaking your entire argument into one that pretends that “all” you want is a vote. That is simply untrue. “All” you want is another chance to defeat fiber that is easier that the straight-forward and above-board way of doing so. No right of yours has been touched. You could still pursue the course of trying to convince a small minority of not half, not a quarter but only 15% that enough question exists to warrant a vote. It would be hard; it would be futilely divisive; but it would be honest. The truth is that you believe, passionately I have no doubt, that you are better, more noble, more right than the run of the mill folks who have to follow the regular rules. You want, demand, and feel entitled to easier rules. You are mistaken about that too.

About insults. I speak the truth as I understand it. Where I am wrong correct me. I wish there were no insults involved. There seems to be a sense these days that an insult is a lie you tell about someone else. I am old school about that. I think that way of defining an insult is absolutely wrong: a lie is not an insult. It is only a lie. Only the truth has the sting to be a real insult. I really do wish there were no grounds for your being insulted. I believe there are.

Neal Breakfield said...


The only reason why you do not want a vote is becaue you are afraid that you will lose. You cannot lose if there is no vote. It IS against the law to try to sell revenue bonds in the way that the City has done so as to totally circumvent the right of the citizens to be able to vote on the matter.

Our mechanism for the petition IS in accordance with STATE law and is also in accordance with the Home Rule Charter. The City kept quoting us about section 6.01 when the section of the HRC that dealt with the sale of bonds and a referendum mechanism really is in 5.08. Care to guess what that ways... see applicable state law. The state law that the City chose to use has nothing to do with selling bonds. It does not even outline a mechanism by which one can sell bonds. It deals with interest rates. That's it.

You can read it all here:

But the REAL shame of it all is that NO PETITION OF ANY KIND EVER STOOD A CHANCE, because it had to be completed within 30 days of the advertisement of the resolution to sell bonds.

The City Attorney admitted that when he tried to make the arguement that the lawsuit's legal challenge was too late because it was on the 31st day (when the 30th day falls on a Sunday, the law says that the 31st day is acceptable).

If the City argued that the bonds are legally uncontestable by state law after the 30th day, what do you think they would have done with a petition?

We have the right to a vote. If you felt at all secure in the idea that the project would pass a public vote, you would not oppose it so vigorously. When we vote, if the people decide in favor of the project, then that will be the way it is... no further objection from me or anyone else af

I know that we will not get a similar statement from you. You are not willing to accept the will of the people unless it suits you.

That is a shame.

GumboFilé said...

I agree with Neal on this. I will accept the results of an election, but I will stand ready to write "I told you so" letters on any opportunity. However, I also agree with John, that a vote shouldn't be required on issues such as this. He's right, municipalities should be constitutionally prohibited from enlarging themselves in this manner. Bringing it to a vote sends the message that it's ok for the majority to gain at the expense of the minority, as long as there's an election.

John said...

Watch out Neal, you are getting dangerously close to admitting that you are really in this to defeat fiber. Get with the progam. Tim and Bill will be disappointed. You aren't supposed to admit that your motivation is to kill the fiber plan until after you've secured the referendum.

Repeating that you have a right to vote on this till you turn blue doesn't make it true. You do have a statutory ability to petition for a vote. You tried you failed. Puffing it up with rhetoric changes nothing.

Neal Breakfield said...


You are absolutely right about one thing: I was rude and I apologize. No excuses. I apologize to you and all the other users for spamming your site.

It will not happen again... with one exception: I will post this where I spammed in hopes that it will clear the air.

I want what I think most of us want: a meaningful, informative and civil discussion where all sides can be heard.

John said...


Thanks, that's a gracious and straightforward apology.


We all get wound a mite tighter than is good for us at times. Myself included.