The idea that technological change is a problem for our local utility was always a not-so-subtle insult. The Advertiser responds smartly:
...it is interesting that BellSouth and Cox Communications encourage citizens to raise this question when it is LUS that is moving to the cutting edge with its fiber optic system. The private companies are doggedly clinging to older, slower technology for their customers.The daily is right on target here. If keeping abreast of technology is your concern then fire the huge, slow-moving corporations that are tied to outdated networks and shaped by their monopolistic histories and hire a nimble, local firm with a history of successful technological innovation. LUS.
We have no doubt that LUS can stay abreast of telecommunications technology. There is talk of wireless communications being the wave of the future. Because it requires fiber - and the broader the bandwidth the better the wireless delivery - the utility system is ideally positioned for that change, if and when it occurs."
Stop and think: LUS moved us far ahead of other cities our size when it developed the fiber optic system already serving local businesses. That was a giant technological move, expertly made. The question is not whether Lafayette can keep up with technological changes, but whether other communities can keep up with Lafayette.
The second of the two essays is worth reproducing in full:
If Cox and BellSouth really believed that LUS is incapable of making the project work, they would simply stand back and watch it crash and burn. Instead, they are trying to keep it from getting off the ground with legal action and demands for a public referendum. They may well be trying to delay it until the next legislative session in which they could push for a state law banning entry of municipalities into the telecommunications field. Unfortunately, that has worked in some states.
The call for a referendum is an obvious attempt to stall the forward movement. We heard no such call when the city-parish council declared its intent to sell $200 million in bonds to fund expansion of LUS electrical generating capacity. In a representative form of government, that is the function of those we place in office. We entrust them with such decisions. If we start putting every controversial issue before the voter, we might as well relinquish the democratic system.
Because of the savings on telephone, cable television and Internet costs, we feel certain voters would - at this time - support the plan. However, we must consider the ability of Cox and BellSouth to unleash a high-powered, high-cost media campaign, while city-parish funds cannot be used in such a way.
That is not the issue, however. The real issue is whether or not the people elected by the majority of voters to make important decisions should be thrust aside - because two giant corporations want to protect their profits by blocking progress.
Again, the real reason for the demand for a referendum is that they know the LUS plan can work.
Nicely done. Is it more sensible to trust the motives of BellSouth and Cox or to trust the officials you voted into office (and can vote out agan)? The answer is clear.