Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Benjamin goes...sane?

After a string of snidely strange commentaries on the fiber issue using Lester U Smiley the snake oil salesman (LUS--get it? tee-hee) and culminating in a pretty incoherent homage piece to Hunter Thompson that seemed like it might have something to do with the fiber issue, Benjamin has turned in a piece that seems, well, reportorial. Sane, even.

He steps out of the way and lets Joey Durel speak. It's a good tactic and makes for effective reporting. This is one of the most expressive pieces I've seen on the issue and lets the reader get inside Durel's head and follow the reasoning and gauge the emotional timbre of the man.

Durel does a great job of laying it out and Benjamin, to his credit, mostly restrains himself from making snide asides.

A sample:
Durel’s secret weapons? Two things. One is the bully pulpit of elected office. When he speaks, he makes news. His words are quoted on the front page of the daily newspaper and lead the TV news. He can’t buy access to the media the same way as the private sector, but they can’t buy the level of news coverage he commands. The second of his weapons can only be termed as leadership. He’s proud of the effort he’s made to visit people’s homes and civic organizations and discussions he’s had on radio talk shows, all of which, he claims, end with converted skeptics asking what they can do to help.

“I do believe that our hard work can beat their money,” he says.

Right now he’s searching for the solution that will help him realize his dream. Somewhere in the pantheon of political solutions is the right deal that will bring Cox and BellSouth onboard in a cooperative effort — or totally freeze them out of the municipal infrastructure. It’s all up to Joey Durel right now. It’s his ability to lead that is to be measured here, and with his success or failure follows a large chapter in the development of 21st century Lafayette.

Aside from that small bit of nonsense that puts the burden on Durel for finding a way to "cooperate" with BellSouth and Cox, it's good reporting. (We'd all do well to recall that the last time Durel sat down to negotiate with those two he woke up the next morning with a lawsuit staring him in the face.)

Go take a look. If you want to understand what moves a major player, this is the best article yet. Kudos to Benjamin.

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