Wednesday, March 16, 2005

"Opposing fiber factions ready ad campaigns"

The Advertiser today carries the first in what is sure to be a series about the money side of Lafayette's fight for fiber. While the story wanders, the basic plotline is clear. The outside telecorps have the money and the demonstrated will to spend amazing amounts of money in campaigns of disinformation that they've already tested across the country. The local boys have the fact that they're local and trusted. It will be a classic case of big money versus word-of-mouth, neighbor-to-neighbor politicking. I hope some of the academics at ULL are gearing up to study the fight. It should be one for books.

A snippet:
"'The telecom companies will spend unlimited dollars in advertising to try to convince you to vote against this project. They will attempt to confuse you with misstatements, scare tactics and outright false information about the project,' said City-Parish President Joey Durel in a letter to Lafayette residents announcing the referendum.

LUS and the city can do information advertising but cannot ask for a vote using public dollars. Durel said he believes a private fund will be set up in so residents who support the fiber project can make donations.

'We believe we can energize an army of people from Lafayette who will be up in arms against outside interests trying to push their greed on Lafayette,' he said.

Although BellSouth and Cox Communications would not comment Tuesday on possible advertising efforts, a local marketing expert said high-dollar advertising efforts were likely."
The word is that several pro-fiber PACs are starting and that an issue there will be coordination. Similarly, and not necessarily connected, more than one citizens' group is ginning up. For our money here at LPF, if the fight for fiber is to be a "viral," word-of-mouth campaign, then we ought to encourage multiple ways for citizens to engage and interact. Loose coordination would be a good thing but it will be more important to make sure that all segments of the community have a way to act and a congenial vehicle to act through. It's not likely that a single organization could or should do it all.

The PACs are not going public yet though activity is intense in the background. But you can turn in your name in support of forming a pro-fiber citizen's group in two places so far (no one has yet to actually hold an organizational meeting). The email addresses: fiber@lus.org and StandingUp@LafayetteProFiber.com

If you'd like us to post a way to contact your PAC or citizen's group, please drop us a note. We're all in this together.

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