Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Lafayette's Sense of Entitlement?

David Hays has a letter in today's Advertiser that pretty much indicates the state of the local regional opposition to Lafayette's fiber optic project. The visible opposition is reduced to grasping at "issues" that really don't make sense.

This letter is simply the latest is an increasingly isolated, shrill and disjointed opposition—one which in this instance is reduced to the petulant assertion that a community that has come together, left and right, republican and democrat, black and white, rich and poor to endorse a project that invests our money in our future is somehow operating out of a sense of, prepare yourself: "entitlement." This is going to be real news for a community that has been fighting two out-of-state monopolies tooth and nail for going on a year. The city and its people have no sense of entitlement. They've had to fight, and fight hard, against BellSouth and Cox since day one.

Just to remind ourselves, here are some highlights of the fight:

BS and Cox's first move when the mere idea of Lafayette extending its fiber network from offering resources to business to offering it to all her citizens was to prance down to the legislature and use a clever legislative maneuver to get its lobbyist-written bill introduced after the filing deadline. The bill was an unashamed attempt to make it illegal to even study the issue. The corporations wanted to get the state of Louisiana to tell the city of Lafayette what it could and could not offer the citizens of Lafayette. It almost worked. BS and Cox clearly feel entitled to their unopposed monopolies and were happy to try to use the state to quash our right to bring in a little competition.. It's not Lafayette that feels entitled.

Then, you will recall, we were treated to an "Academic Broadband Forum" that was nothing less than insulting. BS and Cox brought in a panel to repeat outright and demonstrable lies like the ones that no telecom utility had ever succeeded and that competition from municipals had never caused cable companies to lower their rates. This is the same forum in which the representatives of the companies admitted before the camera that even if Lafayette were to vote for fiber they wouldn't build it. Then, of course, they felt free to advise us that we should follow their advice and call a vote to suit their needs. It doesn't bother them to piously advise us about a vote after telling us they wouldn't pay attention to a successful vote and after having done their best to make sure the state would never allow us to consider the project, much less vote on it. The level of hypocrisy is breathtaking. And we are supposed to worry about the people of Lafayette feeling entitled? Come on! This is not where the sense of righteous entitlement in this fight resides.

You might recall a little anonymous blog site that purported to be written by a Lafayette resident (aka TJCrawdad) but turned out to actually be an official in Tyler, Texas at Cox regional headquarters who was in charge of "governmental and public relations" for our region. He took some ugly potshots at the governmental officials that he was supposed to be negotiating with from behind the cover of anonymity until he was exposed. He clearly felt entitled to fudge the truth a little bit.

Then Cox returns to the legislature and gets a Baton Rouge legislator to file a bill that would force a second vote on a community that couldn't be convinced to petition for a first. That same bill would punish Lafayette for having the gall to offer a little competition to Cox by effectively fining it nearly a million dollars. Gall? Entitlement? Arrogance? Words fail.

We've had the first ugly push poll; and then, in an amazing display of raw arrogance, a second and even more offensive one. TV rationed to Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. Really? Stuff like that is a joke. It's almost enough to make you miss the attempts to inject a little racial animosity into the conversation by planting the lie that only the "southside" would get fiber with as many people as possible. We really don't need the "help" of BS and Cox on this one. It is no one from this city who feels entitled to awaken that beast in order to make a few more bucks and avoid a little effective competition.

No, it's not Lafayette that feels entitled to its way. It's BellSouth and Cox who seem to believe they should be allowed to whatever would eliminate the possibility of competition.

When all the local regional opposition can come up with in opposition to the consolidating and pretty clearly overwhelming support of the community is "entitlement," it's pretty clear the well has run dry.

David Hays has it exactly wrong. A sense of entitlement isn't Lafayette's problem. In fact, it's BellSouth and Cox's sense of entitlement that has led them to act in ways that have alienated the community.

2 comments:

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