As the fight here in Lafayette starts to heat up there's going to be a lot of national commentary on our city's battle. Responses from the national level to the ridiculous absurdity of the Cox/BellSouth push poll is starting to roll in.
Today we have a great little story from Broadband Reports' Karl Bove, "Fiber Kung-Fu in the Bayou." It says that the same tactics that were used in the Tri-Cities battle is being used here. Beyond the push poll similarity (a major factor in the Tri-Cities fight) it also notes that the Heartland institute is involved here. The Heartland Institute is a so-called research institute in Illinois that regularly produces reports that favor the financial best interest of its corporate benefactors. The Heartland Institute's absurdist paper minimizing the risks of smoking is only the most obvious example of their "integrity." I wrote a fair amount about these guys when an associate of theirs who owns an editorials-for-hire company called Expert Opinions conned the Advertiser into running a guest editorial by passing himself as an expert "associate" of the Heartland Institute. Bove notices another sign that the Heartland Institute has its eye on Lafayette: Eric Benjamin has been hired to produce an anti-muni fiber article for the Heartland Institute's newsletter for public officials in the Midwest. If one of your editorial writers is hiring himself out to an institute that is well-known for its extreme anti-municipal position on fiber, you'd think that it might strike the paper as unseemly for him to write on the topic here. Apparently such conflicts don't bother The Times. Assuming, of course, that Benjamin thought to tell them.
The story also reviews the recent history, going back to the empty threat by BellSouth's Oliver, to close the Cingular call center and gives a lot of good links to the Tri-Cities material and older parts of our own story.
As always, the comments on broadband reports are interesting.