Sunday, July 10, 2005

"Unity of parties on telecom issue is positive sign"

The Sunday Advertiser editorial this week focuses on local bipartisan support of the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) initiative. The fact that both Lafayette Democrats and Lafayette Republicans have endorsed the plan is amazing and points to the strength of the idea and the range of good reasons to favor the plan. What the parties share, and have always shared by and large, is an active concern for our community, the desire to make her stronger and more progressive. They differ over how to do that and even, sometimes, what that might mean. But what the cooperation over this means to the rest of us is that neither local party is so owned by its ideology and special interest groups that it can't see what is best for Lafayette and embrace it. That, as the Advertiser notes, is not true at other levels of government:
In this time of partisan bickering and angry, sometimes uncivil, exchanges between Republicans and Democrats, the unity of the two parties on a critical issue such as the LUS FTTH plan is a like a breath of fresh air. The local party organizations both adopted resolutions in support of the issue, and while the approaches by which a decision was reached differ, they are unified in endorsing its passage on July 16.

Hopefully, this example of bipartisanship will attract widespread attention and inspire officials at other levels of government to look at issues objectively instead of from a party standpoint only.
It's easy to agree with the Advertiser that such bipartisanship deserves to spread. And I'd say the perfect first place from which to "come to their senses" is on the issue that has brought the parties together locally: municipal telecom. We've proved here that viable bipartisan coalition can be built on this issue. Our legislators ought to be able to come together in so plain a situation and decide to let the reelection money that flows so freely from BellSouth, Cox and the industry they represent flow elsewhere for once and put the interest of the communities they represent first.

At the state level they can fight any further "compromise" of the compromise BellSouth and Cox agreed to last year.

At the federal level our representative need to educate themselves on the issue and stand before congress as defenders of something great that is happening in their districts. Vitter, in particular as an early supporter who has shown signs of sticking with that endorsement even after he got the job, has a great place from which to stand and defend municipal telecommunications.

We can certainly hope that our state and local officials learn from the example of Lafayette.

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