It's been a good year for Lafayette, her people, and for municipal fiber. Together we overcame a series of obstacles that would have stymied many communities. Last year this time the path looked relatively clear ahead of us. The council had fulfilled its duties under the charter and had approved the sale of bonds. Their sales only awaited the formulation of PSC rules governing the project. Lawsuits and opposition seemed certain but a referendum still seemed unlikely. It seemed that the battle, if not yet entirely won, was now in the hands of lawyers and regulators who would act on our behalf.
The year that followed demonstrated how wrong we were in thinking someone else could finish the job. The battle that occurred instead brought Lafayette together and drew people into active political commitments who had never been active before. On July 16th the people of Lafayette told BellSouth and Cox made their position on the issue of a municipal telecommunications utility, approving the proposal 62 to 38%. The process left a new group of citizens who had discovered that they could have a hand in shaping the future of their community.
The battle, I think we all realize, is not over and we now understand that we cannot expect lawyers and officials to realize our dreams for us. We'll have to keep up the fight. What is different this year is that we know that we can be successful.
Lafayette has done amazing things this year. Things that will assure that Lafayette will be at the forefront of technology as the century blossoms. Add that to the list of things you are grateful for as you say blessing over New Year's dinner.
And don't forget your black-eyed peas and cabbage. We could still use the luck....