The local media cover the Appeals Court decision which found for BellSouth. In a nutshell, the third circuit found that the city's bond ordinance violated the cross-subsidization portions of the "Local Government Fair Competition Act." This overturns the finding of the lower court and disagrees with the Public Service Commission's interpretation of the law. The silver lining, such as it is, is that the Eastin/Naquin suit was dismissed.
Details can be found in the Advocate, the Advertiser, and a brief piece on KATC.
The Advocate article is an update of yesterday's online-only article with additional quotes from the principals involved. The Advertiser substantially expanded yesterday's brief report and the new article is well worth reading. Sidebars include a good timeline and a link to the pdf-formatted 3rd circuit decision.
Both the papers report an amazingly obnoxious press release by Bill Oliver in which he has the unmitigated gall to claim that his interpretation was what the city agreed to and to get pious about government "subsidization." Oliver knows quite well that the city has never agreed with his and his lawyers version of that portion of the law.
(The disagreement is about the meaning of the word pledge in context of a section that declares itself to be about securing the best possible interests rates for local governments who develop a telecommunications utility. The 3rd circuit has agreed with BellSouth that if, for example, you "pledge" your assets when you take out a loan that you have to go into bankruptcy to pay off your creditor unless you have chosen to call it an "assignment" instead. This is plainly nuts--and is cannot be what the legislators or the city meant when the agreed to the compromise. Even Noble Ellington, the putative author said: "he thought the matter had been settled in the negotiations and said he wished the lawsuits 'were not happening'" as was reported in the Advocate when Terry Huval first suggested repeal of the (un)Fair act.)
But what is more obnoxious is the and even less believable is the implication that what LUS proposes is an unfair governmental subsidy when BellSouth, recipient of years of federal subsidy that continues to this day, and a recipient of large subsidies from the city-parish for the Cingular call center, and, additionally and amazingly, the recipient of continuing subsidies from LUS itself in the form of below-market-rate fuel (wouldn't we like a taste of that this winter) has ANY standing to complain about "subsidies." Oliver resembles nothing so much as Slick Sam Slade the nonsense-talking used car salesman made famous during the referendum fight.
Join Lafayette Coming Together, the City, LUS, New Orleans, and a multitude of private citizens in demanding the repeal of the Local Government (un)Fair Competition Act.