The Advocate posts a catch-up article on the current state of the BellSouth lawsuit. The article has a good clean explanation of the basics and is well worth the read. The issue du jour is whether or not Lafayette will appeal the third circuit's ruling overturning an earlier finding that LUS and the city were pursuing a legal course in their plan to issue bonds to fund the project.
The two factors are time and money. (Sounds like daily life, no?) It's all complicated by a slowly rising bond market.
On the Lafayette side you have conflicting desires to keep the costs low and to get the thing built as quickly as possible. On the BellSouth side you have the perfect mirror: they want to jack up the price customers of LUS pay and delay the thing as long as possible.
BellSouth has few conflicts (if you can ignore the ones that have to do with the community and customers' interests as easily as they do) Any lawsuit will delay the project and if they work hard at suing about things that will raise the cost of the project they might get lucky and lessen their exposure to competition. They are further cheered by the fact that the bond market is slowly rising making LUS project slightly more expensive each day.
Lafayette, on the other hand, has real conflicts. Its promise to the people involves building both cheaply and quickly...and the two are not always clearly aligned. Fighting the lawsuit further offers a good probability of giving the city the best rates when the bonds are sold, important because interest is easily the single largest line item on the bill. On the other hand giving in holds the promise of going to bond sale more quickly--before costs rise too much more. The decision fork for the city has three tines: 1) give in and get the best rate you can under unfavorable bonding conditions quickly. 2) Appeal and hope for a decision that is in your favor and hope the bond market doesn't wipe out any gain over #1 that accrue because of delay and 3) Appeal and accept the possibility that the appeal will be upheld and you will both have to sell under unfavorable conditions and into a higher bond market.
It's unappealing. And if BellSouth were honoring its commitments made in legislative compromises it wouldn't be happening. The PSC, tasked with deciding what the law means, agreed with LUS to the point of joining its suit. The author of the bill, a BellSouth partisan thinks these issues were dealt with in conference. The first trial court didn't think that fulfilling a pledge to pay had anything to do with going into default. BellSouth drew a good hand; it happens. But the game should never have been in play. And wouldn't have been with an honorable company. The solution is repeal of the (un)Fair Competition Act: complete and utter. The state and an out of state corporation should not be standing in our way and BellSouth has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted honor a good-faith attempt at compromise.
For my part, I think the city ought to pursue appeal. It can be expedited and should be. The money is a tossup...trying to predict markets is a fools game. What's solid about this is that caving in at this point will make it appear to the unreflective as if you were trying to get away with something in the first place--and giving in to bullies is simply never a good tactic. They know in the future that all they have to do is spook you. We should simply admit that we are in a fight with an unscrupulous opponent and go after them. --In the legislature, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.