Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Durel's Speech -- Fiber Update

Durel opened his state of the city-parish addresses by saying that since fiber had been the way his speech last year had ended he'd start with a review of the status of the fiber project this year. (Readers will recall Durel's call last year for Lafayette to "stand up," to end the "good ole boy" politics and business habits that kept people from publicly endorsing the project and to get behind the project openly. That proved a decisive moment in the fight and organizational endorsements soon were flowing freely.)

Before I offer my take on the Mayor-President's latest speech I am happy to say that you don't have to take my word for it...you can go to the Advertiser site and download MP3s of the speech and listen for yourself. The Advertiser has, as well, extracted budget information from the CD provided by the Mayor to all attendees and posted them as well. The mayor's CD, also a first, contains a version of the power point slide he showed and supporting budget files. Impressive. All this is just what technology ought to be helping us do: get more real, unfiltered information to more people. Kudos to both the Advertiser and the Durel administration for making this possible.

You can find newspaper stories at the Advertiser (where you will find links to the files mentioned above) and the Advocate--though neither mentions the fiber news readers here will likely want to hear. --AOC was there as well and will surely be showing the speech on its public access station. (More if I can find out just when.)

On to the speech itself.

Durel said he wanted to first thank all that came together to support the plan. He obliquely acknowledged last year's call for support, saying that he knew many were put in uncomfortable positions but lauded all, from businesses to grass roots organizations that "stepped up," ignored partisanship and got this done--and contrasted that to the mess in Washington.

He thought that all that really had to happen now was to tweak the bond ordinance. He then launched in to an attack on BellSouth but included a surprise endorsement of Cox that uncharacteristically mentioned no names explicitly. He praises "one company" for becoming a good competitor but lambasts BellSouth. That's worth quoting:
In fact I told my wife this weekend, Move everything we can to that company. [Pointedly looks over his shoulder at some Cox Advertising on Convention Center wall.--which explains the laughter you'll hear on the tape.] I'm no longer going to do business , if I can help it, with anyone who files suit against my community. [That was met with vigorous applause.]
The fiber part is only a small part of the speech, but I'd recommend citizens go to the Advertiser's coverage to listen to it all. The budget issue he tries to bring up are worth us all thinking and talking about. It's rare to have those decisions put so directly before the people. Take advantage of the opportunity.

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