Thursday, August 17, 2006

Appeal reviewed

--Got some catching up to do from our little vacation to the Outer Banks. (Where what they call hot, we call air conditioning!)

Lafayette is going to appeal the 3rd Circuit's ruling. From the Advertiser article:
Lafayette officials will ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to hear arguments on the proposed Lafayette Utilities System fiber-to-the-home project.

City-Parish Attorney Pat Ottinger said the city will file a writ application to the state Supreme Court asking that it take up the case.

"At this point, we think our position is still correct," said LUS Director Terry Huval.
--Good. It is time to fight.

In the past the city has not chosen to appeal any ruling that has not gone its way--effectively deciding on the path of trying to appease the unappeasable. (The majority of cases have confirmed Lafayette's position--something that is easy to forget at moments like this.) At the time the officials made a defensible case. Uppermost in the minds of LUS and the city was trying to get around delays as quickly as possible. But, as proved the case with the (un)Fair Competition law itself, expedience proved costly in the long run. This is a lesson the city and LUS have had to learn and relearn over the different phrases of this conflict. The simple truth is that you can't cut fair deals with unprincipled people. (Evidence: Even Senator Ellington, the (un)Fair Act's "author" said that BellSouth's suit was betraying the deal, Example: playing games with Durel and the city council before earlier bond votes.)

The difficulty here, in my judgment, is that the Lafayette officials are honorable men. They believe that when you make a deal that, naturally, you abide by that deal--especially the parts that are not to your advantage. BellSouth and Cox executives apparently see nothing beyond their own advantage. Handshake deals are for suckers. They think it "smart" to take what advantage is offered and pursue their own interests without any reference to earlier "deals." We can rail against this interpretation of "business" ethics but it is best to simply know who you are dealing with and to quit trying to work with people of this ilk.

At any rate the effect of the latest ruling is try makes sure that the city-parish will benefit as little as possible -- its an extension of the "make sure it costs more" tactic that has gone hand in hand with the incumbents "endless delay" tactic. Bridging loans made to other elements of LUS get repaid, with interest to LUS and amount to a way to transfer income to the rest of the organization. That slight of hand is part of forcing up the price consumers of LUS pay; and it was understood to be part of the "deal" by the legislature, LUS, and the city-parish--that's outrageous enough. But what wasn't supposed to be part of the deal is what the 3rd Circuit is now trying to force on the community: that the extra costs in interest to consumers can't come back to the owners of the utility (those same consumers) as income to the rest of LUS which could, conceivably, be used to lower utility rates in the other divisions or to lower taxes. Instead, in this scenario, the interest income is forced out of Lafayette and out of the public and into private hands. This was not the deal. Under duress LUS and the city were forced to accept artificially higher prices for its telecom services. It was not supposed to have to be forced to hand any part of those higher prices over to private, profit making entities...it was supposed to be able to retain those for the people of the city. That's what's being threatened now.

It is worth noting, again, that neither BellSouth nor Cox is forbidden by law from using income from ANY of its various holdings. Only Lafayette is restricted in this way. --If you believe this is supposed to benefit our community through some strange logic I merely refer you to the plain fact that Lafayette has proven itself quite capable of protecting itself (to Cox and BS's distress); we don't need; and don't want; and surely aren't grateful for the "help" the state imposed upon us at BellSouth's request.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wrong place to post - but the bone heads Cox failed to report the new channel lineup to Tribune media. So anyone with a TIVO has all of their channels all out of whack!

Good job Cox! I'll hold out for 5-10 days rather than switching over to your crappy ass DVR service.

John said...

anon,

I've got TiVo and am very annoyed. What exactly is going on? Cox is supposed to report their changes to "Tribune media?"

Could you expand/expound/explain?

This never happened before they started offering their own DVR...

Anonymous said...

You have a choice in Video providers. I have Direct TV and they have been great. I get local Channels and the rates don't go up every year. You should give them a chance.

Anonymous said...

You have a choice in Video providers. I have Direct TV and they have been great. I get local Channels and the rates don't go up every year. You should give them a chance.