Monday, December 03, 2007

Dreams Realized

Lafayette's Fiber Faithful will recall that during the referendum fight the slogan of the pro-fiber citizens group Lafayette Coming Together was : "For our Future, For Our Children" Artwork, bumper stickers (at left), guerrilla video, yard signs, and billboards all bore one or another versions of this sentiment.

The most effective argument for building our own network turned out to be the most basic: family. People want their children and grandchildren to be able to remain in Acadiana and not to be forced to move away from hearth and home in order to get a decent job in a field they love. That, simple civic pride, and a streak of contrariness moved more votes than any combination of rationalistic economic, business, or technological arguments—however valid those might have been.

It appears that the hope is being realized.

Saturday's Advocate ran an interesting article in the right hand column of the Acadiana section. "Unemployment rate hits bottom" the lead-in paragraph tells the basic story:
Lafayette Parish's unemployment rate in October dropped to the lowest level since at least 1990, continuing what's been a historic, almost two-year trend.
Given that those encouraging two years have been posted following the regional devastations of Rita and Katrina which left Lafayette the only untouched metropolis south of I-10 I'm not yet ready to call them historic. But it is undeniably good news.

But what might interest the folks interested in seeing our children able to stay here after school is:
City-Parish President Joey Durel said Lafayette's position as a technology leader in the state is helping show the rest of the country that Lafayette is "forward-thinking" and a "very progressive community."

... as the economy is expanding, especially in technology-related fields, there is growing anecdotal evidence that young people who left Lafayette or the state for work are now coming back home, Stanley said.

"That's almost a dream come true for this administration," Stanley said. "It's a real exciting time."
Indeed, it is almost a dream come true—and not only for this administration but for the vast majority of the city who expressed their support of that dream on July 16th, 2005.



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Operational note:

Readers who conscientiously click through to the Advocate article will notice that it does not link to the Advocate site, a result they will surely have grown used to. Instead they end up at NewsBank open url that has the archived story. The Advocate site is not carrying the story online and, as far as I can tell, a new site redesign incorporates a policy of not carrying all the stories published (and making it impossible to easily tell which were published today). I consider this bad policy, bad design, and ultimately bad business. A newspaper's strong suit is its role as the provider of comprehensive, daily, local, news. It is, ultimately, all they have to sell. Compromising this by making their web offering 1) incomplete, and 2) confusing as to what is current minimizes their few natural advantages.

On the other hand it is great that the State Library and the local libraries have cooperated to make a stable, comprehensive archive of the state's dailies available to the public. It makes sense, of course, since there is little that they are uniquely situated to do that would more directly address what has to be the central reason for having public libraries: providing for an informed citizenry. If you've got a Library card from a Louisiana public library you can use to gain access to these files. (And if you don't have a card you should. So saith the son of a librarian. :-) )

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