Friday, August 08, 2008

KVOL Gets Silly

According to a couple of friends KVOL has been hosting a rerun of the same old FUD attacks on the fiber optic network LUS is currently building. It's August and, I suppose, they can't find anything real to cover in these hot, lazy summer days. The latest bit of retread nonsense came yesterday when one of the 3 antifiber guys during the referendum, Neal Breakfield, was on the afternoon drive-time show. (He's supposed to be on again this afternoon, so if you want to tune in and put up your two cents worth try 1330 AM from 4 to 6...It would be useful to remind him why his argument lost back during the fiber fight.)

The folks at KVOL are trying to make a go of this talk radio thing. (And not too successfully apparently: The last Arbitron rating has the station bringing up the rear with a 24 out of 28 rating in our market based on a .5 market share.) They've apparently decided that being anti-everything is the formula for success in talk radio—but it's not working so far. Maybe only about .5 percent of people of Lafayette are that negative.

Be that as it may, the current jihad they're apparently carrying on against the LUSFiber build is a nonstarter that is guaranteed to put them on the wrong side of most of the community. The whole issue was thoroughly "talked" out 3 years ago and the fiber advocates won a resounding victory at the polls. KVOL would do better to go after the nearly 2/3s of the population that voted for the idea and leave their .5 percent antis to the pleasant pursuit of complaining about unprofessional dress of the guys that cut grass along the highways and their neighbors' chickens.

Update 8/15/08: Neal Breakfield has said in the comments that my remarks about KVOL's Arbitron rates were "baseless." They are not. Though Todd Elliot called and tried to demand that I take this post down and Stephanie Ware tried to make the same plea the truth is the truth. Arbitron does ranks KVOL at the bottom of the barrel in listenership. Neither Todd nor Stephanie tried to deny that what I said was true—they just didn't, contrary to their fearless-truthtellers on-air personas, want the public (or their advertisers, I presume) to know this inconvenient truth about their own organization.

KVOL may well be on to something regarding their redflex crusade. I don't think automated, privatized "policing" is wise public policy either. It might even do something for their ratings. But whatever good they do the community—or themselves—by pointing out real problems they lose when they make the common criticism that they are just "anti-everything" credible. Attacking even the good things this community is doing for itself is a sure-fire way to give ammunition to those who would criticize KVOL as merely anti-everything. Lafayette is pro-fiber. We proved it at the polls 3 years ago. Lafayette went through a huge public battle over fiber, the community was as well-informed as one can be over a complex public infrastructure issue. There were full page ads filled with the names of people and businesses that were willing to publicly support our fiber initiative. And the community decided to do for itself what the incumbents plainly said they would not do for us. The vote was 2 to 1. The people know what they want and they know what they voted for and hearing KVOL attack it only serves to confirm the idea that KVOL is anti-anything. I'm giving good advice here: if you have a good cause stick to it. Don't muddy the waters.

The reader who wants to confirm KVOL's rankings for themselves can travel to the Arbitron radio page and in the pull down menu on that page labled "market" select "Lafayette, LA." There you will find that I was actually as generous as possible in my characterization of KVOL's ranking in my original post. In the latest rankings, in Spring of '08, Arbitron ranked KVOL as tied for last place with with KPEL and WYPY among ranked stations with all 3 clocking in at a .5% listenership.

Other corrections: I had mispelled Arbitron in the original post. That is now corrected. I've also included the link to the radio page in there.


Neal Breakfield said...

Glad I could provide some entertainment to you John. BTW, please tell the truth next time you decide to grace KVOL with your presence. You said that LUS Telecom cannot use Electric revenues to pay the bond debt directly if they can't cover it with telecom revenues. That is incorrect. I got it in black and white.

Did you lie? Or were you just mis informed? Which is it? Can you give a straight answer on that?

Either way, I think you just don't care, because you are socialist and you would just prefer the government to provide you with everything.

Here is a link to the ordincance online so that you can read it for yourself:

Read the definitions for "credit event", "net revenues" and "residual revenues" and then read the following:

Article IV: Source of payment for bonds, Section 4.2

Article V: Other rights and obligations of the communications system and the issuer; Section 5.2 (c)

Article VII; General covenants of the issuer; Section 8.4 (a) Rate Covenant

That one is the kicker. It says in black and white that LUS is required by LAW to raise utility rates!!!

"Upon the occurrence of a Credit Event, the Issuer will fix, charge and collect, or cause to
be fixed, charged and collected, subject to applicable requirements or restrictions imposed by law,
such rates, rentals, fees and charges for the use of and for the services and products provided by
the Utilities System as are expected to be sufficient in each Debt Service Account Year to
produce Residual Revenues, in an amount, that when added to the Revenues is at least equal to
the sum of (i) one hundred percent (100%) of the Bond Service Requirement for such Debt
Service Account Year, (ii) one hundred percent (100%) of the amounts payable with respect to
Subordinate Debt and Subordinated Contract Obligations in such Debt Service Account Year,
(iii) one hundred percent (100%) of the amount required to maintain the Reserve Account for the
Bonds in accordance with Section 6.1 hereof, and any additional amount required to make all
other payments required to be made."

This is one of the things that we were talking about all along. You said that they would not do it. Joey said that they would not do it. They lied.

So again, did you lie? Or were you just mis informed.


John said...

Neal, Neal,

Now YOU are being silly. And not in a too entertaining way I am afraid.

I'm neither lying nor misinformed. Anyone who wishes can follow out the links in the blog post above to make their own judgment about just who is misleading whom here.

This is very similar to the way that you misrepresented the law when you decided that you'd rather find some easier way to petition the city-parish. Mumbling legalese doesn't make your interpretation correct or even credible.

Nothing that you've cited has the implications that you've claimed in my judgment. Some of the stuff you are referring to (I think, I'll look more closely) is the same logic that the State Supreme Court explicitly found to be without merit in the lawsuit that attempted to overturn the vote of the people and void this ordinance by blocking execution of the bond issue.

Give me a few days to look at the texts you cite and I'll post back here a fuller explanation.

stephanieseeks said...


Let me let you in on something. I have been extremely fair to both of you and for this blog to reflect anything negative about myself, KVOL, our ratings, etc., is completely inappropriate. I will be forced to expose the whole thing on-air if the comments regarding KVOL and talk radio not going very well are not taken down. As a matter of fact, if you knew anything about the radio you would understand that our ratings have blown-up and if you would like to talk about that, I am happy to. I do not appreciate giving both sides of this issue a voice and then being attacked. But, I guess that's the way some operate.

Neal Breakfield said...


Take your lithium.

Please show me how I was misprepresenting the law with a SUCCESSFUL petition to bring about a referendum. It did bring about a referendum, didn't it? Judge Hebert said WE the 2000 or so petitioners were right. Was he wrong? Was he making it up?

You told people not to sign the petition because it was the written wrong, had the law wrong. But, you were wrong. The city was wrong. It is in black and white, public record.

I did not spout legalese. I copied the law. I am smart enough to read it and I CARE what it says. You don't care what it says, because you already have your way and that is all you care about, whether it is right or wrong.

And to make it easier for you to understand the LAW, I will strip out some of the "legalese" so that you can see it a little more plainly for what it is:

"Upon the occurrence of a Credit Event (not enough money to pay the bonds), the Issuer (LCG) will fix, charge and collect... such rates... for the services... provided by
the Utilities System... to be sufficient... to
produce Residual Revenues (i.e. electric, sewer and water revenues)... that when added to the Revenues (from the Telecom System)" will pay for all monies needed to service the bond debt. [parentheses add, ellipses added]

It is that simple.

Don't waste my time or your time responding unless you can show me in black in white why that is not the law.

And don't waste my time calling me names or ridiculing me, although I do consider it pretty funny when you say catchy things like "Now YOU are being silly. And not in a too entertaining way I am afraid."

I actually condsider it a compliment because you cannot fight me with facts. All you have in your arsenal is ridicule and emotion.

Typical liberal.


Neal Breakfield said...

And BTW, I agree with Stephanie. It was out of line of you to dog out KVOL and then go on the air on her show. That's not cool. You owe her an apology.

John said...


This is the kind of stuff people get whenever they actually try to treat you with (unearned) respect. I respectfully suggest that I'll actually consider your points and see if they make any sense to me. (Though this, frankly, would be the first time.) In response you hit the frantic button and try and tell me to not bother. Sorry. You'll not get off that easily. If I'm wrong I'll say so. But if you are (again) I'll say so too.

As to your manner, it escapes me why you think that you add anything to your (dubious) logic by calling names and making snide remarks about stuff like lithium. But then that sort of behavior on your part has always been a your better moments to you as well, I suspect.

But while I actually need to delve into the ordinance to give an honest rather than a knee-jerk reaction to your claims about that I remember quite well the whole mess surrounding the petition. I documented it extensively on this blog as it happened as you will well recall. And I don't think you an Fiber411 came off very well.

First as to the raw facts of your claims:

“a SUCCESSFUL petition to bring about a referendum. It did bring about a referendum, didn't it?” NO, it did NOT. The petition was not successful and it did not bring about a referendum. You don’t get to remake history just because you wish all this had come out differently. The petition was unsuccessful; you and your allies failed to get even the smaller number of people to sign that you needed under any interpretation of the law. ( Sorry Charlie, them’s the facts. To make that claim you would have had to have tried again and gotten the number you needed. You and your fellows never did. What caused the referendum was losing a lawsuit to BellSouth and Cox whose chief focus was the bonding procedure and the governing law, not referendum rules. That forced a rewrite of the ordinance; starting over on the ordinance, which is what happened, made LUS follow the the newly re-written BellSouth law which, realizing their “mistake” they had gone back to and “fixed” to force a referendum on Lafayette’s telecom utility if they had to write a new ordinance. ( Having lost the bond issue bit LCG made the political decision not to appeal (against the advice of legal council, I understand) so as keep the incumbents and Fiber411 from delaying the project further and decided reluctantly to go to a referendum.

The lawsuit was critical. The petition issue that Fiber411 added to the lawsuit near the end was not. The petition had already been submitted to the registrar and failed to get even the minimum number needed under any interpretation

And you further claim:

“You told people not to sign the petition because it was the written wrong, had the law wrong.” NO, I NEVER did. While I did think the petition was written wrong and said so plainly (and told you so directly) I never said people shouldn’t sign because it was misdrawn. I said people shouldn’t sign it if they favored fiber because it was an attempt to stop the fiber project. As it was.

Now there was a lot going on at the time. A little timeline of the petition and the lawsuit might be helpful in making the context clear, establish the real history and help folks see why the flattering tale you want to tell just isn’t accurate:

1. The first person, to my knowledge, to suggest a petition drive was me, on August 19th 2004. From the beginning I had a consistent position—that this was the right way to force a referendum and that the governing law was the law BellSouth (now AT&T) had passed and Cox supported—the municipal “fair” competition act—that specifically dealt with this issue and called for using the city-parish charter which in turn called for 15% of the voters. That was always my honestly held position. Long before anyone actually suggested a petition drive to stop the project.
2. The first rumors of an actual petition that I heard were in the Advocate in late November of 04 and were that the incumbents would start a petition.... I thought that unlikely because it was a losing proposition. (As, indeed, it turned out to be.)
3. The first rumors of a petition by someone other than the incumbents came up in a late December 04 time frame. I opined that it’d be hard and noted that any drive would have to shoot for more than the number of petitioners they needed to account for folks signing that weren’t eligible voters in the city. (That turned out to be good advice too.)
4. Just after Christmas of ‘04 Fiber411 announced that it would start up a petition drive based on the 5% number. They also began to hint that they’d accept incumbent support; a position they’d previously rejected.
5. By January 7th BellSouth had “joined” the petition drive and put the petition in the trucks of their employees. With most of the people “working” the petition now employees of the incumbents it had become a tool of the incumbent campaign against Lafayette’s fiber-optic network. (The employees, understandably, weren’t happy about this.
6. A period of strange confusion erupts in the middle of January. The Fiber411 folks apparently concede that they have to meet the conditions on referenda set down by the city-parish charter on the form and the number of signatories they need--and ask advice: “Just tell us what to do.” The city tells them they’re wrong and they don’t have any such deadline but maintains that the same city-parish charter that requires 15% of the voters sign on to force a referendum does not have a deadline. The version of state law that Fiber411 has been relying on apparently does have that constraint. So on the one hand they have too few signatories or on the other hand they’ve missed their deadline. This confusion never really gets resolved but it is clear that there are serious problems with the petition regardless of whose interpretation of the applicable law is correct.
7. The petition was turned into the registrar of voters where and on February 4th of 2005 was found to contain too few names to meet even the 5% standard—raising the question of why it had been submitted at all.
8. On the 13th Fiber411 joins the ongoing BellSouth and Cox suit challenging the bond ordinance and admits that it looks bad to join the incumbents in suing the city considering that they have continued to claim (even after accepting their help in circulating the now-failed petition.) They say that they realize that their suit could easily be separated from BellSouth and Cox’s but that piggybacking on the incumbents attack will save them money. It surely helped BellSouth and Cox in the PR battle to have a locals join their suit but since the petition had already failed it was hard to understand what was to be gained by Fiber411 by aiding the incumbents.

It seemed, and seems still, that looking at what Fiber411 was actually doing rather than what it was claiming to do would be worthwhile.

Neal Breakfield said...

No apology for KVOL and Stephanie Ware yet? Still keeping that smear on the front page? Not going to keep to your word to take down the baseless rant or post a retraction when Todd C. Elliot called you up and read you the riot act?

I think that you owe Stephen Handwerk an apology too since you stole some of his credibility with your tasteless and unfounded rhetoric. I don't agree with him, but I respect him because he respects me and he at least plays fair.


John said...


You're joking, right?

I owe neither Stephanie Ware nor
Todd Elliot any apology. Todd called and, far from reading me the riot act, calmed down and agreed with several of my points before it was all over. One of those points was that leaving my posts up was a matter of principle. If I'm wrong about something I let people point it out to me and I make corrections. That makes me careful about what I say because I know the record will follow me around. When I pointed out that other, and by others I mean you Neal, do NOT leave their material up and open to criticism he said that he knew that. Fiber411 ran the ugliest chat room I ever saw until the whole thing was pulled down in haste after a particularly nasty set of episodes. My record is out there for anyone to nitpick. Yours is only preserved on a few DVDs scattered around town.

I doubt that Todd Elliot told you that I was going to take down anything. He understood my position very clearly. Stephanie, too. So either they lied to you or you are lying here. NO such word was ever given.

I think someone owes me an apology for wherever that lie originated.

It is also a lie that my relatively calm post is baseless. While I didn't post the URL in my orginal post I will go back and fix that omission. The correct URL is: select: "Lafayette, LA" in the drop-down menu.

Stephanieseeks said...

You know what Mr. St. Julien, no need to apologize to me or anyone else for that matter. I have heard from sources, even close to you, that you don't exactly have all of your bricks stacked up and that perhaps you are not altogether there. So, no need to apologize. If you see things one way and others see things the other way, that is the American Way so we can agree to disagree and you can spew as much venom as you see fit. I know the truth and that is all that matters.

Have a wonderful Acadiana Uncovered Day!

John said...

Wow, Stephanie Ware,

Isn't that just generous and sweet? A little attempt at character assassination under the transparent guise of generosity. You could give graciousness a bad name.

For the record, neither Todd, nor Stephanie asked for an apology. What they asked for was that I remove this blog post from public view. So it is odd to be backing off of a request for an apology that was never made.

To my readers and Stephanie's listeners, I offer this: First ask yourself if I have engaged in gratuitous name-calling or attempts at character assassination. Ask if my attackers have. Then take a look at the post that so upsets them. Ask yourself if I said anything that I couldn't, easily, document — and did when pushed, though it was not my original intent to flog the point. The original point, attempts to change the topic notwithstanding, was that adding attacks on the community's fiber optic network to their stable of attack topics was unwise. I still think that I am simply handing out good advice there.

What really offends, of course, are the facts concerning how well their "going negative" strategy has worked. While I actually agree with their Redflex position in principle, that controversy was probably near its peak when the last Arbitron ratings were issued. Attacking RedFlex did not prove to be a great tool even when KVOL actually had a point; attacking a project the city voted for 2:1, has spent money on, and is currently constructing is really much less likely to gain market share for KVOL. Were I station management I would be concerned that attacking a local businesswoman's appearance and saying that she's had botox treatments and so should have no opinion on the "beautification" of Johnson Street would cause more people to click off than such ugliness attracts. That is my reaction. I have a hard time seeing where my analysis is wrong or even really an "attack." Stephanie Ware and Todd Elliot claim to be truth seekers. In my estimate THIS is nothing less than the truth: Simple, loud, negativism isn't working in Lafayette.