Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Joey Durel: The Power and Promise of Local Government


Joey Durel, Lafayette Parish President, has a brag piece on the Huffington Post. He brags about all the things anyone from the region would: food, employment, economy, culture, and food again. He also promoted two projects that his administration had a large hand in creating: LUS Fiber and the horse farm park. Readers may guess which I will emphasize here:
Our city has its own citizen-owned utility company, the Lafayette Utility System (LUS) that began in 1896 when the people voted to take control of their own destiny by voting to provide electricity. Again, in 2005, our citizens voted for Lafayette to expand LUS's offerings to include a Fiber Optic system -- now called LUS Fiber. The $125,000,000 investment provides Fiber Optics up and down every street in Lafayette, and the Fiber provides television, telephone and internet service. 
This project was done entrepreneurially, without taxes or grants. It must survive strictly by competing with a good (better) product for our citizens. Today, we have the fastest, most affordable Internet speeds in America. We can deliver a true, symmetrical gigabit for less than $1000! We also provide a free symmetrical 100mbs for Intranet to any subscriber to our service. This is local government owned and managed, but paid for only by the people that subscribe to the service. We are providing much higher speeds for much less money than is otherwise available. This will mean opportunities for companies to use Lafayette as a laboratory for what the next generation internet will do for the world. It will help provide good, clean, high-paying jobs for our citizens.
And the moral of the story? In Durel's words:
Local governments cannot wait for state or federal governments to make them great (but keep begging), they have to take control of their own destiny. 

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