(An "enhanced," extended version of the guest editorial advocating repeal that appeared in the Saturday the 14th Daily Advertiser is available on its own page.)
We are working for repeal of the Local Government Fair Competition Act. Louisiana's third district Appeals Court panel has made repeal all the more important by overturing the lower court ruling from Lafayette and adding stipulations that will make the fiber optic network voted in last July 16th much more expensive and difficult. That act was sold to legislators as a compromise that would ensure a level playing field. Oddly, it only imposed restrictions on new, small, local, public entities entering the telecom market dominated by huge monopoly or semi-monopoly players. But these large corporations had the lobbying muscle in the Louisiana legislature to pass the law.
Proponents of municipal networks accepted this unfair "compromise" with grave misgivings and concern that the law would have consequences the legislators never intended. Those misgivings have proven all too accurate. The incumbents, and BellSouth in particular, have refused to acknowledge that the points it is now contesting at the Public Service Commission and in the courts were settled during the "compromise" negotiations. Even the legislator who introduced the bill believed that the points pursued in the lawsuits had been settled before the bill passed and "wishes" the lawsuits hadn't occurred. There have also been unintended consequences. The legislators surely never intended to tell the city of flood-ravaged New Orleans that it could not let its citizens use the city's own communications system to rebuild the city. But it has had that effect.
The Local Government Fair Competition Act is the basis for all of the current challenges to Lafayette's plans. It is the sole reason New Orlean's WiFi system will only be fully functional for as long as the emergency lasts. It prevents all of our Louisiana communities from building the sort of telecommunications system that local people feel is best for their community's safety and future. Repeal of this law would make BellSouth's obstructionism very difficult.
If you'd like the people of Lousiana to be free to go about their own business without intereference, please consider writing your legislators to express your support for a simple and quick repeal of a law that has proven misguided.
Your most effective letters are to your own representatives. Members of your local delegation would be next on the list, as would anyone with whom you might have a connection. (Not sure of who your representatives all are?...shhhh..click here.)
The most effective form is probably mail or fax...but an email is quick, easy and not to be sneezed at. Feel free to pick up the phone and call. These are your representatives.
Say what you mean. What frustrates you? What are you looking forward to? What would you like to see happen? A wise representative will be very interested in the answers to such questions. .
Addresses you want? Addresses you'll get....
Don't miss our other opportunites to express yourself:
Note The Vote...
Help us spread the word! We hope you'll pass the Christmas carols on to all your friends and colleagues. We'd be grateful if you'd express your own feeling about BellSouth's inability to "note the vote" by including a message in those emails urging your friends to pass them on and express their displeasure with the incumbents. Please send them a link to the Action Page so they can join in the fun in their own way. (http://lafayetteComingTogether.org/NoteTheVote.htm)
Enough Is Enough...
Want to express your feelings more directly? And directly to BellSouth? Happy to help you out. Jumping to the Enough is Enough page will let you join Joey Durel, Lafayette YES! and many of your fellow citizens in telling BellSouth exactly how you feel.