BellSouth Louisiana President Bill Oliver spent last Friday, July 8, in Lafayette, trying to convince Cingular Wireless employees to just say no to fiber.
At the Cingular call center that employs 1,300 people on Pont des Mouton Road, Oliver held meetings with groups of employees throughout the day, asking them to vote "no" on this Saturday's referendum for Lafayette Utilities System's proposed fiber-to-the-home network. A source at Cingular says Oliver argued that the fiber project would be funded by government subsidies. (BellSouth owns 40 percent of Cingular, which received $18 million in state and local concessions to set up the call center here in 2001.)
Handouts supplied to employees stated: "Thank you for helping Fiber411 get the word out." Fiber411 is a local group that also opposes LUS' fiber-to-the-home proposal. Another handout instructed employees how to absentee vote and requested that employees "Please take the time to go and absentee vote. Please try and get 2 people every day this week to go absentee vote." A third sheet asked employees to submit the names and phone numbers of five residents within the Lafayette city limits who would vote against the referendum.
Oliver also apologized to employees for recent news articles that had stated BellSouth would shut down the local Cingular call center should the LUS referendum pass ("Unlikely Advocate," March 9). However, Oliver did not admit to making the statements.
Oliver said that the local media had managed to twist BellSouth's message, reportedly stating: "They'll print whatever they want." Oliver informed Cingular employees that six months ago, BellSouth decided not to make its arguments known to the public because the company's point wouldn't be represented correctly by the local media. ' RRF
A LOOK AT THE SAINTS' BOOKS?
Last week, the New Orleans Saints received a check from the state of Louisiana for more than $12 million as part of the state's annual payment to keep the football team in Louisiana.
Under an agreement struck in 2001 between former Gov. Mike Foster and Saints owner Tom Benson, the state must pay $186 million over the course of 10 years. The most recent payment was for $12,415,267.53. Last year, the state tapped into an economic development fund to pay the Saints and has yet to refill those coffers.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco has attempted to renegotiate the agreement with the Saints as the state continues making the payments. Benson broke off negotiations with the Saints until after the upcoming football season, when the team has the option to back out of the deal with a payout of $81 million.
In related news, Blanco and her administration should be closely watching an antitrust lawsuit filed by Hamilton County, Ohio, against the Cincinnati Bengals and the National Football League. That suit contends that the NFL conspired to misrepresent the financial position of its teams to secure public funding of a new stadium for the Bengals. A federal magistrate judge ruled last month that the NFL must turn over revenue and profit information for every franchise dating back to 1990 to Hamilton County attorneys. The NFL has appealed the ruling, but if the judge's decision is upheld, all the Saints' financial information will become public for the first time ever. ' SJ
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.