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
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 14, 2014:
The popular bistro-slash-music venue is set to appear Thursday before the state’s office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control to prove it’s a restaurant and not a bar.
"If you're a guy on defense and you know a team is able to get leads on people, that bodes well for guys like me who want to get turnovers and create turnovers because it makes another team one dimensional."
The financing plan would pay for the operations of 69 public school districts for the 2014-15 school year.
The Philadelphia Eagles acquired Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints on Thursday for a fifth-round draft pick.
The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association is offering a pretty sweet deal, the only catch is you’ve gotta sit through their spiel about how “greedy trial lawyers” are killing the industry and forcing companies out of the state with their “frivolous” lawsuits.
The Lafayette Parish School Board's mishandling of its insurance selection process over the last two years has caught the attention of the FBI.
Kids under 18 will have to pursue skin cancer the old-fashioned way.
Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound former second-round pick has gone to three Pro Bowls in his five seasons.
The state argues that if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping in an execution.
The enrollment period ends this month.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.