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
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, December 12, 2013:
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.