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
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.