Hoping to take the wind out of Councilman William Theriot’s sails ahead of Tuesday’s council meeting, officials from Lafayette Utilities System argued Thursday that the long-term financial viability of the city-owned utility’s LUS Fiber business is on the horizon. LUS Director Terry Huval, along with Lorrie Toups, chief financial officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government, and CPA Burton Kolder discussed the fiber-to-the-home/business venture’s sustainability during a presentation at City Hall — five days before Tuesday’s City-Parish Council meeting, during which Theriot will give his own presentation on the financial health of LUS Fiber and, we expect, make the case for LCG discontinuing its financial support of the initiative.
LUS officials have been on a public-relations sally for the last week, making the case that despite the spin-off’s financial losses since it was launched in 2009, those losses were anticipated and built into LUS Fiber’s business plan and the business is on track to break even and begin turning a profit by 2015. A briefing on May 21 before the council revealed that LUS Fiber closed out 2011 with a $29 million deficit, a figure The Daily Advertiser parsed into an alarming headline the next day: “Audit: LUS Fiber lost $45,000 a day.” But in a more measured article in The Advocate, Kolder put LUS Fiber’s losses into context: “Normally, most start-up businesses lose money the first three to five years,” he told The Advocate. “... It would be expected.”
The briefing last week, as expected, reignited Theriot’s ideological opposition to LUS Fiber — and that’s what this really is: an ideological argument about a publicly owned utility competing with private enterprise, with Theriot carrying the water for the big, private telecom operators in Lafayette who have opposed LUS every step of the way.
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JUL 22 The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is "a lock" to win the Sun Belt Conference in football, Fox Sports opines in this post. There's a rundown of the other teams in the conference, but ULL is predicted to win the conference, thanks in large part to an "explosive" offense. Is it football season yet?
JUL 22 Columnist Stephanie Grace says Gov. Bobby Jindal may be meeting with state education officials (hey - you mean HIS education officials, don't you, Steph?) but it is clear he's not looking for a solution in the Common Core fracas. Bobby wants an issue he can take on the road, and this one seems to be it, she says.
JUL 22 Columnist Jim Beam finds recent news out of Baton Rouge depressing. It seems every time you turn around there's another mess being uncovered or announced in state government, he says. Say what you want about Congress; in Louisiana we have nothing to brag about, either, he says.
JUL 22 Blogger Tom Aswell reports here that several legislators plan to ask for an investigation of the last-minute action that bumped State Police Commander Mike Edmonson's annual retirement income by $30K. One is gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards, who says he did vote for the amendment, but didn't read it - as he rarely does during the last hours of session.
JUL 22 This is a fascinating piece in the Picayune about the murder of a doctor in her St. Charles Avenue home 50 years ago. It's fascinating because of the mysteries and myths that have swirled around the incident for those decades, and because of the possible connection to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There are a lot of interesting names in here, including Ochsner and Marcello, and as usual the comments below the story are nearly as entertaining as the story itself.
JUL 22 LaPolitics examines the news that a bipartisan group of legislators filed court papers Monday asking a judge to decide if BESE followed proper procedure in installing Common Core as the curriculum to be followed by state teachers. The allegation is that BESE didn't do that, by failing to open a comment period and shirking legislative oversight. Great, but where were these guys back when the decision was actually made?
JUL 22 Here's a love letter from New York Daily News' Alex Palmer to Louisiana. In some ways it is the typical tourism article (with pronunciation guides and food definitions) but in another way it goes beyond that to list lesser-known spots to visit for food or tours.
JUL 22 This post on Gambit is an interesting look at an age-old discussion among people who live and work in urban areas - is graffiti property damage or public art? There are a lot of voices in this story, covering a lot of the bases of this conflict.
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