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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NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 With the passage of two amendments to Louisiana's much-amended constitution (it has been amended almost 200 times now) higher education has an even bigger target on its collective back, columnist Jim Beam opines in this post. Higher ed used to share the spotlight with health care, but that has changed, he says.
NOV 21 Here's a weird one: The Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association has endorsed Bill Cassidy for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, Mary Landrieu said she wouldn't consider support of medical marijuana but Cassidy said he would, WWL reports here.
NOV 21 Solange Knowles, possibly best-known for assaulting her brother-in-law in an elevator while wearing an ugly dress after the Met Ball, got married in the Marigny Opera House this past weekend, the New York Times reports here. Knowles, who has a house in the Faubourg Marigny district and owns a boutique in the Quarter, married Alan Ferguson.
NOV 21 This post on the Fuel Fix blog outlines a $1.4 billion move announced this week by the Apache Corp. that includes the sale of assets in south Louisiana. The company's interests in more than 90,000 acres in south Louisiana are some of the assets being sold, the post reports.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The new NOLA smoking ordinance is going to harsh your (nicotine) buzz, man. This post on Gambit outlines the high (or low, as the case may be) points: it includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in its bans; eliminates smoking within 25 feet of any building's public entrance and in any public space - or near any public space - operated by the city.
NOV 20 Politico reports here that Bobby Jindal won't be kept out of the presidential race by anyone else's candidacy. (If he's running, which he's not, 'cause he's not done prayin' on it) So he's not interested in who is running, or what the polls say, or how much money he's got? K.
NOV 20 NOLA Defender's Tiny Daiquiri has a little fun with Bobby Jindal's Meet the Press appearance in this post. Bobby is still prayin' on whether or not he'll run for the job he's been running for over the past three years, Tiny says.
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