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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OCT 22 This entertaining short (15 minutes) film on Munchies is all about Boudin. Thank goodness it's just a documentary-style piece filled with the voices and faces of south Louisiana, as opposed to outsiders waxing poetic about our regional specialties. But be warned, there is some pretty graphic pig butchery going on here, so if you're squeamish it may not be for you.
OCT 22 A state judge threw out the lawsuit of a former employee of the LSU Alumni Association, the Advocate reports here. The employee had claimed the former director of the group gave her a job so she'd have sex with him, and after she left agreed to continue to pay her -- so she'd have sex with him. Apparently you get no points for hutzpah.
OCT 22 Education blogger Mike Deshotels writes about the retraction of the Cowen report in this post. However you slice it, the Recovery School District is still failing, he says. (But Mike, doesn't that depend on what the intention was? If no one ever meant the RSD to fix public education, it's working perfectly, isn't it?)
OCT 22 A major Jindal donor was allowed to avoid the competitive bid process in the purchase of a state office building in Monroe, blogger Tom Aswell reports in this post on Louisiana Voice. The circumstances he lays out here are pretty stinky.
OCT 22 While Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry attempt to fan the flames of Fox Newsian hysteria into viable presidential hopes with talk of building walls to keep out the Ebola, LA Times columnist Mike Hiltzik gives them some national press they probably don't want: if you want to save lives, he says, try accepting Medicaid expansion. Wups!
OCT 22 It's hard to pick out the most interesting part of this post on Mother Jones about Texas lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick (His claim that migrant workers will bring leprosy to Texas? That Connie Chung's show should be called "Slanted Eye to Eye"?) But of course we must go with the comments about our very own Duck people, and how they are the spokesmen for God.
OCT 22 Advocate owner (and rich guy) John Georges must be doing a little happy dance today. As his paper reports here, the Times Picayune is further reducing its footprint in NOLA, by laying off 100 people and moving their printing operations to Mobile. (Yes, Alabama.) Does this mean the Advocate won?
OCT 22 Baton Rouge's downtown is now starting to show significant growth, this post on DIG Baton Rouge reports. With new construction, new restaurants and new housing units popping up, the downtown area is finally starting to look like a capital city, the story says.
OCT 21 Two St. John Parish employees were indicted in connection with the amoeba found in the parish water supply, WVUE reports in this post. They are accused of lying about testing the water for proper chlorine levels, the story says, claims that were contradicted by their government vehicles' GPS records.
OCT 21 The McClatchy DC blog posts this fascinating view of Louisiana's political landscape. It's a little heavy on the cliches, and also a little heavy on the quaint Cajun/Creole shtick, but it's still good reading -- if only for the outside view of our insides.
OCT 21 Here's an interesting story from the National Journal about New Orleans almost 10 years post-Katrina. There are demographic information and charts, as well as some commentary about the corresponding changes in the way the city looks and works.
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