March 16, 2005 12:00
I write in support of Lafayette's fiber optics project. Admittedly, it is a bold step, but it is a giant step forward in the effort to stimulate greater economic development for Lafayette.

I do not profess to be knowledgeable on technical matters, except to say that it is generally an accepted fact that high-speed broadband availability for transferring and receiving data is very advantageous.

Lafayette Utilities System is in an ideal position to provide the broadband needs for our businesses and homes. When I came into office in 1980 as mayor it didn't take long to realize how financially sound our publicly owned utility system was. I had a special appreciation of how effective LUS was and has been over many years and administrations ' especially since I have a very pro-free market political philosophy. LUS continues to be a major factor and literally a powerful engine for the growth and progress of Lafayette.

One of the major reasons for such an effective operation for more than 100 years is the excellent guidance and counseling of our bond attorneys (Foley and Judell) and our consulting engineers (R.W. Beck). Thousands of bondholders of LUS reflect the confidence in the LUS system over the years, and this combination of consultants and investors has enabled LUS to be at the core of our city's growth and development.

As for the argument of government interference in the private sector, we have owned our own utility system for more than 100 years and it has competed successfully with investor-owned companies. This fiber optic project is also a case where the private sector companies have indicated that for them it is not an economically feasible project to undertake.

It should be noted that we have historically and legally implemented bond issues through our duly elected representatives. There is, and has been, ample public airing and debate on the issue. It would not make sense to have a public vote on every bond issue that comes up. The erroneous judicial decision should be challenged.

I hope that if the election is mandated the people of Lafayette will see the need for fiber-to-the-home (and business) and realize that LUS is in a very strong position to provide the appropriate investment.

This is a much needed and sound venture for Lafayette.

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