A letter to the editor that I submitted about three weeks ago popped up in the Advertiser today. Back then (so long ago!) there were several active repeal bills in the legislature and Sharon Kleinpeter had had published a pretty seriously misleading letter that attempted to discredit LUS and present the (un)Fair Competition Act as, well, fair. She was ostensibly responding to an editorial by Terry Huval that focused on disaster preparedness and the potential for using “go zone” money available in the wake of the storms to build modern communications systems. (An editorial in support of repeal by the Advertiser, which presented a target that couldn’t be portrayed as self-interested, was conveniently ignored.) All that context has gotten forbiddingly distant.
At the time I posted an fuller objection to Kleinpeter’s letter that included my sources for claims I made about the accuracy of the letter. Here is today’s letter reworked to include similar references.
New Cox is the same as the old Cox
In a recent letter, Sharon Kleinpeter, a Cox official in Baton Rouge, sings a song that sounds like the old Cox. That Cox, you may recall all too well, raised Lafayette’s rates 49 percent between 2000 and 2004, commissioned misleading push-polls, sponsored a dishonest ‘academic forum’ that misled the public, dismissed the competence of Lafayette officials and sneered at our desire to have a state-of-the-art telecommunications network.
We’ve not seen any new price increases since LUS’ plan was announced, and most of the Cox officials who tried to scare us are now gone. This new letter, however, reawakens that old distrust.
Kleinpeter’s letter tries to convince us that repealing the (un)Fair Competition Act that has been used to block the fiber optic utility we approved last July would leave us open to ‘cross-subsidization’ problems that beset Bristol, Va. The trouble, as Ms. Kleinpeter knows or should know, is that Bristol was cleared of cross-subsidization charges a year ago. The electricity rate increases she tries to scare us with came about because an unusually good long-term contract with its electricity supplier expired. The increase merely brought Bristol’s rates up to the regional average and was unrelated to telecommunications. The truth is easy to find in Bristol’s local newspaper.
Cox should to stop trying to block repeal of a law that serves their interests – but not those of our community – and try building a relationship with Lafayette based on trust, not deception.
I still think Cox would be smarter to quit trying to impose special disadvantages on Lafayette and simply compete. The “poor pitiful me” routine doesn’t work when the purveyor is obviously one of the biggest bullies on the block.