Tuesday, July 11, 2006

So much for stereotypes!

Lafayette, LA--A vibrant cultural epicenter mingling generations of Cajuns, Creoles and virtually every other ethnic group. A city with year-round festivals and regular revelry in the streets.

Salt Lake City, UT--A heavily Republican city with a lot of Mormons.

One of these cities has a diverse press with several competing media outlets and a wide range of represented opinions, while the other settles for a feel-good, corporate-monopolized media more interested in buck-raking than muckraking.

Can you guess which has which?

6 comments:

Nick said...

Lafayette is just plain bassackwards. We elected a Republican Parish-Pres., Jindal and Bush both won the parish, yet they run things like socialists. There is one newspaper. Cox Communications is the only cable provider. A government owned entity (LUS) is the only electricity provider for the city. And now, LUS is about to become Cox Communication's only competition. Until Louisiana's governments enact de-regulation of electric companies and cable companies, even the state's best economic cities (Lafayette, BR) will still be crap-holes for businesses that are not resturants.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, I don't think it's socialism at all. If nothing else, it's capitalism at its purest. Socialism comes into play when the government runs the monopolies, which is not the case in any of the situations you mentioned. For whatever other reasons LUS is getting into the fiber game, it's doing so because the "miracle" of capitalism has left Cox the only game in town. They've gobbled up independent outlets all over the country, and easily quash competition a la Wal-Mart. How is deregulation supposed to help when there doesn't seem to be any rules to begin with?

I view the press in Lafayette as a microcosm of every other business model there. Whereas a decade ago you had several thriving independent outlets, each with their own personality and reputation, now all of those outlets have been run out of business or taken over by faceless corporations. And very few honest competitors can even emerge anymore. It's not a level playing-field, and not at all "capitalistic."

Nick said...

Icon:

The problem with LUS is that they originally sold the plan to citizens as re-sellers coming in and buying bandwith from LUS to sell to consumers as private intities. That's why I was initially for the fiber program. I think LUS actually still has my letter to the editor supporting the fiber plan on their website. I even worked on a class project where I was one of a few classmates to get up and do a presentation for LUS on their fiber program, and believe me, the way it was originally sold to us is not the way it is going actually be run.

LUS "geniously" changed the model to being completely run by them, a government owned business. LUS does not have to make a profit because they can use taxpayer money for the whole operation, regardless of whether or not I want their service.

To make matters worse, LUS is the only electric provider to choose from in the city of Lafayette, meaning you have to accept their prices and customer service no matter what, unless you want to live like the Amish. Meanwhile, around the city of Houston alone, there are over 15 different electricity providers, ranging in various prices and services. Some are higher than LUS, some are lower. Regardless, they are allowed to compete.

Capitalism did not bring in the Cox Cable monopoly. Underhanded government contracts and pandering did, and that is the only good thing that MIGHT come from the current LUS plan, at least one other choice. Why can't Lafayette residents choose from C-Bridge or Charter for cable? Because of government putting its nose where it doesn't belong, in business contracts and regulations that restrict competition.

I submit that if LUS is allowed to compete wholely in the telecommunications market, then every electric provider, phone provider, and cable provider should be allowed into the city of Lafayette as well. Of course, then Louisiana politcians would have to find another way to boost their pocketbooks.

Ian McGibboney said...

It was always my understanding that LUS was offering a fiber service. I was always fine with it, because it was an alternative that people could choose to buy or not buy. I'm not even sure that taxpayer money would have gone into its production (I think the bonds were supposed to be paid off by profits), but even if it did, it's a better use of such funds than most other things for which the city uses them.

I actually have no problem with a government-run business, because it's simply one more option in the marketplace. If they can't compete, then they won't last. Even if they are less concerned about profits (which I doubt), they still aren't going to last long if people don't like their operation.

The fact that LUS is an energy monopoly in the area (along with SLEMCO and CLECO, apparently?) says more about local business conditions than about government repression over the private sector. I'm not aware of any government movement to disallow companies to compete here. More likely, they just don't feel like the numbers are worth setting up shop.

The difference between energy and cable is that more people complain about the latter than the former. Most people probably aren't clamoring for energy choices like they are for cable options. Especially since the prominent example of energy choice is Houston, not exactly a model of private-sector energy management.

Nick said...

check out this article:

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060712/BREAKINGNEWS/60712011

Blanco just vetoed a bill that would have allowed for cable companies to compete throughout Louisiana. She vetoed it b/c she feared it would affect revenues garnered by cities with contracts with cable companies, meaning she was afraid it would mean less money for politicans who have been bought by cable monopolies.

The electric provider market has been de-regulated throughout TX, from my knowledge. How is having a choice b/twn 5 or more providers not a good thing? Slemco and Cleco, unless I'm wrong, are not offered within the city limits of Lafayette. Also, why would Houston not be a good example of private-sector energy management. The place is pretty much the energy capital of the country, if not the world.

The leftist southpaw said...

Think Salt Lake is Conservative? Check out Provo!