LWV-Lafayette Public Policy Positions
The League of Women Voters of Lafayette supports:
Long-range Intergovernmental Planning
Adequate funding and implementation of the Lafayette parish government's comprehensive plan.
Systematic, regular joint planning by Lafayette Parish School System, Lafayette Consolidated Government, and municipalities with their technical advisory groups to ensure effective communication, including capital school projects, utilizing common data sources.
Maintenance of a compact pattern of development to avoid urban sprawl and environmental hazards, as well as lower infrastructure costs
Maintenance of a long-range strategic plan, a long-term school facilities plan, a long-term capital improvement plan, and a comprehensive maintenance plan for the public schools, developed with community input.
Natural Resource Management, Environmental Protection and Pollution Control
Increasing the amount of open green space and parks in Lafayette Parish, protecting a unique natural landscape of significant beauty, and increasing the number of sidewalks and bike paths.
Shared responsibility by all levels of government for protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems.
Preservation of physical, chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystem, with maximum protection of public health and the environment.
Promoting measures to reduce air pollution from mobile and stationary sources.
Environmentally sound policies that reduce energy growth rates, emphasize energy conservation and encourage the use of renewable resources
Promoting maximum protection of public health and safety and the environment in consideration of nuclear issues.
Promoting policies to reduce the generation and promote the reuse and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes.
Measures to reduce pollution in order to protect surface water, groundwater and drinking water.
Promoting policies that manage land as a finite resource and that incorporate principles of stewardship.
Equality of Opportunity
Shared responsibility of other levels of government with the federal government to provide equality of opportunity for education, employment and housing for all persons in the United States regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation or disability.
Full Community Benefit and Collaboration for the Fiber Network
The principles established by the City-Parish Council's endorsement of the "Bridging the Digital Divide" report have proven a workable guide and should continue to inform decision-making. In particular the community, LCG and LUS should continue to implement policies that ensure the provision of service to public institutions, continued full use of intranet bandwidth, symmetrical bandwidth, keeping additional services inexpensive, low pricing, and universal service.
The Lafayette Utilities System should reconsider providing a low-cost basic internet service tier when 30% of Lafayette residents purchase service or when it deploys a wireless network.
The concept of using the cable set top box to provide free basic internet to subscribers of the cable service is an innovative idea that needs further investigation. LUS should pursue software and hardware upgrades that could realize that potential.
Community and Lafayette Consolidated Government
The principle that a commonly owned resource should be operated in such way as to benefit all and minimize the differences between its citizen-owners should continue to guide community and governmental oversight of the LUS Fiber network.
Creative ways to take advantage of the falling cost of devices that attach to the network (desktop, laptop, or handheld) should be found, to maximize use by minimizing costs. Also, the advantages of the trend toward low cost or free network-based software should be exploited.
A community-centric portal should be developed as a place where individuals and non-profits play a key role. The portal should feature news, rich local content, and web-based software. Consideration should be given to finding long-term funding sources for such a portal.
Methods for assessing the fiber network should be put in place and include systematic gathering of pricing and services, periodic reviews by civic groups, price and service comparisons with similar systems, as well as an regularly scheduled survey of the community's uses of the network. The baseline survey recently completed should be periodically replicated and securely funded.
A diverse set of strategies should support potential uses of Lafayette's fiber network. Attention to particular needs will encourage full participation for groups like seniors or the not fully literate and those without home computers. Initial strategies should include staffed computer centers, specially designed curricula and the support of enhanced local content. The continuing education of all citizens should be the bedrock principle in this community.
The Lafayette community and LCG should continue to support Acadiana Open Channel and support extension of its educational mission. The principle of public access should be extended to the new network and a portion of that capacity reserved for free use in ways that give the local community a voice and a platform by providing advanced tools and training in its use. A fair share of the cable revenue should be allocated to AOC.
Community ownership of a communications network should be used to create a more accessible and transparent government, with more effective public health and safety policies. Local governance will also benefit by the introduction of additional income from service fees to add to those already in place. Such fees should be carefully overseen to:
- assure that prices charged remain as low as is feasible
- assure that the network is properly maintained and enhanced
- assure that support is offered to provide education in network use and the development of rich local content.
A Citizens' Oversight Board for the LUS Fiber network should be established by the Lafayette Public Utility Authority and the Lafayette City-Parish Council. The duties of the Citizens' Oversight Board should include, at the minimum, representing the community as ombudsmen and advocates to ensure equity and maximum public benefit.
More public centers with free access to computers and internet capability, such as the banks of computers accessible at the branch libraries and the Boys and Girls Club should be provided and staffed.
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