NoiseMaker: Rochon Entry Shakes Up District 3 Race
Shortly before qualifying closed last Thursday, District 3 City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin was blindsided by a formidable opponent.
(Truth be told, the embattled councilman knew someone would challenge him, because we’d told him so. Our sources say he just didn’t know who.)
Carencro City Manager Lloyd Rochon, who vied for the District 3 City-Parish Council seat four years ago, qualified for the post Thursday afternoon. And while he insists he will run on his credentials and his desire to serve, Rochon says he has long vowed not to let Shelvin walk back into office. When it appeared that the controversial first-term councilman may have no opposition, Rochon says his wife, Eva Dell, also stepped up to the challenge and encouraged him to seek the seat once again.
Largely an unknown candidate — but backed by a faction of the black community that included then-influential KJCB radio — Shelvin ran first among a field of five in the 2007 primary, and Rochon received 15 percent of the vote, losing a runoff spot to Shawn Wilson’s 18 percent.
In the general election, Wilson was defeated by Shelvin, who garnered 57 percent of the vote. It’s been all downhill since for Shelvin, who — elected at 30 years old — became the youngest person to serve on Lafayette’s consolidated council.
Saying he wants the opportunity to help move District 3 forward, Rochon does believe Shelvin’s character will be an issue this time around. “People know [Shelvin] now, and they also know me. So they have a clear choice,” Rochon says. “When people elect a person as a council member, they put their sacred trust in that individual,” Rochon continues. “And when a person betrays that trust, they should be replaced. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Rochon, who retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1977 after 22 years, has a long history of government involvement. “My résumé speaks for itself,” he says. Rochon worked as a communications consultant for South Central Bell for a short time and was director of federal programs for the Lafayette Parish Police Jury from 1979 until 1984, when parish government was formed and he became the first and only person to serve as clerk of the Lafayette Parish Council. After consolidation of city and parish governments in 1996, he took over as clerk of the Lafayette City-Parish Council, retiring in 2001. Within six months Rochon says he was antsy and wanted to be back at work. He immediately accepted a newly created position with the city of Carencro administration, a post he plans to keep if elected. In 2007 Rochon sought an opinion from the Louisiana Attorney General that cleared him to keep his job if he were elected to the council.
Rochon is a charter member of the St. Anthony’s Knights of Peter Claver and a past state president of the local organization of black Catholic men. He also received the Martin Luther King Jr. award from the Diocese of Lafayette in 1992.
Whether having an opponent in the campaign will force Shelvin to answer troubling questions about his judgment, ethics and truthfulness remains to be seen. Read the long, sordid history of the first-term District 3 councilman’s manipulation of the residency requirement for seeking the District 3 seat in 2007, abuse of his council seat, theft of extended warranty money from local residents who purchased used vehicles from him, and his ongoing legal woes at www.theind.com. Just type Brandon Shelvin in the search engine.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
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