In August 2001, in spite of overwhelming public support for a city-parish ordinance that would protect Lafayette's beautiful old live oak trees from unnecessary destruction during commercial development, the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted by a six to three margin against the proposed tree ordinance. The reason given by the councilmen voting against the ordinance was that government should not interfere with the rights of private property owners.

Now we read where our local city-parish council and state government have approved the use of taxpayer money to pay off millions of dollars in bonds to be used by developer Stirling Properties to build a shopping center anchored by Target and J.C. Penny ("Tale of the TIF," Oct. 25). Furthermore, taxpayers will pick up 100 percent of the costs to build the infrastructure that will facilitate this private commercial development.

Those councilmen who voted against the tree ordinance and for the use of taxpayer money for the benefit of private commercial development are hypocrites. It is time to revisit the live oak tree protection issue and for our city-parish council to understand that only they can insure that private commercial development does not ignore the principles of beneficial urban growth and development, and that the quality of life within our community is maintained and improved, as Lafayette continues to grow and develop at a very rapid pace.

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