HEEE’S BACK ... If you thought Patrick LeBlanc was going to quietly go back to running his private prison empire after fellow Republican Page Cortez beat him in last autumn’s District 43 state representative race, think again. Early last month, LeBlanc mailed out a five-page survey to “concerned citizens” in Lafayette Parish. The voluntary survey asks respondents their opinions on a variety of national and local political issues, including potential future challengers for City-Parish President Joey Durel, District Attorney Mike Harson, Sheriff Mike Neustrom, Clerk of Court Louis Perret and state Sen. Mike Michot. It’s clear that even if LeBlanc decides not to make another run for public office, he intends to work behind the scenes to potentially influence future elections.
The kicker? LeBlanc’s note that the survey results will be published in Acadiana Gazette. LeBlanc and Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee member Ron Gomez — one of LeBlanc’s biggest supporters in the District 43 battle against Cortez — are now respectively the CEO and publisher of the small community newspaper distributed in Youngsville, Broussard and Lafayette. It’s no secret that LeBlanc and Gomez aren’t fans of Michot and independent state Rep. Joel Robideaux, whose political action committee Leadership for Louisiana hit LeBlanc hard for his company’s involvement in the Texas prison scandal that recently landed former Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez’s campaign manager a 10-year prison sentence. Patrick LeBlanc has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing related to the case but is currently still under investigation by the FBI.
The big question regarding LeBlanc and Gomez’s new involvement with Acadiana Gazette is whether the paper’s political coverage — if there is any — will become a bully pulpit for its top brass.
BOUSTANY TO INHERIT MCCRERY’S LEADERSHIP PAC ... Second-term U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany’s stock is on the rise with the pending departure of the state’s two more senior Republican Congressmen. Both Richard Baker of Baton Rouge and Jim McCrery of Shreveport are stepping down from their Congressional seats this year to move into private sector jobs. The Shreveport Times reports that McCrery plans to bestow his leadership Political Action Committee, called the Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism, to Boustany. Leadership PACs are set up by senior congressmen to both raise money and then filter funds to other congressional colleagues and organizations, helping the congressman to boost his stature in party ranks. “I’m going to make [Boustany] as senior as he can be,” McCrery told the Shreveport newspaper. “It will give him a head start at leadership.”
According to reports from the Federal Elections Commission, The Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism raised about $624,000 and spent about $616,000 in 2007. It currently has approximately $368,000 funds on hand. Its contributions have come from a wide variety of industry lobbying groups, with some of the heaviest donations coming in from drug manufacturers as well as physician and other medical industry groups.
JINDAL, LANDRIEU PUSH FOR NEW ORLEANS PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ... Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu have asked the top four presidential contenders to debate in New Orleans this summer. A joint letter sent to Sen. John McCain, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama asks the candidates to attend “a Town Hall meeting” in June and assures them that “New Orleans is open and ready for business.” The letter reads in part:
“We believe that it is incumbent upon national figures and those who seek the office of the presidency in particular to shine the national spotlight on the people and places in our country which deserve to be highlighted. The people of the Gulf Coast continue to recover and rebuild from the devastating storms of 2005 and those efforts are an incredible window into the many challenges facing not just New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast, but our entire country.”
In November, the commission on presidential debates passed over New Orleans as a site for debates, claiming that the city didn’t measure up. The Times-Picayune called the decision “a shameful rebuff” and The New York Times wrote that “a disservice has been done to the electorate and the nation.” The letter also adds: “As you know, the presidential Debate Commission did not select New Orleans as one of their official sites. This was a terrible misjudgment and their reasoning that the city was somehow not ready to host a large scale event was flat wrong.”
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Nathan Stubbs and R. Reese Fuller
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)