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
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.