Ezell, Kennedy likely frontrunners for District 6 Council seat
This week, the Lafayette City-Parish Council is scheduled to begin interviewing applicants to fill the District 6 council seat being vacated by Bruce Conque. Conque announced last month he would be leaving the council for a new job with the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. The council will be appointing an interim replacement for Conque at its Oct. 7 meeting. The appointee will serve through April 4, 2009, when a special election will be held to determine who will fill out the remainder of Conque’s term. Whoever the council appoints to serve in the interim will not be allowed to run for the seat next spring.
The deadline for interested applicants was 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15. As of press time Monday, the council had received seven applications. They include KVOL program director and talk radio host Todd C. Elliott, attorney Judith Kennedy, local sales rep Raymond Doré, retired oilfield executive Lewis Kellog, retired businessman Richard Prevost, and Tsunami owner Michele Ezell. A final application came in Monday from local attorney John Bernhardt, who’s also chairman of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee.
Of the applicants, the frontrunners appear to be Kennedy and Ezell. Kennedy is active with the local bar association and was rumored to have been eyeing a run for state district judge against Phyllis Keaty earlier this year. Ezell has been active locally with both the chamber and Downtown Lafayette Unlimited. Both City-Parish President Joey Durel and Council Chairman Don Bertrand have echoed sentiment that the appointment may be a good opportunity for the all-male council to welcome a female colleague. The council has not had a female member since city and parish government consolidated in 1996, and only three women have attempted to run for council seats. Following Conque’s announcement last month, Durel told The Independent Weekly, “If you get a woman on the council, even for this short period, it might encourage other women to step up and run for office.”
Durel says he will not recommend a specific person for the post.
Cravins ad highlights conservative credentials
State Sen. Don Cravins Jr. has launched his first TV ad in his campaign for Congress. Based on the message, you’d have a hard time knowing that Cravins was the Democratic candidate in the race. Titled “our dad,” the ad features Cravins’ two children, Dominique and Don Cravins III introducing their father, who describes himself as “pro life, pro gun and against higher taxes.” Cravins also touts his support for domestic drilling — an issue that has recently become a rallying cry of Republicans. The Opelousas state senator appears to be making good on his strategy to “out conservative” his opponent, Republican incumbent Charles Boustany, and guard against any ideas Republicans may have of grouping him in with more liberal members of his party. Cravins has said he is a proud Democrat but not afraid to buck his party on some issues. Cravins’ campaign spokesman Richard Carbo says the campaign has made a “robust buy” for the first ad but could not specify what areas of the 7th Congressional District the ad would be running.
Landrieu’s dubious distinction
The nonprofit government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has just released its fourth annual list of “The 20 most corrupt members of Congress,” and Louisiana is well represented. Not surprisingly, indicted New Orleans Congressman William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson returns to the roster. Perhaps more controversially, second term Sen. Mary Landrieu has found herself on the list for the first time. CREW cites Landrieu’s support for a $2 million earmark that went to one of her campaign contributors to implement the Voyager literacy program in D.C. schools. The earmark was the subject of a scathing Washington Post investigation earlier this year, which noted how the reading program was largely untested and how one of the heads of Voyager threw a major fund-raiser for Landrieu around the time the funds were appropriated by Congress. Landrieu has since defended herself with documentation showing that the earmark for Voyager was supported by D.C. school officials and had been in the works several months prior to the fund-raiser.
With CREW’s dubious distinction, Landrieu’s campaign has prepared a fact sheet disputing the charge of corruption. The campaign says Voyager is a worthwhile children’s literacy program supported by many officials including Louisiana’s other senator, David Vitter. Landrieu’s camp also cites a January 2008 article by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call alleging that CREW’s ethics targets are at times at political odds with the organization’s donors, which it does not disclose. Landrieu is up for re-election this year, facing off against Republican John Kennedy in the Nov. 4 election. Kennedy’s campaign has pounced on Landrieu’s inclusion in CREW’s “most corrupt” list. Kennedy spokesman Lenny Alcivar says the list shows that “Washington is broken — and Mary Landrieu helped break it.”
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.