Editor’s Note: Still in mourning over the loss of his distant relative and mentor Deep Throat — and not one to let a great tradition die — Peep Goat debuts in this week’s issue. We finally coaxed Peep out of the shadows to bring reliable sources and piercing insight to all, not just a chosen few. Peep’s contributions will run more weekly than not — as the spirits move him, or her. You see, Peep’s identity, by its very nature, must remain a closely guarded secret known only to management here at The Independent Weekly. So off we go on a new adventure in journalism with a trusted and wise old friend. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Peep Goat, the INDsider’s insider.
Man of the House
State Rep. Joel Robideaux may be quietly making moves to position himself to succeed House Speaker Pro-Tem Karen Carter. It’s widely speculated Carter will be offered a position in the Obama administration, as she was one of the president’s earliest, more visible supporters in the Democratic primary. Robideaux, an independent, is as a low key/behind-the-scenes-operator in the House. Seldom seen making “grandstanding” speeches on bills or introducing legislation that draws lots of media frenzy, he is nonetheless respected as an honest and effective House member. He’d be a good balance to the often vocal — and never camera shy — House Speaker Jim Tucker. Robideaux’s ascent would place Lafayette political power at a premium, with Sen. Mike Michot continuing to serve as finance chair.
Band of Brothers
Nothing seems to have unified the fragmented black political structure of north Lafayette more than the special election to fill the seat of former state Sen. Donald Cravins Jr. The special election, to be held April 4, is a rematch of the Cravins Machine (this episode featuring Patricia, the mother) against State Rep. Elbert Guillory, the Rutgers-educated Opelousas lawyer who’s become the flag bearer of the “anti-Cravins” movement. Guillory defeated the Cravins machine in his own 2007 election, as well as in the St. Landry Parish sheriff’s race, where he supported Bobby Guidroz over the black candidate Laura Balthazar. The opportunity to place a dagger in the Cravins machine has apparently motivated the Young Turks of the Lafayette African-American political community, as Rep. Rickey Hardy is leading the charge for Guillory in Lafayette’s north side community. Col. Terry Landry, former head of state police who ran against Hardy last year for state rep, is supporting Guillory. The district is roughly 56 percent St. Landry and 44 percent Lafayette. It is apparent Hardy and Shelvin see it as an opportunity to reshuffle the power structure in the black community after a 20-year reign by the Cravins family.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.