Blinded by the LITE?
Reliable sources confirm that the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise is having financial difficulty. Due to the fact that it cannot provide the necessary software upgrades, it may be prohibited by contract from collecting the full rent of $40,000 per month from one of its largest tenants, Merlin Energy. Also confirmed is that LITE has approached members of the legislative delegation to assist it with funding for operating expenses. The request was summarily rejected since LITE supporters sold the delegation on the “if you build it, they will come” concept. “They” aren’t coming. At least not yet. Already, LITE gets $3.2 million from the state for operations and is asking for $2.8 million more. To compound matters, it’s threatening to evict its second largest tenant, Global Data Systems, over a decal issue on the big satellite in front of the center. And whatever happened to Stone Energy’s plans to do work there? Seems to me like somebody (Joey Durel or T-Joe Savoie) better grab the wheel fast. This place needs leadership. If this situation deteriorates further, Lafayette will go a long time before seeing another $30 million dollar state investment on a speculative venture.
A Man in Full
Federal Judge Tucker Melancon took senior status over the weekend (a part-time, full-salaried position federal judges can assume after a combination of age and years of service), creating a vacancy. First, let us acknowledge the passion and integrity he brought to his years on the bench. Not once did he wince at fulfilling his duties, whether it involved racial integration, or punishment of a corrupt official or a drug dealer. His rulings, demeanor and candor displayed that he set out to do the job to which he was appointed, and that it was not a stepping stone to something further. But in the political world, it creates a vacancy. A vacancy that the Shreveport legal community is mobilizing to rapidly fill with a Shreveport based judge — even though 60 percent of all federal filings in the Western District are in Lafayette and Lake Charles. Ultimately, Mary Landrieu will make the nomination to the White House. Here is a not so bold prediction: the seat will remain in Lafayette — Landrieu will not upset her new-found popularity in Acadiana. Here is a bolder one — a hunch the seat will go to a female or an African-American from Lafayette. Stay tuned.
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
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.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.