It also features a derisive editorial that labels veteran African-American city-parish councilmen Louis Benjamin and Chris Williams as being "stuck on stupid." African-American Prejean is a candidate for District 44 state representative, a race Williams is also eyeing.
The site has become a political football, with several city-parish officials refusing to comment on it or dismissing the site. When asked if it was appropriate to have his office bio linked from a site that blasts two of the city-parish councilmen he works with, Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley answered, "I will not comment on the site."
Durel replied similarly, saying he assumes that LCG's Web site "belongs to the public therefore it is fair game." He declined further comment on Prejean's site.
The site raises the question of how far Web site operators can go in using Lafayette Consolidated Government's name to lend credence to their own political positions. According to Lafayette attorney William Goode, who handles free speech issues, Stanley and Durel are public figures whose pictures can be pulled from LCG's publicly owned Web site. Therefore, even if a hate group was using his picture on its site, Durel may not be able to force them to remove it.
"It's all public stuff," Goode says. "It's out there anyway."
Goode notes the only time the mayor may be able to force an organization to remove his picture is if it in some way constituted defamation.
In the case of Prejean's site, Goode says it purports to be a discussion board for local government issues, all the more reason for it to include a picture of the mayor with links to the LCG Web site. Durel and Stanley were only recently made aware of Prejean's site and never gave him permission to use their pictures; both say their presence on the site is not an endorsement of Prejean's candidacy.
However, the two also have not asked Prejean to take the pictures down. And a day after being shown the site, Durel made comments that echo Prejean's grievances with Benjamin and Williams. The Advocate quoted Durel as saying that north Lafayette needs better leadership from "people who aren't angry and bitter," a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to Williams and Benjamin.
In an editorial titled "Benjamin and Williams embarrass constituents," Prejean writes that Williams and Benjamin are confrontational to the point of being counterproductive and accuses Williams of being used as a political pawn of Gov. Kathleen Blanco's husband Ray Blanco, whom Williams used to work for at UL Lafayette.
Councilman Bruce Conque, who serves as the council liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission, says Planning Commissioner Prejean is within his rights to operate the site and doesn't feel it will compromise relations between the council and the commission.
"He's entitled to freedom of speech," Conque says. "As far as his ability to perform as a commissioner, I don't see any problem there. If there is a move to remove him, that can come before the council and is subject to a majority vote.
"I looked at the site. I read it in detail," he continues. "I don't think it could be considered as a mouthpiece for consolidated government. He has the right to link to our site, there's nothing that prevents that. As for the pictures, the only people who could question that are Joey and Dee."
Prejean launched his site last spring, billing it as "an online publishing community of writers, readers and educators who have come together to share their passion."
The site features news on several of Prejean's own initiatives, including updates on an alliance of black ministers he helped organize to fight for renaming a major Lafayette street after Martin Luther King Jr.; a planning commission project to develop a master plan for North Lafayette; and a link to his other Web site, www.fredprejean.com, that is dedicated to his candidacy for state representative.
Prejean says he was motivated to post his editorial on Benjamin and Williams by comments from people in the black community who were afraid to speak out against the councilmen. He claims Benjamin and Williams label white people who speak out against them as racists and any other black person who opposes them as a "spook by the door," a pejorative term referring to a black person who spies on the black community for white people.
"I thought, somebody needs to just step forward and tell the truth and hopefully others will follow," says Prejean. "Since that time," he adds, "I think Mr. Louis [Benjamin] and Williams have kind of backed off because they're beginning to realize that they are not the only people in the district who have ideas."
Benjamin could not be reached for comment. Williams says, "I'm not going to comment on Fred Prejean. I don't really respond to those types of editorials where people are giving their personal opinions. I haven't seen the Web site. I don't know what Mr. Prejean's motives are, but we'll address them at the appropriate time."
Since posting his article on Benjamin and Williams two weeks ago, Prejean says he has received about 15 e-mails commenting on the site. "Absolutely all of the e-mail I've received has been very positive," he says.
He also says that since the editorial's debut, his site has registered more than 1,000 hits. Prior to that, he says his site was averaging roughly 100 hits a month. The increased traffic may motivate him to more actively manage the site, which he has been updating about once a month. "This started out as a hobby," he notes. "As people begin to visit the site and it becomes more popular, I'm going to [update] it weekly if I have to. I'm hoping I can keep people interested."
In the meantime, government officials are doing their best to appear disinterested in Prejean's Web site. "Fred did this completely on his own, and I really couldn't comment on it," says Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman John Barras.
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.