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.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
NJ lady beats Donald Trump; Israel calls up more troops; border hearings accelerated and more national and international news for Thursday, July 31, 2014.
State Rep. Lenar Whitney — one of a handful of Republican candidates vying for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional district — has been described by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman as one of the most “frightening or fact-averse candidate[s]” he’s ever met following her reaction to an interview last week.
Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.
An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
The investigation and potential prosecution of the man charged in the recent hit-and-run death of a Youngsville cyclist won’t happen overnight, according to local law enforcement officials.
Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.
A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.
The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies.
The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.