David Thibodaux surprised many supporters and critics last week when he stepped down as Lafayette Parish School Board president. Thibodaux has frequently disagreed with Judge Richard Haik over the school board's desegregation case and hopes his resignation will now clear the way for an expedited hearing. Other board members are less convinced of the impact it will have on the case.
"I wish he would have just finished out his term, rather than create any more controversy," says board member Mike Hefner. "I don't think [stepping down as president] is going to make any difference."
Haik ruled earlier this year to delay a ruling in the deseg case until the board gets further into its five-year plan focusing on schools of choice. (The school system is now in its third year of the plan.) Against Thibodaux's recommendation, the board voted earlier this year not to appeal Haik's decision and is expected to re-apply for unitary status sometime this year.
Thibodaux says he often felt restrained from speaking out on issues while he was the representative leader of the board. "That yoke has been lifted from me now," he says. "It's a major mistake for anyone to think that this means I'm going away. I'm going be even more vocal on issues that are important to me, including the deseg case." Board member John Earl Guidry is now stepping in as president. ' NS
KENNEDY'S I-49 PLAN
State Treasurer John Kennedy may not be the most popular politician in the state right now ' a vocal opponent of the proposed sugar syrup mill in Bunkie, he's soured his relationship with some folks in central Louisiana ' but Lafayette leaders are real sweet on him.
At the May 19 Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Eggs & Issues event at the Petroleum Club, Kennedy outlined his plan for overcoming I-49's financial obstacles without raising taxes. He's proposing the state use $15 million in annual excess unclaimed property collections to service the bond debt on its 20 percent of the project to complete I-49 from New Orleans to Arkansas (a plan that will ultimately stretch the interstate from New Orleans to Canada). The strategy calls for the feds to match 80 percent of the $750 million project.
Kennedy, who also serves as chairman of the state's Bond Commission, says the plan doesn't take anyone's property or change the state's commitment to return it. Each year the state collects $30 million to $40 million in unclaimed property, only half of which is spoken for. The excess goes into the general fund until owners step forward. The state has been aggressively collecting unclaimed property in recent years, which should lessen the impact on the general fund if this plan, House Bill 654, makes it through the state Legislature this session.
Completion of the northern end of the interstate is estimated to create 17,000 jobs for the state, and the southern extension would create more than 61,000, Kennedy says. ' LT
BRUUUUCE & THE BLUERUNNERS
Bruce Springsteen is warming up fans for his current sold-out national tour for his new CD, Devils and Dust, with a solid helping of Acadiana music. Prior to his shows, Springsteen is playing a number of handmade compilation CDs spotlighting his own favorites over the PA systems, and Lafayette Cajun rock ensemble The Bluerunners has three songs in the rotation. "Voodoo Mens and Voodoo Dolls," "Ghost of a Girl" and "Big Head" from the Bluerunners' new album, Honey Slides, got the nod from The Boss. BeauSoleil and the late Beau Jocque also have one song each in Springsteen's CD changer. (Springsteen's tour, unfortunately, doesn't currently have any Louisiana shows booked.) For the full list of Springsteen's choices, visit www.brucespringsteen.net/live/walkinmusic.html. ' SJ
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Pat Bowlen steps down; typhoon caused Taiwan plane crash; Arizona execution botched and more national and international news for Thursday, July 24, 2014.
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.
"I feel like I'm under siege," an attorney said recently over drinks at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. "We all do. Every time I turn around somebody wants a check. District attorney races. The judges. They're killing us."
As a requirement for running for Congress in the 6th District, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has filed his financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House showing his income in 2013 totaling $242,787.
Unlike those swindled by Bernie Madoff, the victims of Texas businessman Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme won’t be getting any relief from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.’s emergency fund after a recent appellate court ruling.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over Common Core, which has become controversial since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in 2010.
The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."
State police have arrested a 42-year-old Kaplan man in the July 7 hit and run fatality crash that killed a bicyclist on Louisiana Highway 92 near Milton.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy has picked up support for his U.S. Senate campaign from a former GOP competitor.
Lisa Hargis Smith lived a mysterious life as seen with her death earlier this month and its impact on the community of those who knew her, whether as a star student in Lafayette High’s class of ‘69, or later as a woman struggling with homelessness and mental illness.
Attorney Valerie Gotch Garrett will announce on Tuesday that she plans to run for the Division E seat of the 15th Judicial District Court.
Back in 2012, three Baton Rouge attorneys came to the aid of several disgruntled police officers with a high-profile lawsuit against the Lafayette Police chief and a number of higher-ups in city-parish government, but in a federal courtroom Thursday, their claims of conspiracy coupled with a lack of evidence backfired and the case was dismissed.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration intends to rework how it pays the private managed care networks that provide health services to two-thirds of Louisiana's Medicaid patients.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is raising health insurance rates and cutting benefits for state employees and retirees, to keep their insurance program solvent.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials spent much of Thursday reviewing their reaction to this week’s bomb threat, which led to the closure and evacuation of UL Lafayette and Girard Park, and a massive search Wednesday for two alleged explosive devices.
"We're not in a better place from the policy perspective than we were two weeks ago," says Education Superintendent John White, commenting on Thursday's face-to-face meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal to discuss their dispute over Common Core.
Gov. Bobby Jindal appears to remain unmoved by offers of a compromise on procuring testing materials tied to the Common Core based on a terse statement his office released following a meeting Thursday with Superintendent John White.