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
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.