The die is cast ' the Lafayette Utilities System's fiber-to-the-home initiative is going to a public referendum.
At press time, City-Parish President Joey Durel was scheduled to announce on Tuesday, March 15, that Lafayette Consolidated Government and LUS will not appeal judge Byron Hebert's Feb. 26 ruling requiring LUS to start over on its bonding process. Rather than challenge Hebert's decision via legal channels, Durel and LUS are going to let the people decide whether fiber-to-the-home comes to Lafayette. The referendum will be placed on the ballot of the July 16 election.
In a statement, Durel wrote, "To appeal the ruling or to proceed without a referendum would be met by further lawsuits that will endlessly stall our momentum. We cannot delay this project any further."
Durel pulled no punches against BellSouth and Cox Communications in his statement. "Having been unsuccessful in stopping our project in the Legislature, the out-of-state telecom companies know by experience that the only way to defeat our Fiber for the Future plan is at the ballot box. â?¦ The telecom companies will spend unlimited dollars in advertising to try to convince you to vote against this project. They will attempt to confuse you with misstatements, scare tactics and outright false information about the project. I urge you to be cautious and study the issues carefully."
The public referendum became inevitable in recent weeks. If LUS appealed Hebert's ruling, it risked the appearance of ramming through the project without public consent. And even if Hebert's ruling was overturned, BellSouth would likely have appealed and tried to send the case to a higher court, setting off another tortuous round of delays.
With the referendum a full four months away, Lafayette residents can expect to be bombarded with a whole new level of government and private discourse and media coverage of the fiber initiative. ' SJ
UL SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR RANTS TO 'USA TODAY'
Maybe UL Lafayette Sports Information Director Daryl Cetnar was having a really, really, really bad day. Maybe his dissatisfaction with his job had been building for some time. Maybe he wants to get fired from UL. Whatever the situation, Cetnar was clearly inspired by a USA Today poll that asked readers to write in their nominations for the Top 10 worst jobs in sports. On Feb. 27, Cetnar's response to the poll was posted on USA Today's Web site.
"My suggestion is sports information director for a mid-major football program," wrote Cetnar. "You make about $30,000 annually. The travel includes 50 events a year by bus or plane, covering 20,000 miles, and the cities are not New York or Los Angeles; think Moscow, Idaho, and Jonesboro, Ark. You work 12-hour days, designing, writing and editing press guides, releases, schedules, posters, to name a few of the duties.
"And the worst thing is small schools have no money, not even for office supplies, so SIDs are forced to take the pens and paper from hotel rooms."
As far as work rants go, it's an impressive showing. In just two quick paragraphs, Cetnar disses his salary and hours, the hometowns of UL rivals, and implies that UL's sports budget is so small that Cetnar uses Holiday Inns across the country for his stationery needs.
Reached by phone last week, Cetnar refused to comment on his comments.
Cetnar's missive isn't a big deal to UL Sports Director Nelson Schexnayder. Despite that it had been almost two weeks after Cetnar's comments appeared, Schexnayder said last Thursday that he hadn't spoken to Cetnar about the SID's letter. "I've been traveling and he's been traveling, so I haven't had a chance to talk with Daryl," says Schexnayder. Asked if he was concerned that Cetnar's comments might reflect poorly on UL, Schexnayder replied, "Frankly, no. Daryl works hard, does a good job and doesn't complain to me." ' SJ
NOT WHAT JIMMIE WALKER HAD IN MIND
Simoen Lebleu, a 44-year-old Lake Charles man, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for threatening to kill a Texas judge by sticking dynamite in his mouth. The Houston Chronicle reported last week that witnesses stated that Lebleu's threat was to show the judge "what it felt like to have somebody else control his life." On a separate conviction for threatening to have his wife killed, Lebleu will spend 10 years on probation after serving his 10-year prison sentence. On separate charges that he threatened to follow the judge home and shoot him as well as shooting him with a poisoned dart, Lebleu was found not guilty. ' RRF
Good, Bad, and Ugly are long-running items on the front page of the The Times of Acadiana's news section. In last week's edition, the paper misspelled Lafayette in the headline of its "Bad" item. ' SJ
RED STICK ROLLS
Tsunami Sushi opened its second location on the sixth floor of Baton Rouge's Shaw Center For The Arts on March 5. Located on the top floor of the $55 million multi-use center, Tsunami carries over its contemporary design from the Lafayette restaurant and looks out over the river. The Shaw Center will also include Capital City Grill, PJ's Coffee House and Wine Bar, LSU Museum of Art, Manship Theatre, LSU School of Art Gallery, a digital studio, Brunner Art Gallery and several classrooms. ' EZ
THE $225,000 QUESTION
Last week, a grand jury began hearing testimony in the investigation of alleged wrongdoing in the Opelousas Police Department. Questions as to how Chief Larry Caillier and former Maj. Ronnie Trahan handled $225,000 of federal grant money for bicycle patrols and other bookkeeping inconsistencies are at the heart of the investigation ("That Crazy Larry Caillier," Aug. 11, 2004). An audit by the State Legislative Auditor's Office released in January was highly critical of the department's handling of funds. Kris Wartelle, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Charles Foti, stated in an Associated Press story, "It's a wider, more complicated legal case than we ever thought, so we're coming back." ' RRF
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.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
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.