Lafayette City-Parish Councilmen William Theriot and Jared Bellard inducted into the 2010 Couillon Hall of Fame — and they’ve done so little to earn it. Written by The Editors
If rural residents of Lafayette Parish can’t understand the big move by many city dwellers to deconsolidate, they need to look no farther than the behavior of our newest inductees into The Ind’s Couillon Hall of Fame, councilmen William Theriot (District 9) and Jared Bellard (District 5 ).
They join the club along with former Opelousas Police Chief Larry Caillier, no slacker or stranger to the world of goofy government until he was unceremoniously de-throned by state and federal investigators. (Not familiar with Mr. Caillier’s couillon qualifications? See “Couillon in Chief,” The Independent Weekly, Aug. 11, 2004).
What motivates us to place these two elected officials in the august company of Mr. Caillier when they’ve served only three years in office? Because they’re putting the stink in distinction of public service. Take Theriot, who seems to style himself as the tall silent Clint Eastwood type, the mysterious Spaghetti Western gunslinger in the big hat, who sits squinty-eyed in the barroom corner chewing on a tooth pick, watching everything, saying little, but thinking very, very big thoughts. Or Bellard, who also plays the quiet, silent type — very, very quietly — like in the silence of Harpo Marx, if his performances at council meetings are the measure.
Their latest dubious achievement? Supplying last week the opposing 2 in the 7-2 council vote against City-Parish President Joey Durel’s winning proposal that funded the $500,000 down payment on the 100-acre horse farm and also funded the new and much-needed NGO formula for local arts and cultural organizations. Fortunately a clear thinking majority of the council did recognize the value and wisdom of the funding mechanism Durel’s proposal created. And passed it.
But their “no” vote on the horse farm/NGO funding was hardly an isolated example of Theriot and Bellard’s pattern of voting behavior. As best we could determine from talking with regular council watchers, over the past three years Theriot has voted “no” on every city parish operations budget submitted while proposing nothing as an alternative or substitute. Nothing. Or that Theriot has never introduced a single piece of council legislation in the entire time he’s been there. For Theriot doing nothing is enough. Or that two weeks ago they voted against a “go-cup” ordinance designed to bring a little sanity to the rowdy downtown Lafayette weekend bar scene. Both have routinely voted against funding the annual $72,000 subsidy for our great Festival International, but Bellard’s got no problem showing up to collect his three VIP festival passes — and enjoying the perks that go with them. Bellard’s voted “no,” without explanation, against Lafayette receiving a no-strings-attached $493,778 Louisiana Highway Safety Commission grant for DWI enforcement vehicles. Why? Who knows? He later said he meant to vote “yes.”
Or how about Bellard’s deer-in-the-headlights reaction to the deconsolidation movement that he and his podna have done so much to foster. Stunned by the city dwellers’ efforts to return to separate forms of government, he asked, with Lafayette receiving so much national recognition and many “Best Of” and “Top 10” awards, why we would want to break up such a good thing by de-consolidating. Blissfully oblivious, Bellard doesn’t recognize the very large dots that connect those national accolades with the mainstays of Lafayette’s quality of life — the cultural events, festivals, museums, and arts programs that others see but he wants to de-fund.
Rural residents of Lafayette Parish who don’t understand the anger and frustration driving the move to de-consolidate need to tune in to regular City-Parish Council meetings on Cox or LUS and catch these guys in, er, action. Meanwhile, Theriot and Bellard need a serious civics lesson about elected representation. Showing up to vote “no” isn’t what your districts elected you to do. Voters expect leadership, not laziness. — The Editors
JUNE 17 If anyone ever wonders why Saints fans hate Atlanta with a capital H, here's a good indication. Radio "professionals" at an Atlanta station created an entire segment around making fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is now paralyzed by ALS. Listen, nobody's ever accused DJs of being rocket scientists. But how could someone think it is amusing to pretend to ask a man with a degenerative, fatal disease if he will be alive next week? The DJs have been fired, and are now whining about how gutless their former bosses are. Wow.
JUNE 18 Here's the latest from the Advocate on the fatal hit-and-run accident allegedly involving the president of the Livingston Parish School Board. He's accused by police of hitting a 21-year-old man on a highway early Sunday and driving away. The man died at a hospital later. On Monday, police seized the president's truck and towed it away. But he's available for board meetings: apparently a $500 bond is sufficient for this type of thing over in St. Helena Parish.
JUNE 18 Former broadcast journalist Griffin Scott has posted this plea on his blog for financial assistance from his readers. Scott, who says he was fired after he wrote something fairly innocuous (for Facebook) on his wall, is suing a media giant for his job back. He's framed himself as David going after a bloated media giant, and he's probably not far off.
JUNE 18 Here's a fairly absurd column posted on DIG Magazine about the completely absurd practice of naming killer storms. Tornadoes don't have names. Blizzards don't have names. But hurricanes do, and there's a big process to bestow them, Jacques Cormery writes. He's right about the crazy assemblage of names -- this year, there's everything from Tanya to Humberto -- and his idea that we don't waste good names on killer storms is a good one.
JUNE 17 Political columnist John Maginnis has some advice for Louisiana Republicans: grow up. After the schism that occurred in this past session - fiscal hawks teaming up with Democrats to spank the Republican "majority" and hand Gov. Jindal his, er, aspirations for continued solon control -- they need to figure out how to get along with each other, Maginnis writes.
JUNE 17 Here's the Picayune's obit story for Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the lady who made poboys at the uptown restaurant that bears her name. Miss Dot moved to New Orleans during World War II, where she met and married her husband Sam. When she passed away Friday she was 90, and had spent more than 60 of those years working at the restaurant on Annunciation Street.
JUNE 17 This editorial in the Advocate speaks in favor of the consent decrees that have federal judges overseeing police operations and the sheriff's parish prison in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman can't get along, so outside forces, like the Inspector General and the judges, are needed to make sure things run right, the editorial opines.
JUNE 18 Here's a post from Manny Schewitz on Forward Progressives that is good for a chuckle. Manny had an epiphany back in November, and is sharing it with us today: he believes that Fox "News" is killing the GOP by pandering to right wing nuts. Now, don't get it twisted: Manny's not broke up about it. He says he enjoys watching the downward spiral with a shot of whiskey and "a schadenfreude chaser."
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.