[Editor’s Note: The following submission is by Don Bacque, a Lafayette financial planner and member last year of the Charter Commission that recommended the parishwide proposition on deconsolidation — a proposition that was roundly rejected last October. Bacque is also a former state representative who in the early 1990s was instrumental in shepherding the legislation that led to the consolidation of Lafayette’s city and parish governments. As a charter commissioner last year, Bacque was in the minority that opposed deconsolidation, and, with fellow pro-deconsolidation commissioner Bruce Conque, made the rounds of Lafayette’s civic groups and smaller municipal governments to offer presentations highlighting their respective positions. Although Bacque opposed splitting up Lafayette city and parish governments, he maintained throughout the process that the Lafayette Home Rule Charter — the constitution for Lafayette Consolidated Government — needs to be amended to give the city of Lafayette greater control over its finances and affairs. As an addendum to this note, The Ind recommends revisiting Managing Editor Walter Pierce’s May 9, 2012 column calling for a weighted vote by council members — an idea that arguably could solve virtually all the city of Lafayette’s autonomy issues.]
“Hey Don, what’s happening with the charter”?
I hear this question much too often and struggle with a reply.
The answer is that until the council reconvenes a charter commission or committee, nothing will happen.
Bruce Conque and I, as well as Rob Guidry from the Lafayette Chamber, appeared at a council meeting earlier this year to urge action. Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux has told us he requested the council address this issue, yet nothing has happened. If you are feeling as frustrated as we are, I urge you to make your wishes known to the Council Chair, Jared Bellard, as he controls what is placed on the agenda. Someone needs to start this issue towards resolution.
We all know that although the vote to remain a consolidated government was significant, there are obvious flaws in the current charter that have been identified and are easily remedied. Some additional issues are more controversial, but also need to be addressed. Government is expert at “kicking the can down the road”. We need to tell them now that we need action, not procrastination. Now is the time for leadership, not partisanship. Now is the time for all the citizens who want a more progressive government to make those wishes known to the council. Until that happens, nothing will happen with the charter.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.