Councilmen Jared Bellard, Andy Naquin and William Theriot
There’s not getting it, and then there’s really not getting it. Councilmen Jared Bellard, William Theriot and Andy Naquin really don’t get it. Or they’re just pandering to their base.
Exhibit A: “I don’t think government services give me more quality of life. Quality of life is what I can give my family and friends.” That’s Bellard quoted in today’s Advertiser from a Monday meeting with local conservative groups.
Paved roads and functional traffic signals, street lights, police and fire protection, drainage, garbage pick-up, public parks, recreation centers and safe drinking water — services provided through Lafayette Consolidated Government — do not enhance Councilman Bellard’s quality of life. He is a family man. He probably doesn’t live next to a hog farm or chemical factory thanks to (somewhat) sensible zoning regulations enforced by his local government. But the swine stench or vexing vapors are of no never mind: Councilman Bellard is indoors. With his family and friends.
Exhibit B: “We’re not anti-progress. We believe in progress, but we believe in wise progress. I’m a numbers guy — I look at what we’re taking in and what we’re spending. If we can’t afford it, we can’t afford it,” Theriot, our wise progressive, says in the same article, ignoring the inconvenient little truth that “consolidated” government in Lafayette Parish is way out of whack. Government revenues haven’t kept pace with inflation, and the city of Lafayette underwrites the prosperity of this entire parish by siphoning its general fund to buttress a variety of public-service functions, the costs of which should be more evenly shared by the parish and smaller towns. That’s why a “blue ribbon” commission is about to start studying how taxes are levied across the parish.
Four million bucks is sucked from the city’s general fund every year to subsidize the Parks & Recreation Department, which everyone in the parish benefits from but which is otherwise funded by a paltry property tax paid by city of Lafayette property owners that was approved in the early 1960s when Lafayette could count the number of parks on its fingers. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Gov. Bobby Jindal regurgitated an iteration of this wrong-headed simile Monday when he was not in Louisiana: “Every family has to balance their budget, isn’t allowed to spend more than they need ...”
If you bought your house and your car with cash, congratulations, you’re exceptional. But most of us, just like government, borrow. We have mortgages and car notes. We are loaned money by a lender who is confident in our ability to repay the loan — with interest. We buy houses and cars and refrigerators and a lot of big-ticket crap we don’t need with those loans. Likewise, government sells bonds. Investors buy the bonds confident that when the bonds mature they will cash in those bonds with interest. And they line up to buy those bonds because Lafayette has a stellar bond rating, which is tantamount to a great credit rating. If you have a good credit rating banks are eager to lend you money. They know you’ll pay them back with interest, which is how they make money. Bonds are the same damn thing.
And businesses do it, too: they borrow money from banks to invest in themselves, to expand and grow. It happens every day, everywhere. We all — individuals, business, governments — spend money we don’t have.
Exhibit C: “You can’t tell me the administration didn’t know about that waste transfer station ahead of time and didn’t know what was going on,” Naquin is quoted as saying. This is during the part of the meeting where the three amigos are bitching about LCG using surplus property tax funds from mosquito control to pay a settlement to the company that obtained — legally — the proper permits to build the waste transfer station in unincorporated Lafayette, only to be blocked from completing construction when the council voted unanimously to put the kibosh on the project, which led to the lawsuit (another federal lawsuit in the matter is pending) in the first place. Does Naquin not understand that it doesn’t even matter who knew what and when?
The cost of that vote: $3.4 million.
Think about that: A company legally obtains construction and environmental permits, begins construction — it’s all above board — the council votes unanimously to block completion of the project, the company understandably files suit against LCG to recoup its expenses, LCG settles the lawsuit and these guys are griping about how LCG paid the settlement? It was their fault LCG got sued. It’s just a wonder the settlement wasn’t paid out of the city’s general fund. Is that the preference of the three amigos? Or do they think LCG should have shut down a road project to pay for this lawsuit?
This is also the height of hypocrisy for these tea party darlings: Isn’t the tea party much about getting government out of the private sector’s way? They are government, and they got in the private sector's way!
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.