Guillory pushing redistricting plan with La. Family Forum
Sen. Elbert Guillory has partnered with the Louisiana Family Forum in developing a plan for redrawing the state's Senate districts following the 2010 Census — a plan which they say represents a more equitable distribution of the state's 10 majority-black districts. The plan is based on the most recent Census numbers from 2008 and calls for consolidating three of the state's majority-black Senate districts, two of them from metro New Orleans, and creating new majority-black districts in Acadiana, Rapides Parish and the river parishes. Guillory says they are releasing the plan now to generate public discussion in advance of the state legislature deciding reapportionment next Spring.
Guillory, an African American Democrat from Opelousas, recognizes he and the religious-conservative Family Forum group are un unlikely team. "It is an unusual combination," he says. "If you check my [voting] record I've not been a 100 percenter with the Family Forum, but this is not a Republican-Democrat thing. It's really not a black-white thing. They had the experience and the assets and in this situation we agreed on the basic principles and worked together to come out with an appropriate and reasonable solution. And I think it's good because there's too much Democrat vs. Republican and conservative vs. liberal. It's time for people of different ilk to work together for the benefit of the people and that's what we did in this case."
Guillory said he approached the Family Forum about working on the proposal after being impressed with the work they had done in constructing a Congressional redistricting proposal last year. The Senate redistricting plan is already provoking controversy out of New Orleans, who's delegation members are labeling it a premature power grab. Family Forum President Gene Mills writes that "the plan is designed with the population loss from New Orleans and term limits in mind. The opportunity to right decades old inequities does not come along very often. This unique moment in time affords Louisiana that opportunity." View the plan at the Family Forum's Web site here.
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.