In all likelihood, an ordinance putting a repeal of the Lafayette City-Parish Home Rule Charter before voters in November will be tabled or deferred this evening by the Lafayette City-Parish Council; several council members have expressed concern that the process is moving too fast, a sentiment shared by City-Parish President Joey Durel and the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. But vote on deconsolidation they must — three resolutions pertaining to the topic are the first action items on the agenda; the ordinance itself proposing the repeal of the charter is the first up for final adoption. By 6:30 p.m. today, Lafayette Parish should have a pretty good idea what, if anything, will be on the Nov. 2 ballot related to deconsolidation.
The council is covering its bases with Tuesday’s legislation: If the ordinance that would send deconsolidation to the voters in November is shot down or tabled, a second ordinance will be voted on that would let the parish decide in November on whether to amend the existing city-parish charter to give the council more time to redistrict the parish following the receipt of census numbers some time around next March.
Currently, the city-parish charter requires districts be redrawn at least six months before a council election. The City-Parish Council election is set for October 2011 — seven months after the likely receipt of census numbers. A redistricting plan that grows out of the census will need to be vetted by the state Bond Commission as well as the U.S. Department of Justice — a process that could take several weeks. Consequently, it’s likely the council would be unable to meet the “six months prior” requirement in the charter. The second, fall-back ordinance before the council Tuesday removes that six-month prescription. In fact, it was this dilemma that prompted council Chair Jay Castille to convene the charter committee that on Feb. 1 voted to send the deconsolidation ordinance to the council and, ultimately, to parish voters.
Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the council auditorium. To view a pdf of the agenda and related documents, click here.
MAY 20 This post by blogger CB Forgotston draws parallels between Gov. Bobby Jindal and two individuals he probably doesn't want to be aligned with: President Obama and former governor Edwin Edwards. CB says Jindal's trying to jack up the debt ceiling (an Obama play, according to CB) and buy votes from GOP leges who normally wouldn't go for that (an Edwards play, CB says).
MAY 20 Here's a post in the Baptist Message from an alumnus of Louisiana College. The author, Larry Burgess, calls on the leadership of the private school to take care of some pressing problems. Physical plant issues are critical and unaddressed, some faculty make so little they need government health care, and there is an atmosphere that does not encourage honest discussion, he writes. It's time to get things back in order, he says.
MAY 20 This post in Gambit tells of a benefit concert scheduled to raise money for the 19 people shot during a Mother's Day second line on Frenchmen Street in NOLA. Among them was Gambit blogger Deb Cotton, who spoke frequently about violence in the city and reported on the city's second line culture. Gambit's foundation, along with other NOLA non-profits, also is selling t-shirts to raise money for the victims.
MAY 20 Blogger Robert Mann is critical of the personal interest some legislators take in their work here, sharing the comments one NOLA solon made in explaining his decision to vote against a bill that would require people to stop discriminating against female workers. His wife might lose some salary, so he was going to have to vote against the equal pay bill, Conrad Appel said. Appel and everyone who heard him should have been ashamed, but they weren't, and that's what is wrong in that building, Mann argues.
MAY 20 American Press columnist Jim Beam writes about the budget again here, urging kudos for the House and its efforts to try to fix the budget as opposed to passing on a flawed and messy rubber-stamped document as it usually does. The Senate already is poo-pooing the effort, but instead Senators should be trying to find a way to improve it as well, Beam argues. He also has some predictions in here from LABI and CABL.
MAY 20 Here's a link to the photo gallery from Tulane's graduation this past weekend. Dr. John and Allen Toussaint played together and received honorary degrees. The Dalai Lama was so entranced by their performance he got up from his seat and walked across the stage to stand next to them. He even participated in a second line with his own personal, saffron-colored umbrella. To the graduates, he urged them to think about creating a peaceful, hopeful life and society.
MAY 20 This Picayune story questions the rhetoric of NOLA officials who say the city, aside from having a "murder problem," is safe. The talking points generally are that the criminals are killing each other, but everything else is OK. The police chief there says that even Lafayette is more dangerous than NOLA. But crime experts interviewed here say that NOLA's numbers indicate one of two things: either people are so used to violence they don't report it, or somebody's "fudging the numbers."
MAY 20 The Advocate's Mark Ballard writes about some of the background maneuvering that took place during the development of budget alternatives in the Legislature. From Rep. Joel Robideaux being called a "tax and spend liberal" to robo-call influence, Ballard lets us in on some of the work that happens behind the scenes but usually doesn't make it into the Advocate's daily coverage of the session.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
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.