The good news is that New Iberia mayor Hilda Curry met with utility company CLECO and got them to remove the 70 foot tall concrete erections out of the front yard of Stuart and Christina Gonsuron. The bad news is that the poles will be replaced by ordinary wooden creosote poles stabilized by guy-wires.
What’s really maddening is the huge concrete poles were approved by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development office here in Lafayette. DOTD has been working with New Iberia to change out the old two-lane bridge which crosses the bayou at Jefferson Street. It being the historic district, DOTD worked with city officials to design a bridge that would fit in with the neighborhood. The bridge work instituted the necessity to change out the existing utility poles, which will be in the way of the cranes once work begins on the bridge. Bill Fontenot, district engineer administrator at DOTD signed off on the transmogrified poles, stating that they added to the aesthetic of the district. The state paid for the upgrade to the giant poles; Fontenot says he thought that getting rid of the guy-wires was a good objective.
What’s incomprehensible is why not use that extra money to bury the lines instead of building humongous poles. CLECO is working on redoing some of the electric grid in the section of New Iberia across Bayou Teche from downtown. It sure seems like a great opportunity to get those cables underground. Think no electricity outages during hurricanes. Think saving all the costs of constant tree trimming to keep the wires clear. Think beautiful unobstructed views of streetscapes and sunsets. It seems like there is a huge disconnect between how the residents of the neighborhood would choose to spend their tax dollars, if anyone asked them, and what the state decides.
Gonsuron says he never could get any information about what was happening in his front yard from CLECO before the poles went up. I’m sure this was a very expensive exercise in community relations and sensitivity to historic districts. Was it a lesson learned? Depends on who paid the bill.
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JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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