‘City’ reps back amending charter commish ordinance
The five Lafayette City-Parish Council members who represent majority city districts have, according to one of them, rallied around amending the ordinance creating a charter commission to give that commission wider discretion in what it recommends — a move that could open the door for a recommendation that Lafayette Parish deconsolidate.
Currently, the ordinance by council Chairman Jay Castille grants the commission the authority to review the charter and recommend changes to it. That ordinance passed April 6 as an introductory ordinance; it will be voted on Tuesday as a final ordinance.
“It’s going to give the commission full authority to look at the best-case scenario for the parish,” District 7 Councilman Don Bertrand says of the amendment, “whether that be Lafayette’s governed by itself, just like the other communities are, or consolidation for the entire parish. But it’s going to take the handcuffs off of them.” Bertrand enlisted Lafayette Consolidated Government’s legal department to write the amendment. It will take all five city-majority representatives voting in unison — a simple majority on the nine-member council — to force an amendment to Castille’s ordinance.
Last week Bertrand said he was confident that three of the four other city-majority councilmen — Keith Patin (District 8), Kenneth Boudreaux (District 4) and Brandon Shelvin (District 3) — were on board; Bertrand had yet to speak with the fifth city man, Sam Dore of District 6. But Dore today tells The INDsider he will vote to amend the ordinance, although he admits he still has misgivings about deconsolidating the parish. “Deep down, I think the best thing for us would be to fix consolidation,” Dore says. “If it ever came straight up to me in a question, ‘Do you think we should consolidate or deconsolidate?’ my first answer is I think the people of Lafayette should have the right to vote on that themselves. Absolutely, we should all have a vote on that. But personally I think probably it would be much less painful if we fixed what’s broken about consolidation, rather than try to deconsolidate and try to start a new government in the parish. I don’t think anybody would be happy with that.”
An ordinance that would send a parishwide referendum to the ballot on whether to repeal the consolidated charter and return to dual city and parish forms of government is in deferral right now. Dore says he expects the council to let that ordinance expire since the four parish-majority councilmen — Purvis Morrison (District 1), Castille (2), Jared Bellard (5) and William Theriot (9) — have indicated their unwillingness to scrap consolidation.
If the city-majority reps do unite on Tuesday and force an amendment to Castille’s ordinance, the charter commission created by the legislation would likely be city-centric: four appointments would be made by the city-majority reps, three appointments would be made by the parish-majority reps and two appointments would be made by City-Parish President Joey Durel; that's six of the nine commission members appointed by city officials.
But as Bertrand notes, that’s no guarantee that the commission would recommend deconsolidation. “When you take responsible people and you put them in a position to make decisions like this, that are big decisions, they’re going to vote their conscience,” he says. “And whoever [is appointed], I will certainly make sure the charter commission gets information that I think is relevant, but I’m not going to stand there and hound my representative as to what recommendations to make. I think what you do is give them access to information and to people.”
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
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 offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
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.