The city of Broussard has headed off Lafayette at the pass in its bid to annex Les Vieux Chenes Golf Course, a city-owned property adjacent to the Broussard city limits.
Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais confirms, and court records show, that the city of Broussard last week purchased two parcels of land near the golf course that were critical to Lafayette’s annexation plan. By acquiring the land, Broussard effectively blocked Lafayette from reaching the golf course from the Ambassador Caffery Parkway South extension. In response, an ordinance up for final adoption approving annexation of the golf course by the city of Lafayette has been pulled from Tuesday’s city-parish council agenda.
On April 15, Langlinais sent a map to Bill Fontenot, regional director for the state Department of Transportation and Development, laying out proposed annexation areas for the cities of Broussard, Lafayette and Youngsville. The administrations in Lafayette and Youngsville were copied on the map. In an attached letter, Langlinais urged Fontenot to set up a meeting with all the parties copied on the map to discuss annexations before today, Tuesday, April 20. Langlinais claims the Durel administration ignored the request. No meeting took place.
Sale records from the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court’s office indicate that Lafayette Parish resident Robert Carpenter purchased two parcels of land on April 12 from Karlan and Rosalind Gallet for $4,000. The next day, according to a separate document, Carpenter sold those same parcels of land to the city of Broussard for the same price. Those parcels of land were critical for Lafayette reaching the golf course contiguously from Ambassador Caffery South. According to LCG Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley, the Gallets had previously agreed to allow Lafayette to annex the parcels in order to reach Les Vieux Chenes, but within days of the sale sequence leading to Broussard acquiring the land, they backed out — at that point they had no choice; they no longer owned the land proposed for annexation.
Langlinais characterizes Lafayette’s annexation along Ambassador South to reach the golf course as a Trojan horse that would allow Lafayette to gain control of a greater portion of unincorporated Lafayette Parish along the roadway — a stretch of road guaranteed to provide lucrative sales taxes in the future as Ambassador South is developed. “I sent a copy of the ... revised map last week suggesting, ‘Hey, let’s sit down with Bill Fontenot; let’s work this out. You do your annexation, we do our annexation, end of story,’” Langlinais says. “Now I’m hearing they’ve taken the annexation off the agenda tonight because they realize they have a defective annexation, and they’re telling us they think we have a defective annexation. The point is, sure, everbody’s got problems. Why don’t they sit down? If it is truly, truly about providing services or incorporating only Vieux Chenes, why don’t they want to work this out?”
On Tuesday, Stanley had little comment about the turn of events. “Lafayette will continue to pursue its annexation policy,” he says. “But Vieux Chenes is off the table.”
Annexation, especially in south Lafayette Parish where Lafayette, Broussard and Youngsville are rapidly reaching each others’ corporate limits, has been a source of enmity for more than a decade, especially between Lafayette and Broussard. Read The Independent’s April 7 cover story, “Land Grab,” for more on this contentious issue.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
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.
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.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.