Charter commish: Final meeting before deliberations begin
The Lafayette Charter Commission holds its final meeting Monday before the scheduled commencement of deliberations on Nov. 1.
For the last two weeks, commissioners have discussed various models of governance for Lafayette Parish, most of which involve the creation of separate city and parish councils with a mayor or president similar to the forms of government that prevailed in the parish pre-consolidation, with one common caveat: Lafayette Parish government would have a council but no bureaucracy of departments and would instead use intergovernmental agreements with the six municipalities — Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Lafayette, Scott and Youngsville — to provide services to residents living in unincorporated parts of the parish.
However, Commissioner Don Bacque, a city resident, has remain steadfastly opposed to adding layers of governance, arguing the cost of creating new positions — specifically a city council and mayor for Lafayette — would be prohibitive.
In a letter last Tuesday, Bacque wrote to fellow commissioners:
It is my belief that the parish citizens are looking for the simplest, most cost efficient manner of addressing the current charter’s shortcomings. This is not based on any empirical data, just a feeling that citizens do not understand or trust government, so the complex and expensive is very easy to dismiss. With that in mind, I proposed what is, in my opinion, the simplest revision to the governance structure that allows Lafayette City to regain its autonomy, with no added governmental expenditure. My suggestion would replicate the current LPUA.
I propose that the current 9 council districts be retained, concurrent with school board districts. This alleviates the expense of separate re-zoning and justice department clearance. Of the nine city parish council members, those 5, with the largest percentage concentration of city residents, would become the Lafayette City Council, and vote on issues that pertain only to the city of Lafayette. The entire 9 members would vote on parish issues. Although 4 current council members would have no vote on city issues, they would be allowed to be involved in the pre-vote discussion of the issues, and could make the wishes of their city constituents, if any, known.
What Bacque’s proposed model fails to address is the disenfranchisement of city residents who live in the four predominately rural, non-city of Lafayette districts; it is the reason the full nine-member council has long voted on matters expressly reserved for the LPUA in the Home Rule Charter. In an email exchange with The Independent in response to his proposal, Bacque said he believes also electing a single at-large council member to represent only city of Lafayette residents would address the enfranchisement issue, although a 10-member city-parish council would present a considerable challenge, namely the likelihood of 5-5 stalemates.
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly