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 21 Two St. John Parish employees were indicted in connection with the ameoba found in the parish water supply, WVUE reports in this post. They are accused of lying about testing the water for proper chlorine levels, the story says, claims that were contradicted by their government vehicles' GPS records.
OCT 21 Here's an interesting story from the National Journal about New Orleans almost 10 years post-Katrina. There are demographic information and charts, as well as some commentary about the corresponding changes in the way the city looks and works.
OCT 21 Gambit offers its endorsements for the upcoming election in this post, including an endorsement of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. The best way to protect Louisiana's clout is to re-elect the senior senator, the paper opines. Sending a Republican in her place won't accomplish anything, the paper adds.
OCT 21 The McClatchy DC blog posts this fascinating view of Louisiana's political landscape. It's a little heavy on the cliches, and also a little heavy on the quaint Cajun/Creole shtick, but it's still good reading -- if only for the outside view of our insides.
OCT 21 An audit finds very little federal oversight of coastal restoration grants, the Advocate reports here. Two federal agencies charged with overseeing how the money was spent didn't oversee the grants properly, didn't know enough about how the grants were supposed to be spent, and provided conflicting records about the money, the audit found.
OCT 21 The first Senate debate featuring all three candidates was a big ho-hum, columnist Jim Beam writes in this post. Nobody said anything new or interesting, and nobody emerged the clear winner, he says.
OCT 21 Bobby Jindal can't seem to leave Daniel Malloy alone, this post on NOLA Defender says. On a recent trip to stump for another GOP'er (Ever wonder: does any of his stumping really help these guys? Or is he just trying to get his name in other newspapers?) Jindal again ran afoul of Connecticut's Governor, who has no problem calling Bobby on his claims, the post tells us.
OCT 21 Jeremy Alford writes about David Vitter's playbook in this post, and frankly, there are some things we don't want to know. We've all heard about what's in that book, haven't we? That kind of stuff is not our idea of a good -- oh, wait. Jeremy's writing about Vitter's political playbook. Never mind.
OCT 20 Remember those great posts from blogger Jason Brad Berry that featured emails and letters related to the BP claims process? Well, apparently Patrick Juneau (who was featured, but not in a positive way, in those documents) ordered a background check on Berry because of it, this story in Louisiana Record says. Huh?
OCT 20 The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper, has posted its story on Louisiana's coastal loss here. In it, author Omar El Akkad clarifies it neatly: it's "a battle between prosperity and the planet's well-being." Are jobs and money worth the trade we're making? As Jonathan Foret says in the story, Mother Nature may come and answer that question for us.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly