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.
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.