The office of state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is short-changing Lafayette through its failure to render a timely opinion on what the Lafayette Charter Commission may recommend in a parishwide referendum on consolidated government. The commission, which began meeting last summer, must make a recommendation by April 20 — just over a month away — and has been waiting for weeks for Caldwell to opine whether a multiple-choice referendum can go on the ballot.
In the meantime, commissioners have abandoned what for many in the city of Lafayette was a preferred end point — autonomy. Gone from the commission agenda is any mention of separate charters for the city of Lafayette and the parish. The commission two weeks ago abandoned that talk in favor of what may be called “the Hefner plan” — a redrawing of the nine council and school board districts so that five are entirely within the city of Lafayette corporate limits and four are outside of that — named after demographer and former school board member Mike Hefner, who has said he believes it’s possible to redraw districts in this way.
Commissioners spent a few months on a trajectory toward creating a separate council and mayor for the city to complement a parish council and parish president — or to at least put the idea before voters. But that also had the commission headed toward recommending a multiple choice ballot to go before a parishwide vote this fall asking voters whether they want, A) separate charters for the city and parish, with councils and chief executives for each, or, B) modifications to the existing consolidated charter.
The commission meets Monday evening and the major item of business is, “Discussion of Consolidated Charter with five (5) City districts and four (4) Parish districts.”
A multiple-choice referendum remains an option if Caldwell gives his blessing, but as of Monday morning, commissioner Bruce Conque says they’ve heard nothing from Caldwell’s office on the issue.
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APR 16 Lamar Parmentel writes about the latest forecast for Louisiana's future - and it ain't rosy. The fiscal experts in the budget office are predicting a shortfall of nearly $1 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year, he writes. This is what the "dead beat" governor is going to leave us as his legacy, Lamar says.
APR 16 The extended controversy surrounding Louisiana College may begin to wind down now; the Town Talk reports here that embattled president Joe Aguillard has been reduced to a professor position. It's likely that soon we will begin to see the post-mortems begin -- this story isn't over.
APR 16 Clancy DuBos writes about the McAllister affair in this post, commenting on the moral confusion of a state that votes to "free the sodomites" on Monday and then to make the Bible the state book on Tuesday, as well as the hypocrisy of the Reps, the Dems and our fearless leader. Clancy says he's "not even sure if Jindal's hypocrisy has a limit."
APR 16 The fence blocking the public from Newcomb Boulevard in NOLA came down Tuesday morning, The Lens reports in this post. The fence was put up by neighbors who didn't want just anybody walking on a public street, but there's a big ole picture of a city worker cutting it down in this post. The general public should be able to drive on the street (which they own) in about a week, the story says.
APR 16 Here's a movement to get behind. NOLA Defender reports that there's a push to have A Confederacy of Dunces named Louisiana's state book in lieu of the Bible, which is the current contender. Although there is plenty of sin and politics in the Good Book, it's probably a lot easier to read the more contemporary (and more Louisiana-specific) prose in John Kennedy Toole's book.
APR 16 When you report on something as important as a historic local building, you need to get it right. According to blogger Lamar White Jr., that's just what an Alexandria TV station did not do. In this post, he tells us about a historic ball field that the station reported as targeted for demolition. Apparently, that's not even close to true.
APR 16 Here's a link to ALEC's annual competitiveness report, which ranks states according to that shadowy organization's opinions of good and bad. (Louisiana's on page 23) You can read a very brief lead-in, with a sentence or two about what ALEC is, in this Advocate story.
APR 16 DIG Magazine's Cody Worsham blogs about the Baton Rouge bus system in this post. Although the system has been the focus of extreme controversy, he's focusing instead on his own recent (and pleasant) experience taking the bus. In the end, he didn't turn in his SUV keys for a permanent bus pass, but it sounds like he'll be taking the bus more often.
APR 15 Blogger CB Forgotston is writing in this post about the newest hire by Gov. Bobby Jindal, a press secretary whose only means of contact is (apparently) Twitter. (Yeah, because that worked so good for Kyle.) CB has done a little digging on the lady, but wants more info -- and he's not getting it from the source, because she won't return his twits. Twerps. Uh, tweets.
APR 15 Blogger Elliott Stonecipher has his say on the McAllister mess in this post on Forward Now. Looks like the architects of the plan to oust McAllister are getting a little blow-back, Stonecipher opines, and it reminds him of an old cliche about revenge.
APR 15 Not one to walk past a golden opportunity, Democrat John Bel Edwards says his piece in this Picayune post on the GOP's issue du jour. The hypocrisy of the GOP calling on McAllister to resign and staying silent on Vitter is so massive there's not even a word for it, Edwards says, and so he came up with his own: hypo-hypocrisy.
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