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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DEC 20 The Robertson family is playing hardball in their dispute with A&E, the network that airs the wildly profitable "reality" show about their family, Duck Dynasty. Patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended by the network after GQ printed an interview with him that contained his (unedited) comments about gay and black folks. Here's a link to their statement, in which they say they can't imagine the show without papa and announcing that they are in negotiations with A&E about the future of the show.
DEC 20 Blogger Robert Mann (also a journalism prof at LSU and thus an authority on the First Amendment) says something in this post of which a lot of Fox News anchors and internet trolls should take heed: the Constitution says you have freedom of speech. It does not say you can't face consequences for what you say. He also takes a look at what our governor has to say -- and ole Bobby had to drag Miley Cyrus into it.
DEC 20 Blogger Tom Aswell says Governor Bobby Jindal has now had more to say about the comments a "reality" star made about gay and black people than he has had to say about the problems in his own voucher program or the sinkhole in Bayou Corne. In fact, Tom points out, Bobby's all over the Phil Robertson "issue" like "a duck on a June bug."
DEC 20 Here's an interesting post from blogger Katie East in DIG Magazine about celebrity passings. She understands why so many would be sad because of Mandela's passing -- he was an international figure, a political figure, an activist. But there is similar wailing following the passing of people who may not have had the same impact, she says -- like the guy who starred in the Fast and Furious movies. She wants to know: why is that?
DEC 20 Columnist James Gill writes about Louisiana's embattled voucher program in this post. Just because a child attends a private school does not mean he's going to get a good education, Gill writes. Gov. Jindal likes to say the program helps kids get a great education, but whether it does that is open to "considerable doubt," Gill writes.
DEC 20 Gambit's Clancy DuBos writes about the NOLA mayor's race in this post. For a while, it was assumed that it would be a quiet one, given the amount of money Mitch has in the bank. But at the last minute, a (possibly) formidable candidate threw his hat in the ring. The question is, Clancy says, why?
DEC 20 In Louisiana's education system, the state takes over a school that is designated as "failing." The assumption is, that's a good thing and will produce improvement. But is that the case? Blogger Mike Deshotels takes a look at how takeovers perform in one area of testing, the ACT.
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