Forget everything you read today on theind.com about the Lafayette Charter Commission. For those hoping the commission would find its way toward letting voters decide whether the city of Lafayette should have a separate, autonomous government complete with its own council and mayor, the clouds have parted and, lo, heavenly rays illuminate this mortal coil.
Best indications suggest that four of the five city-resident commissioners — Bruce Conque, George Lewis, Steve Oats and Aaron Walker — support placing before voters a parishwide proposition that, if approved, would create separate charters for the city and the parish. The lone city hold-out on the nine-member commission is Don Bacque.
However, according to an email obtained Monday by the INDsider, parish commissioner Karen Carson has evidently decided that a separate-charter proposition is now the preferred course:
After much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that a single issue ballot is the best option for a variety of reasons. I simply cannot support the Hefner plan in any form (my plan for Hefner/LUS was only to use the divisions but not the “plan” and was not approved by bond attorney). The Amended Charter choice was not supported by a majority so that is no longer an option. Separate Charters are already affirmed by legal, understandable by the public ... This has been a difficult decision to make — but the citizens of Lafayette city and parish will make the one that counts. Salaries will need work.
Commissioners Monday evening will consider three options to put before voters: an amended charter that gives the city control over Lafayette Utilities System; an amended charter that gives the city control over all city ordinances/finances; and separate charters for the city and the parish. Carson’s email suggests she will support the latter, and her vote, should it come to that, would give the separate-charter proponents that critical fifth vote.
A call to Carson’s home early Monday afternoon went to an answering machine.