Citing several sources familiar with Jerry Luke LeBlanc’s plans to go after term-limited state Sen. Mike Michot’s District 23 seat, on Thursday the INDsider reported on the likelihood of a LeBlanc-Page Cortez matchup. Our efforts to reach LeBlanc for that story were unsuccessful. But this morning via email, LeBlanc, who makes $215,000 a year as vice president for administration and finance at UL Lafayette, says he’s decided against making a run.
“I want to thank all of the individuals who encouraged me to consider running for the District 23 Senate seat in the fall elections,” LeBlanc writes. “I have decided that the current timing would not be right for me to seek elective office. Therefore, I will not be a candidate. The university has numerous large projects and initiatives under way with more on the horizon, which will demand my full attention. Again, I thank all of those in the community for expressing confidence in me.”
LeBlanc, an independent, would certainly have had some ground to make up, as District 43 state Rep. Cortez, though he has not made it official, plans to seek the seat this fall. The INDsider first reported Cortez's ambitions for the Senate in February. A Republican in his first term in the House, Cortez has for months been holding fundraisers, like the upcoming April 19 event at Schilling Distributing on Moss Street. An influential group of business leaders and politicians is already on board the "Cortez for Senate" effort. Herb Schilling and Kenny Hix of Shilling Distributing, Dwight Prudhomme of Republic National Distributing, Julie Calzone of Calzone and Associates and Tyron Picard of The Picard Group are hosting the fundraiser, along with co-hosts state Sens. Elbert Guillory, Mike Michot, Fred Mills and Jonathan Perry; state Reps. Joel Robideaux, Bobby Badon, Rickey Hardy, Nancy Landry and Jack Montoucet; and City-Parish President Joey Durel, Carencro Mayor Glenn Brasseaux, Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais, Scott Mayor Purvis Morrison and Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator.
LeBlanc resigned from the Legislature in 2004 to serve as former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s commissioner of administration. He was a five-term state rep from Lafayette and is the son of a former state representative. He also worked as a real estate appraiser during his time in the Legislature.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.