Sharon Kleinpeter, a spokeswoman for Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, says her office has solved the Richard Becker/LPTFA email mystery.
Last week the office confirmed receipt of an email from attorney Richard Becker, who has requested an opinion on whether documents on the partnership formed to develop Cypress Trails Apartments are a matter of public record.
On behalf of the LPTFA, which is spearheading the north Lafayette low-income apartment development, Becker wrote a letter March 14 to the AG for an opinion on the issue, provided the paper with a copy, and said he mailed it. The LPTFA board had passed a resolution March 10 directing Becker to seek the opinion in connection with The Independent asking for information on the partnership. In reporting the cover story, “How Gachassin Games the System,” we requested records on the individuals involved in the 72-unit apartment complex under way at Moss and Sophie streets. We also put in a public records request for a copy of the development consulting contract with Greg Gachassin, a former LPTFA board member. The $10 million project is being funded in large part with low-income housing tax credits awarded to the LPTFA by the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency.
The AG’s office didn’t receive the mailed request, so Becker agreed to email it. However, in a series of follow-up inquiries with the AG’s office — along with an unsuccessful attempt to reach Becker for clarification — The Independent was told the request still had not been received. The paper put in another call to Becker last Wednesday, who returned our call this time and assured us he had sent the email. He emailed it again April 27 and the AG's office quickly confirmed receipt.
Monday morning, Kleinpeter wrote the following in an email to the paper and copied Becker’s office:
I would like to give you an update on the Opinion Request we’ve been discussing. On Thursday, April 28th, I received an email from Mr. Talbot Ottinger of the Becker & Hebert Law Firm, informing me that their IT consultant (Mike Smith) was asked to analyze their computer system to determine if the resending of the Opinion Request on April 21st had actually been sent. Mr. Smith forwarded the computer data to our IT Manager for review.
The Louisiana Department of Justice did receive the email from Mr. Becker on April 21st. However, our security system then quarantined the email; consequently Ms. Boyce never received it. I hope this information clears up the confusion.
BTW, the AG’s office offered no new information on the original request, dated April 14 and sent via U.S. mail, according to Becker, which has yet to show up.
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
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.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.