The Lafayette City-Parish Council will vote Tuesday on an ordinance for final adoption that, if approved — it won’t be — will serve as a vitamin-deficient treat at TEA parties in our center-right parish. The ordinance, co-sponsored by ultra-conservative standard bearers William Theriot, R-District 9, and Jared Bellard, R-District 5, would establish a policy prohibiting the council from considering future ordinances that levy taxes without a public vote.
Drafted in March, approved as an introductory ordinance with a batch of other ordinances on April 6 and then pulled by Theriot before a final vote later in April, the ordinance arose from the fracas over the proposed tax increment finance district that would have helped developer Glenn Stewart bankroll his Parc Lafayette development anchored by a luxury hotel. The Parc Lafayette TIF ordinance had the support of City-Parish President Joey Durel and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, but the administration later pulled it from consideration amid a public outcry led by the Tea Party of Lafayette.
TPL, meanwhile, has been lobbying for the Theriot/Bellard “no tax ordinance,” going so far as to run public service announcements on local radio stations.
State law, however, countenances the establishment of TIF districts to spur economic development because these tightly defined districts levy sales- and other taxes in areas where there are no residents. Consumers who shop at the retail developments that grow out of TIF districts pay the extra tax, which is dedicated to paying off bonds sold to finance the development.
While Stewart’s Parc Lafayette proposal was inarguably a controversial use of TIF districts — the “spirit” of the state TIF law is to help spur growth in blighted or under-developed areas — few would argue that the TIF district established at Louisiana Avenue and Interstate 10 wasn’t a positive use of state law; the once vacant acreage at the site is now home to a bustling commercial corridor anchored by national big-box retailers, with an Academy Sports & Outdoors in the pipeline. North Lafayette would not have enjoyed such robust development, at least not this quickly, without such a public-private partnership.
Many political observers in Lafayette Parish, this one included, see the Theriot/Bellard ordinance as little more than an election-year play to TEA party voters whom, as we’ll likely discover this fall in at least a few CPC elections, are not as formidable an electoral force as they fancy themselves. Sources on the council say the ordinance will probably only garner two votes in favor — from its co-sponsors.
Keep an eye on District 7 Councilman Don Bertrand and District 8’s Keith Patin, two GOP council members who have off and on been painted as RINO — Republican In Name Only — by the hardline conservatives in the parish. Each is likely to face an opponent from the right this fall, and their votes Tuesday on the Theriot/Bellard “no tax ordinance” should serve as a bellwether for TEA party influence in Lafayette Parish politics.
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.