U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, left, speaks with Louisiana Oil & Gas Association President Don Briggs at last weekend's Legis-Gator luncheon in Lake Charles. For more on Landry's political future, read tomorrow's Independent cover story, Pathfinder."
A pair of public forums addressing federal spending and debt co-hosted by U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has drawn the attention of Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, not for the topics the forums address — Landry and Vitter have forged a fiscal bond since Landry was elected last year and both voted against the debt-ceiling legislation — but for the location of those forums: Lafayette and Lake Charles, both locales within the district of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette.
After Louisiana’s congressional districts were redrawn and one of the seven existing districts was eliminated — effectively the 3rd Congressional District Landry currently represents — a primary showdown in fall 2012 between Landry and Boustany became likely since Boustany’s district expanded east to encompass Landry’s home town. Roll Call cites Louisiana pollster Bernie Pinsonat in characterizing Landry’s incursions into Boustany’s district as “exceedingly unusual.”
In congressionally funded radio ads sponsored by Landry’s office airing in the Lafayette market, Landry and Vitter are mentioned as a unit several times, leading to speculation that Landry is using his association with Vitter to polish his conservative credentials and widen his name recognition in Boustany’s southwest Louisiana territory. A Vitter spokesman, however, tells The Times-Picayune that the senator’s appearances with Landry do not signal a future endorsement and that the impetus for the forums is due more to the pair’s common opposition to the recent deal increasing the federal government’s borrowing limit.
The forums in Lake Charles and Lafayette will be held Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, of this week.
Boustany, meanwhile, is charting a more mainstream tack than his potential Tea Party-backed 2012 opponent, telling The Daily Advertiser’s editorial board last week that while he had no plans to support any tax increases he also would decline to sign any anti-tax pledges, leaving him a little wiggle room on matters of “revenue.” Unlike Landry and Vitter, Boustany voted in favor of the debt limit increase.
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.