Lafayette Republican and former Louisiana Teacher of the Year Holly Boffy has urged a political action committee to stop running television ads attacking her opponent in Saturday’s election for the District 7 seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, incumbent Dale Bayard of Sulphur, who is also a Republican. The group, ABC PAC, is refusing to pull the ad (click on link below), which accuses Bayard of lowering educational standards, pushing for social promotions and siding with “New Orleans liberals” during his tenure on the board.
BESE District 7 member Dale Bayard and challenger Holly Boffy
This week Boffy, through her campaign committee, released a statement distancing herself from the ad: “We had absolutely nothing to do with this commercial. We are running on MY experience and MY credentials. This commercial is directed at my opponent and since there are only two of us in the race, it leaves the impression that they are done either by our campaign or with our consent. This is not the case. Therefore, I’m asking those responsible to pull the ad immediately and let voters know that they were done without our knowledge or support. As a parent and an educator, I believe it is important to lead by example. The commercial is not the example I want my child or students to follow.”
However, a spokesman for ABC PAC, tells the Associated Press: “We respect Holly Boffy. We think she’s a great candidate. We respect her request. We do not plan on pulling the ad, though. We think the voters deserve to know about her opponent’s record.”
The race for BESE 7 could also have ramifications in the contest for Louisiana House speaker. The two main contenders at this point — and each is actively lining up support among fellow reps — are newly minted Republican Joel Robideaux, the current speaker pro tem from Lafayette, and Lake Charles Republican Rep. Chuck Kleckley. Each speaker candidate appears to fall on either side of the Boffy-Bayard divide, based on campaign contributions and/or publicized endorsements.
Photo by Robin May
Speaker Pro Tem Joel Robideaux
Robideaux has publicly endorsed Boffy, while Kleckley, according to Bayard’s campaign finance report posted at the Ethics Board’s website, donated $250 to Bayard for Bayard’s 2007 re-election campaign. According to Bayard’s most recent campaign report with the board, Kleckley has not made a donation to Bayard this election cycle, nor has he apparently endorsed Bayard for re-election. (Bayard touts no such endorsement from Kleckley on his campaign website, although he does trumpet other endorsements. The Ind called Kleckley’s legislative office in Lake Charles and left a message but did not hear back from the representative by the time this story was posted online.)
Why is this of any significance? Because Gov. Bobby Jindal has endorsed Boffy and, through his campaign committee, has contributed $5,000 — in separate $2,500 donations — to her campaign. Boffy is widely seen as an education “reform” candidate, and the reform-minded Jindal is looking to stack the BESE deck in his favor. (The Louisiana governor gets three appointments to BESE; the remaining eight members of the board are elected from districts scattered around the state.)
Robideaux’s support for Boffy aligns him with the governor, who can exert a great deal of influence in who becomes speaker of the House. It could be that Kleckley is lying low to avoid crossing the governor in this race. Regardless, Robideaux’s on-the-record support for Boffy can’t hurt his own campaign for speaker.
ABC PAC has made its anti-Bayard commercial unavailable for embedding on YouTube, but you can view the spot by clicking here.
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.