Post decon vote, Boudreaux ready to move on charter
After an overwhelming rejection of deconsolidation at the ballot box Saturday, the general consensus among both supporters and opponents that something needs to be done to ensure the city of Lafayette controls its own affairs is gaining new footing. Even former charter commission member Don Bacque, who led the charge to oppose Saturday’s parishwide proposition, acknowledged throughout the process that autonomy for the city of Lafayette is important, although he believed that repealing the charter and returning to separate governments for the city and the parish was too extreme a measure. Clearly voters agreed Saturday, shooting down deconsolidation by a 63-37 percent margin. As The Daily Advertiser observed in a headline Monday, “Deconsolidation is off the table.”
One of those supporters of repealing the charter, City-Parish Council Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux, says he’s ready to move quickly toward a process for amending the current charter to ensure the city’s autonomy in the future.
“I plan on reaching out to the administration and I want to see some movement on this,” Boudreaux says. “We have seven [incumbents] in place and the same administration in place. The municipalities have recently gone through their elections. We just have to bring [District 1 winner Kevin Naquin and the winner of the District 6 runoff] up to speed, and I think they can catch on fairly quickly. But we need to move on this.”
The most likely option at this point would be to adopt some version of what has widely been called the “Hefner Plan,” after demographer and former school board member Mike Hefner, who believes Lafayette’s City-Parish Council districts can be redrawn in such a way that five districts are wholly within the city limits of Lafayette and the remaining four districts comprise the unincorporated parish and five smaller municipalities. But how far that Hefner Plan would go remains to be seen. Would a de facto “city council” within the larger council have authority over all aspects of the city budget and services, or only over Lafayette Utilities System, the city-owned public utility?
Right now that doesn’t seem to be a fine-grain concern of Boudreaux, who simply wants to get the process moving along, who adds he wants Bacque and other opponents of deconsolidation who nonetheless acknowledge Lafayette’s need to increased autonomy to put their money where their mouth is.
“We’re going to go through another census in nine and half years, and we need to strike while the iron’s hot,” Boudreaux says, adding with a chuckle, “I’m hoping that the [political action committee] that was created and raised all that money to oppose this, I hope they put their money behind it to fix it.”
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
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.