[Editor’s Note: This article has been modified to reflect that Dr. Buckman’s administrative-hearing appeal was for two prior RedFlex tickets, not for his most recent speeding fine on Farrell Drive.]
A UL journalism professor in a long-running spat with Lafayette Consolidated Government continues to one-up city fathers in their bid to collect on a speeding ticket issued via a RedFlex speed van. Dr. Robert Buckman, who is becoming as famous for his civil disobedience as he is for his home-brewed beer, this week thumbed his nose at a threat from a Toledo, Ohio, law firm contracted by LCG to collect the $25 penalty (plus a $12.50 late fee) for an infraction that occurred nine months ago.
In April of last year, Buckman was ticketed for travelling 36 miles per hour in a 30-mph speed zone on Farrell Drive. However, by the time Buckman received the citation in the mail, LCG’s transportation department had increased the speed limit on Farrell to 40. Reasoning that since LCG decided that 40 was a safe speed for Farrell and he was ticketed for driving four miles an hour below that safe limit, Buckman refused to pay the fine. Having unsuccessfully appealed two previous tickets in an administrative hearing, which Buckman has called a “kangaroo court,” the professor didn't formally appeal the Farrell Drive "infraction," choosing instead to send a letter of protest to Transportation Director Tony Tramel.
The Ohio firm charged with collecting gave Buckman 30 days to pay up. The professor waited 30 days before responding:
Dear Unnamed Person:
It has now been exactly 30 days since I received your letter with the file number 938279, telling me I have 30 days from the receipt of the letter to tell you whether this is a valid debt. Very well, it is NOT a valid debt. I have already disputed this ticket, and will continue to do so, because I was going 36 mph in an area where the posted speed limit is 40 mph. See enclosed photos.
This issue has already been reported in the Lafayette media, and I think they will now be interested in knowing why Lafayette taxpayers’ money is being wasted paying a law firm in Toledo, Ohio, to collect a $37.50 debt.
JUNE 17 If anyone ever wonders why Saints fans hate Atlanta with a capital H, here's a good indication. Radio "professionals" at an Atlanta station created an entire segment around making fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is now paralyzed by ALS. Listen, nobody's ever accused DJs of being rocket scientists. But how could someone think it is amusing to pretend to ask a man with a degenerative, fatal disease if he will be alive next week? The DJs have been fired, and are now whining about how gutless their former bosses are. Wow.
JUNE 18 Here's the latest from the Advocate on the fatal hit-and-run accident allegedly involving the president of the Livingston Parish School Board. He's accused by police of hitting a 21-year-old man on a highway early Sunday and driving away. The man died at a hospital later. On Monday, police seized the president's truck and towed it away. But he's available for board meetings: apparently a $500 bond is sufficient for this type of thing over in St. Helena Parish.
JUNE 18 Former broadcast journalist Griffin Scott has posted this plea on his blog for financial assistance from his readers. Scott, who says he was fired after he wrote something fairly innocuous (for Facebook) on his wall, is suing a media giant for his job back. He's framed himself as David going after a bloated media giant, and he's probably not far off.
JUNE 18 Here's a fairly absurd column posted on DIG Magazine about the completely absurd practice of naming killer storms. Tornadoes don't have names. Blizzards don't have names. But hurricanes do, and there's a big process to bestow them, Jacques Cormery writes. He's right about the crazy assemblage of names -- this year, there's everything from Tanya to Humberto -- and his idea that we don't waste good names on killer storms is a good one.
JUNE 17 Political columnist John Maginnis has some advice for Louisiana Republicans: grow up. After the schism that occurred in this past session - fiscal hawks teaming up with Democrats to spank the Republican "majority" and hand Gov. Jindal his, er, aspirations for continued solon control -- they need to figure out how to get along with each other, Maginnis writes.
JUNE 17 Here's the Picayune's obit story for Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the lady who made poboys at the uptown restaurant that bears her name. Miss Dot moved to New Orleans during World War II, where she met and married her husband Sam. When she passed away Friday she was 90, and had spent more than 60 of those years working at the restaurant on Annunciation Street.
JUNE 17 This editorial in the Advocate speaks in favor of the consent decrees that have federal judges overseeing police operations and the sheriff's parish prison in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman can't get along, so outside forces, like the Inspector General and the judges, are needed to make sure things run right, the editorial opines.
JUNE 18 Here's a post from Manny Schewitz on Forward Progressives that is good for a chuckle. Manny had an epiphany back in November, and is sharing it with us today: he believes that Fox "News" is killing the GOP by pandering to right wing nuts. Now, don't get it twisted: Manny's not broke up about it. He says he enjoys watching the downward spiral with a shot of whiskey and "a schadenfreude chaser."
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 go public this year.
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.