Tuesday, 17 November 2009 21:00
by IND Monthly Staff
Louisiana — Lafayette in particular — continues to outperform much of the nation in weathering the recession. The Hub City is ranked ninth in the latest annual list of America’s 25 best-performing cities. The Milken Institute, an independent think tank, ranks cities based on a number of factors including job creation, salaries and industrial/economic activity. Baton Rouge landed at 18th on the list and Shreveport-Bossier came in at 24th. All three metro areas showed improvement over last year’s rankings: Lafayette moved up from 14th; Baton Rouge from 40th; and Shreveport-Bossier from 67th.
Lafayette may be riding out the recession relatively well, but it’s been a bumpy ride for many of our community’s non-profit agencies as individuals and companies pull back their charitable donations. Acadiana Outreach, which helps individuals and families affected by substance-abuse transition to healthy, productive lives, is one such agency in desperate need of help. One estimate that crossed our collective desk has AO’s donations down 50 percent in the last several months. Tomorrow’s Palates & Paté fundraiser could be a make-or-break event for the non-profit. For more, see this week’s LivingIND cover story.
Just when we think we have state Rep. Rickey Hardy figured out, he hits the enigma button. The colorful, quotable Lafayette lawmaker and former school board member last week found the sweet spot where legislative power and hurt feelings converge, sticking it to the Lafayette Parish School System to the tune of $746,000 in Louisiana Educational Excellence Fund money. The funding, drawn from the 1998 court settlement with Big Tobacco, is distributed to public school systems for drop-out prevention and other programs. The LPSS apparently failed to honor the protocol of contacting its House representative (Hardy) to supplicate, “Please? Pretty please? With sugar on top?” In a pique, Hardy offered a motion during a joint House-Senate Education Committee hearing to distribute the funding to all parishes except Lafayette. Twenty-four hours of crackling brouhaha later, Hardy softened his stand and suggested he may revisit the funding in December. Heretofore, Hardy has proven himself a champion of public education, but this latest episode has left us scratching our head.
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SEP 20 Jim Brown is blogging about ISIS and the Middle East in this week's post. Mostly, he's posing questions about our involvement there, now and over the past 10 years. Should we be there? Why are we considering involvement now? All good questions - and most without easy answers.
SEP 20 Louisiana is once again winning a race nobody is running, by topping the nation in the gap between what women and men are paid for the same work, WWL reports here. Women here are paid about two-thirds of what men are paid, the story reports. Great.
SEP 20 This isn't the first story, and it won't be the last, written about the apparent conflict between Bobby Jindal's biology degree from Brown and the far right evangelicals who (he perceives) hold the key to his burning, blinding desire to be President. But this one's on ThinkProgress.org, a left-leaning blog, and gives an interesting view of how his dilemma might be attacked in a campaign.
SEP 20 The Lens updates us on the continuing saga of the levee board that dared to challenge Big Oil. The terms of two members of the board have expired, and the committee recommending replacements voted Thursday. The vote, which was narrow, would preserve the suit's majority on the board, Bob Marshall writes.
SEP 20 This post on the Dads Gone Wild blog is an ode to the education bloggers who have been akin to voices crying in the wilderness on the subject of "reform." He compares his experience, listening to the "reformers" and wondering why anybody gave them any weight, with loving punk rock in the 1970s. It's an interesting read.
SEP 19 Here's an interesting post from the Advocate's Mark Ballard about some of the maneuvering that preceded a court ruling this week on the so-called Edmonson Amendment. It seems that some weirdness did occur on the eve of the hearing, and when this was written, Ballard wasn't even sure the ruling would occur.
SEP 20 Jeremy Alford examines the Family Forum's influence on the Legislature in this post. The ultra conservative lobby's annual "report card" keeps up with how well our elected officials are following its dictates, he reports, but also shows us how conservative our Legislature has become.
SEP 20 This post on NOLA Defender details the current discussion in New Orleans about accommodating bicycles in the CBD. Unfortunately, the catalyst was the terrible death of a bike rider, the post reports. Adding space for bikes sounds good - but it means the loss of travel lanes and parking spaces already at a premium in the city, the debate goes.
SEP 18 Here's a story in the New York Times about a New Iberia man who is trying to save his own little corner of Louisiana. A lot of people spend their spare time clearing their land, but Matt Conn works to restore the natural state of his property. It's a fascinating story.
SEP 18 This post on Howard Fineman's Political Read blog takes a look at the fine line that Bobby Jindal will have to walk if he wants to be the guy who can unite the creationists who don't believe in evolution with the Christians and others who do. On paper, Jindal could be the guy to do it, Fineman says, but politically, he'll have to start with the far right if he wants to get anywhere in the GOP.
SEP 18 Sure, Louisiana Congressional candidate Lenar Whitney made the first page of Politifact's "Pants on Fire" statements section, and of course that's always entertaining. But really you need to go check out the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking website, which is run by former Lafayette journalist Angie Drobnic Holan, because it has a great new design.
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