Wednesday, 14 September 2011 01:00
by Walter Pierce
Up Against It
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 Written by Walter Pierce
State rep takes on the ‘establishment,’ again, in his re-election bid.
State Rep. Rickey Hardy upset the apple cart when he ran for the House District 44 seat four years ago. Now he has to do it again.
He pranced into this political season sporting a pair of boxing gloves emblazoned with slogans when he qualified to run for re-election last week — a made-for-media stunt to be sure, but consistent with Hardy’s devil-may-care style — yet he skipped a forum hosted jointly by Acadiana Progressive and the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee that aired live on Acadiana Open Channel last night, Tuesday, Sept. 13. (I’m assuming the forum went off as planned; this newspaper goes to press on Monday night.)
Forum participants included the two candidates hoping to make Hardy a one-term state rep: businessman Vince Pierre, who is the nephew of the man Hardy replaced in the House, and attorney Roshell Jones. Hardy passed on the debate not because he wanted to dodge Pierre and Jones; he was a no-show because one of the panelists scheduled to question the candidates was Beatrice Wilson, better known as radio personality Porsha Evans.
“Absolutely, it is a set-up. I fought and exposed corruption and she was a part of it — she was involved,” Hardy told me late last week to explain his decision to boycott the forum. “Why would I go and answer questions from a convicted criminal? It makes no sense for me to go over there.”
Evans-née-Wilson, you see, was one of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program case workers unceremoniously canned last year by the Lafayette Housing Authority board in the fall-out from that ugly 2009 independent audit exposing irregularities in LHA operations in general and in the DHAP program specifically — a sordid unraveling of what appears to have been a federally funded cash cow for a few well-placed individuals in Lafayette that Rep. Hardy was instrumental in exposing to the community. (Evans, it was revealed in media reports during the LHA-DHAP affair, has a criminal history of convictions for theft, drug possession, battery and drug distribution.)
And who did Evans work with on the DHAP gravy train that Hardy helped derail? Former City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams, Hardy’s opponent in the 2007 election for House 44 — the victory that sent Hardy to Baton Rouge to do the people’s business. Evans and Williams even shared office space during their time with DHAP, and it’s fair to say the pair is aligned within north Lafayette’s black political milieu.
In his fourth term on the Lafayette Parish School Board in 2007, which a couple of years before had adopted term limits, Hardy saw an opportunity for bigger and better — an opening in the state House of Representatives — a doorway that was “supposed” to open for Williams, who at the time was a City-Parish Council member coming off a protracted and nasty fight over renaming Willow Street in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s honor.
Hardy’s win over Williams, propelled in no small measure by the former’s willingness to reach across racial lines in the district — Williams’ MLK fracas alienated many white voters in the majority-black district, a demographic that proved critical in securing Hardy’s victory — was seen by many as an upset.
Now, four years after beating expectations and Williams in a runoff to replace Wilfred Pierre, Hardy finds himself up against what he considers the same established political forces in the district — forces that want back what he took in 2007.
One Hardy supporter who asked to remain anonymous shares the state rep’s opinion of the Tuesday debate: “This is like walking into a Russian roulette contest and them handing Rickey a revolver with all the chambers filled!”
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
OCT 24 You gotta love it when they start eating their young, right? In this post in Politico, BP mouthpiece Geoff Morrell denies that his company's oil spill "ruined the Gulf." Instead, he says, it was Bobby Jindal's decision to divert fresh water into the salt water environment that caused massive losses to shrimp and oyster industries. The evidence doesn't back up any claims that the spill caused that harm, he says. Nothing to see here, move along.
OCT 24 The former mayor of Sorrento was arrested on dozens of child pornography charges, a post on The Creole reports here. Wilson Longanecker Jr. was arrested in his Ascension Parish mansion, the blog reports.
OCT 24 As Bobby Jindal's tenure as governor winds down, blogger Tom Aswell tells us to expect to see more and more of his appointees jumping ship. Some might get shown the door (or the federal indictment, as the case may be) and others are just going to want to avoid standing in "the inevitable unemployment line," he says.
OCT 24 Jim Brown is blogging about elections in this post. There's no one more recognizable when it comes to elections than he is, and yet he still had to show his ID, you know. He gives some easy-to-remember advice on the Amendments: vote against them all. This stuff needs to be handled by legislators, not added to the Constitution, he says.
OCT 24 Bobby Jindal's recent "magical" budget touch - you know, the one that turned a $140 million deficit into a $170 million surplus - is just imaginary, columnist James Gill tells us in this post. It's about as real as that story he tells about the "gold standard" of ethics, Gill says.
OCT 24 George Carter III, a teenage member of the group Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, died this week, the Picayune reports here. Educators who knew him called him a "visionary." He certainly had some highly-developed ideas for his age, but despite his ability to provide positive ideas for helping kids in the city, in the end he wasn't able to escape NOLA's problems, either.
OCT 24 John Dickerson posts this slice-of-campaign-life look at Mary Landrieu on the trail in Louisiana. Republicans are playing to a runoff, he opines, meaning our state will become "a zoo" if it turns out this race will decide control of the Senate.
OCT 24 Bike lanes have been quite the topic of convo over in NOLA recently, what with streetspace, already at a premium downtown, being sacrified for them. In this post on the Uptown Messenger blog, Owen Courreges opines that the lanes are not really being constructed for people who ride bikes, but instead because developers seeking to make money downtown feel they are needed. He's also predicting that they will increase already nightmarish levels of traffic to new heights. Nah -- that couldn't happen!
OCT 23 Blogger Tom Aswell posts the photo that started making the rounds of the Facebook this week; it shows our governor and his lovely bride, all bright and smiley and holding big guns. The Jindals look a little posed, down to their carefully and properly placed index fingers. They're both grinning wide, displaying how comfortable they are with weaponry. Whee!
OCT 23 This fascinating post on The Lens opens the discussion of New Orleans as subject. C. W. Cannon talks about the concept of dual consciousness and how New Orleanians, especially, have experienced this condition post-Katrina. Cannon attended a recent conference about the issue at Tulane, where the discussion focused on how the romanticization of the city by outsiders masks real social problems.
OCT 23 Bayou Buzz is taking Gov. Bobby Jindal and the GOP to task here for the Ebola shrieking. The so-called "travel ban" makes no sense, and these politicians should have done their homework before coming up with this stunt, Stephen Sabludowsky writes.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly