20100512-pooyie-0101C’EST BON
Glenn Armentor is paying it forward. While the phrase may have become cliché, the Lafayette attorney’s act of conscience is anything but. Armentor announced recently that Carencro High honor student Ngozi Asonye has been named winner of the inaugural Glenn Armentor Pay-it-Forward Scholarship of Excellence, a $10,000 award designed to help low-income students further their educations. Armentor grew up one of 10 children in a poor family and readily acknowledges his adolescent brushes with the law; he says he’s paying back those who set him on a successful course in life by “paying it forward” to students like Ngozi. Armentor plans to offer eight Pay-it-Forward scholarships annually within three years. That calls to mind another phrase from the lexicon of cultural clichés: leading by example.

On this misstep, we’d be a bit more forgiving if the reason were poor vetting. But when it was revealed last week in media reports that New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s pick for acting health director can’t even practice medicine in Louisiana, we were disappointed to learn the administration knew all along that Dr. Joia Crear-Perry’s license had been suspended. Landrieu initially stood by her, saying she met the city charter’s qualifications for the position because she has a degree in medicine. In October 2008 the OB-GYN and the state’s board of medical examiners reached an agreement, suspending her license for six months and placing her on conditional probation for three years. After the agreement, however, she violated the board’s orders by practicing obstetrics without supervision. In July 2009 the board suspended her; in December it sanctioned her. The doctor’s problems apparently stem from her suspension from Memorial Medical Center in 2005, at which time she was allowed to take a leave of absence after promising to seek remedial training. She was later granted staff privileges at East Jefferson General Hospital without telling the staff about her suspension from Memorial (nor did she reveal the suspension to the state board in her renewal applications). She was sued twice for malpractice in 2007. All of this is in the public record, and all, apparently, was known to the Landrieu administration.

With the BP oil spill disaster as an inky, black backdrop, a bill by state Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, will be considered today, Wednesday, May 12, by the Senate Commerce Committee that would all but neuter university law clinics by preventing them from suing individuals for damages, making constitutional claims or filing legal challenges against government agencies. According to The Advocate, Adley filed the bill in concert with business lobbyists to target the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic — an entity Adley et al accuse of driving employment from the state. TELC serves as legal representation of last resort for poor individuals and impoverished communities. Adley’s couillon bill, if it becomes law, could limit access to justice for low-income Louisiana residents, notably the shrimpers, oyster harvesters and commercial fishermen facing a loss of livelihood due to the oil spill.

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