20101020-pooyie-0101Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Written by The Independent Staff

It’s worth a shot. With Louisiana’s coast under perennial assault from hurricanes, energy exploration (not to mention the occasional massive energy exploration failure) and the head-scratching proclivities of the Army Corps of Engineers, a pilot project by The Nature Conservancy is placing concrete rings — 2,200 pounds and 5 feet in diameter each — in Vermilion Bay, Grand Isle and waters off St. Bernard Parish in an effort to stimulate the growth of oyster reefs, according to an article in last week’s Advocate. The rings are being filled with old oyster shells, the ideal host for oyster larvae. This project is particularly timely due to the expected two-year loss of much of Louisiana oyster harvest because of fresh water released from upland locks to keep BP’s oil at bay. Unlike Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sand berms, this idea has shown promise in previous applications and has good science behind it.

We’re now up to our necks in the unseemly morass that is the Lafayette Housing Authority. What began as ugly got uglier last week when District Judge Ed Rubin reinstated three of the five members dismissed by City-Parish President Joey Durel. (Two canned board members did not appeal their dismissals.) Rubin cited Durel’s decision not to go whole hog in the dismissals and fire longtime board member Donald Fuselier, a political compatriot of the city-parish prez, calling the firings “capricious and arbitrary.” We agree. Fuselier was as culpable — more so in light of his longer tenure on the board than some of those who got the ax — as any board member in failing to rein in questionable expenditures and practice real oversight over the agency’s Disaster Housing Assistance Program case managers, some of whom received full-time pay while having other full-time jobs. Rubin’s ruling, however, seems to open the door for Durel to clean house on the LHA board. House cleaning is in order.

When lieutenant governor runoff candidates Jay Dardenne, the sitting Republican Louisiana secretary of state, and New Orleans attorney Caroline Fayard, a Democrat and political novice, sat opposite one another Friday night on LPB’s “Louisiana: The State We’re In,” it was a cordial affair. We shouldn’t have expected anything less, especially from Dardenne, a relative statesman in Louisiana’s rough-and-tumble politics with a famously mild temper. Imagine our surprise to hear Dardenne go so nasty in a series of statewide radio ads, accusing Fayard of being, among other things, an “Obama Democrat,” a “liberal Democrat,” a “rich trial lawyer” and a Bill Clinton-advised champion of gay marriage who opposes the death penalty. We have to suspect, based on the ads, that Fayard is also unapologetically pro Muslim and pro swarthy Mexican border crosser. Notwithstanding that “rich trial lawyer” is redundant and Dardenne is himself a lawyer, do advocacy of gay marriage or opposition to capital punishment — assuming those are Fayard’s positions — have any bearing on the operation of what is essentially a statewide tourism bureau? Probably not. Besides, in this blushingly red state, isn’t Fayard’s party affiliation all he needs to sink her?

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