Wednesday, November 10, 2010


When The Daily Advertiser honored Lafayette attorney Gary McGoffin last week as our community’s 78th Civic Cup winner, we cheered. McGoffin joins a firmament of civic leaders whose engagement in the life of Lafayette makes our city a great place to live. An Eagle Scout, the father of Eagle Scouts and current president of the Evangeline Area Boy Scouts of America whose father founded a local scouting troop, Gary is the epitome of involved and engaged. He told the newspaper in an interview last month when the award was announced that his “hobby” is meeting with city leaders, helping drive community dialogue and initiatives. He does that and more, yet he’s happy to let others get the credit. Full disclosure: McGoffin is The Independent Weekly’s attorney. More important, he’s a friend.


More evidence last week that the newspaper industry in general and Gannett in particular continue to feel the pinch from declining circulation and ad revenue. Last week the nation’s largest newspaper chain laid off (at last count) about 190 more employees at many of its 81 papers, including a whopping 130 at flagship USA Today, according to Gannett Blog, which is not affiliated with the media giant. Six of those pink slips were handed out in Lafayette at The Daily Advertiser, which has had to bear a heavy load for Gannett’s cost cutting because it’s been a relatively stable, profit-making paper. The job losses at TDA were spread out among production, circulation, advertising and the newsroom. The newspaper’s staff has suffered mightily over the last two years through rounds of layoffs and no doubt spends a lot of time on pins and needles. And while this weekly newspaper has been quick in the past to highlight the shortcomings of the big, bad daily, the Advertiser’s employees are our colleagues in an industry under siege. One layoff is too many.


This is why we don’t live in north Louisiana. Just too many rednecks. A Ruston man will spend the next year in a federal prison after pleading guilty in federal court in Lafayette to violating the Fair Housing Act when he placed a hangman’s noose under the carport of the home of a Honduran immigrant who moved to Ruston from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Robert Jackson, 37, was sentenced Friday. But here’s a twist: According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Jackson admitted that he hung the noose in order “to send a message” to black men who visited the victim’s home. But considering the victim in the case was Hispanic, we find it wonderfully ironic that one of Jackson’s prosecutors was Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.

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