Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Written by The Independent Staff
We left the first installment of the 2011 Independent Weekly Lecture Series — screenings of the acclaimed Davis Guggenheim documentary Waiting for Superman at the Grand Theatre on Ambassador Caffery — with a sense that, finally, there may be some real momentum toward embracing reform in the public school system, or at the very least taking an active interest in the performance of our public schools by a heretofore complacent population. The Ind-hosted screening of WFS was originally scheduled to be a one-off event, but overwhelming demand for tickets prompted a second screening. The cinema was packed. Sandwiched in between was a panel discussion by members of the education community. Plenty of teachers turned out for the screenings, but so did elected officials, school board members, superintendents from Lafayette and neighboring parishes, and regular folk who recognize that if we don’t improve public schools — if we don’t get this right — the future prosperity of Acadiana is seriously compromised.
The much-anticipated audit of the Lafayette Housing Authority went public Monday, confirming many of our suspicions about the beleaguered agency — too little transparency, negligible accountability, a board bored or intimidated by the minutiae of competently overseeing an entity that receives a king’s ransom in federal funds to aid the poor, an executive director who also managed a housing authority in Opelousas and who received gilded financial compensation — in effect, an out-of-control agency that opened the cookie jar to far too many hands. Also, on Sunday The Daily Advertiser published an eye-opening schematic delineating potential conflicts of interest in convoluted and Byzantine programs supposedly designed for low-income housing. Follow the money? Good luck with that. The audit and Advertiser story underscore a stunning lack of oversight. Now District Attorney Mike Harson must decide whether any of the audit’s “abnormalities” rise to the level of criminality. And to think, the LHA is just one relatively insignificant agency through which millions of our tax dollars flow. Scary.
We know Gov. Bobby Jindal loves him some pub. Like a junkie with a private jet he travels the country feeding his fix. And according to the National Oil Spill Commission, in a report issued last week that was vigorously disputed by Camp Jindal, our gallivanting gub-nuh, during the height of the disaster, used the spill for some old-fashioned “showboating,” as The New York Times put it in a headline. The report accuses Jindal of deliberately withholding from the Coast Guard the location of an area of oiled marsh he used as a backdrop for television interviews, presumably because if the Coast Guard knew where the fouled marsh was it would have dispatched a clean-up crew and Jindal would have had to find another location from which to rail against the federal response to the spill. According to the report: “Coast Guard responders watched Governor Jindal — and the TV cameras following him — return to what appeared to be the same spot of oiled marsh day after day to complain about the inadequacy of the federal response, even though only a small amount of marsh was then oiled. When the Coast Guard sought to clean up that piece of affected marsh, Governor Jindal refused to confirm its location.”
With six of the LPSB’s nine members poised for Pat Cooper’s termination, a request was filed Tuesday for a fast-tracked hearing on the federal lawsuit calling for the disqualification of two board members from voting on the matter due to bias.
A few of my favorite things
Louisiana's Republican Party has filed a complaint against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with the Senate's ethics committee about her use of private chartered planes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An attorney signs up to run against LPSB's Mark Cockerham, and within a week a lawsuit is filed by a former LPSS employee in an attempt to disqualify him. Coincidence?
According to Gov. Bobby Jindal, President Barack Obama needs to stop talking about “justice” and start murdering people, even if we have to go alone.
A replacement is expected by January to fill the vacancy left when Greg Roberts resigned after allegedly pointing a fake gun at an engineer during a June meeting.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got off to a superb start Saturday night, and the Human Jukebox made the soaked season opener even sweeter for the third-largest crowd in Cajun Field history.
The Louisiana health department will follow a federal judge's order and refrain from immediately penalizing doctors who are trying to comply with a new abortion law that requires them to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
While bogged down with qualifying candidates last month, Secretary of State Tom Schedler didn’t lose sight of the true endgame coming in November and December.
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A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home