Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just when we thought it was all over for the Rosa Parks Transportation Center’s brand spanking new post office and its employees who have been digging their new workspace, the U.S. Postal Service sent word last week that the downtown location will not be shuttered after all. The facility had been slated for closure as the USPS undergoes a restructuring. Post Office Operations Manager Jeff Camp cited logistical concerns for the USPS’ decision to rescind the closure — shuttering the Rosa Parks office would “create congestion and hardships for employees and residents,” the press release notes — although Camp does appear to leave open a window for eliminating the branch in the future: “We cannot move any letter carrier routes or post office boxes to nearby stations without significant structural changes to those postal facilities,” says Camp. “Our financial condition does not allow this kind of expenditure at this time.” And we’re not thinking that financial situation is going to change any time soon.

The state Department of Education takes much pride in the policies that safeguard cheating on LEAP and other state standardized tests, so much so that DOE voluntarily touted its testing security in a press release sent to the media on Aug. 18. Ironically, that’s the same day the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education took an unprecedented vote to grant a cheaters waiver to Calcasieu Parish schools, where a few faulty school administrators allowed more than 600 students to cheat on their Graduation Exit Exams. If any scores are obtained by cheating, which DOE defines as either administrative error, erasure analysis or plagiarism, the test scores are automatically voided and the scores are replaced by zeroes. Those zeroes play a large part in how school performance scores are evaluated, which is why BESE is allowing Calcasieu Parish to use the students’ retest scores instead of zeroes. DOE recommended that BESE deny the request because of the potential for other districts to use Calcasieu’s waiver as a way to circumvent sanctions for cheaters. And according to sources close to BESE, DOE was right.

What began as a standard announcement story in The Daily Advertiser on Rep. Joel Robideaux’s switch to the GOP took a sharp turn toward the Tea Party poppy fields Friday when Ernie Alexander, a former state lawmaker and erstwhile radio station manager spouted some very public bile on behalf of the Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee. Just three paragraphs into the daily’s piece outlining Robideaux’s decision to join the Republican Party, Alexander tells reporter Nicholas Persac that “Robideaux is not one of my favorite people,” and adds that “[h]e is not well-thought-of by Republicans, and he should not expect support from any of the groups of organized Republicans in Lafayette Parish.” What Alexander evidently doesn’t appreciate is that Robideaux’s party switch ups his chances of being elected as speaker of the house when the Legislature reconvenes, and the powerful position would serve Lafayette well in terms of legislative influence. Alexander’s assertion that Robideaux won’t get help from “organized Republicans in Lafayette Parish” should be no sweat off Robideaux’s back since Robideaux’s colleagues in the Legislature are the ones casting the speaker votes.

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