Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011
Written by The Independent Staff

It wasn’t the ugliest election cycle on record, nor was it the nicest. But a sure salve for any electoral rancor in Lafayette Parish was the civil campaigns waged for and against repealing the Home Rule Charter by former charter commission members Bruce Conque and Don Bacque. For months, separately and together — Bruce favored deconsolidation, Don opposed it — the two offered presentations to any club, group or organization that was willing to listen, laying out the issues and making strong albeit mutually respectful cases for their competing positions. Ultimately Don’s side prevailed, but there was no doubt a text or phone call Saturday night from Bruce congratulating Don on a clean campaign. Well done, gentlemen.

Chris Welty will make a great press secretary some day. He has the communication skills, the looks, the demeanor, and he’s gotten some critical practice over two election cycles working for then-candidate and now-Gov. Bobby Jindal. Problem is, Welty is a news reporter for KATC. Astonishingly, he’s still a news reporter for KATC, even after the station learned that he’s been paid nearly $2,000 this year working for Jindal, a clear violation of journalism ethics. Welty’s moonlighting only came to light publicly after this newspaper reported it last week, prompting competing TV station KLFY to follow suit. KATC General Manager and President Andrew Shenkan says the station was made aware of Welty’s second job sometime after Welty received his last payment from Jindal on Sept. 30, and that Welty has since severed his employment ties to Jindal.

Does anyone really give a damn who endorses a candidate? Well, the candidates certainly do, and in the closing days before the Oct. 22 election they were touting them ad nauseum, especially in the ugliest statewide race of them all — for lieutenant governor. It seemed early last week that Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, AKA Brand Vitter, had scored a coup by securing the endorsements of 15 mayors from Acadiana and southeast Louisiana who gathered at a Breaux Bridge restaurant to cheer him on. “Go, Billy, go!” The Nungesser campaign fired off the obligatory press release. We dutifully reported it. Then the calls started coming in — from Mayors Hilda Curry of New Iberia, Glenn Brasseaux of Carencro, Billy D’Aquilla of St. Francisville and Breaux Bridge’s Jack Dale Delhomme. All four denied endorsing Nungesser and said they merely went to hear the candidate speak at the request of a colleague, Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle, who later attributed the flap to a “miscommunication.” Um-hmmm. No telling how many of the mayors actually endorsed Nungesser, who lost Saturday to incumbent Jay Dardenne, but as late as election eve Nungesser was still trumpeting the endorsements on his Facebook page. With friends like that ...

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