Wednesday, October 6, 2010Politics gives, and it serves crow. By Walter Pierce
Thursday evening, in a meeting of the City-Parish Council that was relatively painless as far as finalizing the budget goes, the Hub City was a huge winner: By a 7-2 vote with the usual suspects registering their opposition to progress, the council agreed to make a $500,000 down payment on the horse farm. This sets in motion a cooperative endeavor agreement between LCG, UL (the owner of those 100 pristine, rolling acres in the heart of our city, with an emphasis on city) and the Community Foundation of Acadiana in which LCG will purchase the land from the university while CFA bankrolls its development into a passive park.
The losers in this deal are commercial developers, skateboarders, dog owners (the deal includes a land swap giving UL the Youth Park property near the intersection of Lewis and Johnston streets where the skate bowl and dog park are located; they’ll be paved over at some point for expansion of the university) and those whose hearts gurgle and choke on a black bile disguised as fiscal restraint. Presumably a bronze plaque at the park’s entrance commemorating the council and administration who made the park possible will not bear asterisks.
But the council on Thursday also took a step back by amending a smart model designed to take funding decisions for external art and social service agencies out of council politics and put them in the hands of professional panels at the Acadiana Center for the Arts (for issuing arts grants through LCG) and the Community Development Department (for social service agencies). Now the council will once again have veto power over what the grant-writing panels at the AcA and CDD decide are the best allocations of money, opening the process once again to council patronage, grandstanding and nitpicking.
One hopes members of the charter commission watched these votes closely, especially the horse farm; when the city of Lafayette loses its majority on the CPC, and that day will come, slam-dunk initiatives like the horse farm purchase will become half-court Hail Marys.
Nonetheless, Thursday night was, on balance, a good one for the city and the parish.
But 48 hours later our waxen wings melted as the possibility of reform in public education fluttered back to earth with a thud.
The Independent Weekly made endorsements in each of the six competitive seats for the school board — a first for the paper. As it turned out, two of the races were anything but competitive: challengers Dudley LaBauve III in District 6 and Thomas Brown in 7, whom we endorsed over the incumbents, were trounced, and Greg Davis’ four-vote loss in District 2 was the bitterest of pills.
Overall, three of our six endorsements went down to defeat. A fourth, Dean Landry in District 5, is in a runoff, but finished well behind the frontrunner. Among our preferred candidates only Tehmi Chassion in District 4 and incumbent Hunter Beasley in 8 carried the day.
If Landry manages a win in 5, this newspaper will have batted .500 — a great average in baseball but merely average in political handicapping.
The winner in Saturday’s school board election was the school system’s central office, which dreaded the prospect of a reform regime led by Davis taking the reins. So instead of reform, we get at least four more years of patting ourselves on the back for achieving middle-of-the-pack results from our public schools. And voters in the meantime will be asked to fund a $1.1 billion facilities master plan under a board that countenances mediocrity.
Yes, this newspaper is eating some crow this week. It’s runny on the plate, but we’ll digest it. That’s why God invented ketchup.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising as new job seekers keep entering the market.
Three bedroom cottage or three bedroom ranch
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Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
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We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
Three bedroom in Lawtell or two bedroom in Rayne
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The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
"I feel it is appropriate to speak up when there are topics that are being bandied about with little or no factual data to back them."
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.