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.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
I was interested to hear what Lessig would say to an almost exclusively conservative audience of successful businessmen and businesswomen in the heart of what is now a deeply red area of the country.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage
Snuggle worthy wear
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Louisiana's Republican governor has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
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Newly established honor recognizes outstanding local attorneys; Neuner and McGoffin win President's Award; and Blanchard named Outstanding Young Lawyer.
Daily paper constructing new digs near production plant on Rieger Road at Siegen Lane, near I-10.
Investigation finds Arnaud’s Furniture, Carroll Building Specialties and Crazy Charlie’s Shoes running misleading going-out-of-business sales.
Critics say workers and retirees are being held responsible for the Jindal administration's mismanagement of their program.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
"This is yet another example of the failed leadership and lack of focus that Hunter Beasley has exhibited. He’s shown zero regard for kids, teachers or even passing a budget for the school year that’s already started."
Five bedroom Acadian style home or four bedroom traditional home
Cutting edge if you dare
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.
"Just as the devil does not deserve equal time with God, and a lie does not deserve equal time with the truth, the remarks of William Donahue have no place in any respectable journal seriously dealing with a serious story and pursuing truth."
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her lead GOP challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy are running close when it comes to money. Landrieu has $5.5 million to Cassidy’s $5.6 million in the bank.
With expectations mounting that Gov. Bobby Jindal will soon announce his campaign for president, attention is turning to not only who he will bring along with him but also what will transpire politically back home during the transition.