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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, December 10, 2013:
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The Cane Fire Film Series will be screening The Savoy King, a feature documentary on Swing-era drummer-bandleader Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, and Harlems Savoy Ballroom.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Outfit Of The Game looks at jewelry
Holiday party with style
Funds will expand Early College Academy from 250 to 1,000 students
Let ’em know and you could win a $250 night out.
Paul’s customer giveaway named
Some of the many events taking place this weekend include The Festival of Light and the Fire & Water Festival.
Appropriate for the season of giving, exhibit features behind-the-scenes images of beloved icon.
Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 12 this week to 1,775.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 1,850 from the previous week's total of 2,854. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 4,048.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
kiki hosting designer’s latest
Laid back cuts for the NOLA Bowl
Flavors of mama’s holiday sweet treat with a twist