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.
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The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
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US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.