Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Why shouldn’t Lafayette enjoy the same self-determination as its neighbors? By Walter Pierce
“Give the citizens of Lafayette equal status with those who reside in Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott and Youngsville,” Conque told his fellow commissioners at the end of a PowerPoint presentation. “Give us our own council and mayor.”
Under the plan floated by Conque — it’s a modified version of consolidation in place for 42 years in Jacksonville, Fla. — the parish would be divided in services districts, six urban services districts for the municipalities of Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Lafayette, Scott and Youngsville, and a seventh general services district for unincorporated Lafayette Parish. Each would have its own council and mayor, save for the general services district, which would have only an elected council and would use intergovernmental agreements with the urban services districts for public works projects and the like. This would spare the general services district from needing a departmental bureaucracy; it could exist with its council and just a few employees. (The streamlining of services by eliminating redundancies among city and parish operations was a major sell in the run-up to consolidation in the early ’90s; Conque’s model answers this cost-saving benefit through intergovernmental agreements.)
The term “services district” is a semantic distinction, another way of saying municipal boundaries. The smaller cities in the parish wouldn’t be affected by this model. They would retain their councils, their mayors, their bureaucracies and their self-determination. The elected officials would still be allowed to wear knit shirts with their names and titles embroidered over their hearts.
What would change, according to this plan, is that the city of Lafayette would throw off the yoke of consolidation and get, like the smaller cities, its own council, mayor, bureaucracy and, most important, self-determination.
Conque was careful to avoid terms like “charter repeal” and “deconsolidation,” although, semantically again, the model he’s proposing would in effect do both.
At their most recent meeting, Monday of this week, commissioners were expected to talk about variations of the model. (This issue of The Independent went to press a few hours before the meeting.) The commission appears headed toward figuring out how to give Lafayette the self-determination it presently lacks.
Consider this canary in our civic coal mine: On Sept. 21 an ordinance that would ban open containers at three nightlife districts, each within the city limits of Lafayette, failed by a 5-4 vote. Three “parish” councilmen joined two “city” councilmen in killing the measure. But the vote among the councilmen who represent majority-city districts — councilmen, in fact, who represent the vast majority of city of Lafayette residents — was three in favor, two opposed. The will of the city, based on its elected officials, was to approve the ordinance. It failed through the votes of three councilmen who represent a smattering of city residents.
Until Lafayette has its own city council and mayor, there will be more scenarios like this, and they will be amplified when — and it’s not a matter of if; it’s when — the city loses its majority on the council. Banning “go cups” may be a minor issue, and that measure will face the council’s vote again on Nov. 2, but they won’t always be minor.
Let’s admit, fellow city residents, our vote for consolidation was a Pollyanna one. We failed to anticipate the problems it would accrue. But the model proposed by Conque, or some variation of it, must still get necessary traction; five of the nine commissioners will have to agree to put it to a parishwide referendum.
Yet hovering above these proceedings is the question that must be answered: Why shouldn’t Lafayette enjoy the same self-determination as its neighbors?
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Hot style for fans (and beyond)
Four bedroom Acadian or three bedroom traditional
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home
Ready to geaux in purple and gold
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
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.