Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Next year is shaping up to be a divine one for politiphiles.
By Walter Pierce
It begins with qualifying Jan. 12 for the open state Senate District 26 seat formerly occupied by Nick Gautreaux, who left the Legislature in late December to serve as commissioner of the Office of Motor Vehicles. The district spans all of Vermilion Parish, plus parts of St. Landry and Acadia parishes and the western third of Lafayette. First-term GOP Rep. Jonathan Perry of Abbeville has already announced his intention to run; we’ll have to wait and see if any aspirants from Lafayette Parish emerge.
Spring is when things really warm up, first with state lawmakers convening March 20 to redraw Louisiana’s U.S. House districts. The federal redistricting — Louisiana will lose one of its current seven U.S. House districts — is likely to lead to the creation of a district that combines in some fashion Districts 7 and 3 to create a coastal district. That would pit, should both choose to seek the position, Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette, the three-term Republican in 7, against newly elected Republican (and tea party-embracing) Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia, who won former Congressman Charlie Melancon’s District 3 seat this fall.
If this comes to pass — that Boustany and Landry square off in two years for a new, combined district — at least one thing bodes well for Boustany: the end of Louisiana’s closed party primary system, adopted in 2006 and abandoned this year, and the return to open or so-called “jungle” primaries.
As we witnessed across the nation in 2010, closed GOP primaries favor the more conservative candidate (think Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller and Ken Buck, tea party candidates who defeated moderate, “establishment” opponents but who later lost in their general elections). An open primary in which Democrats and Republicans (and everyone else) are all vying to make a run-off will favor a midstreamer like Boustany.
On the heels of federal redistricting, sometime in late March or early April, parishes will also begin the redistricting process. Here in Lafayette, we’ll redraw the nine districts that comprise the school board and city-parish council seats. This promises to be a pain in the asterisk: Federal law requires the parish to maintain two majority-black districts, and redrawing those districts — Lafayette’s black population isn’t as concentrated in the central and north parts of the city as it was a decade ago — without gerrymandering them will be tricky.
There’s also the possibility that because our parish has become so bottom-heavy, that is, more densely populated in the south, the council could flip in favor of council members who represent non-city residents, giving them five seats to four for the city reps. Try funding an arts center or buying a horse farm if that happens, which brings us to the charter commission.
The nine-member panel must complete its work and make a recommendation by April 21. It will likely recommend what is essentially partial deconsolidation — create a separate charter for the city of Lafayette, with its own council and mayor, maintain a parish council but keep services like public works consolidated. That is the best possible solution for those of us who worry the city is headed toward a capitulation of its sovereignty and self-determination.
In the fall there will be elections for city-parish council, city-parish president and some legislative seats, including Senate District 23 (incumbent Mike Michot is term-limited) and House District 44 (Rep. Rickey Hardy, our fount of colorful quotes, will seek reelection). The likely suitor for Michot’s seat is state Rep. Page Cortez of Lafayette, who will be winding down his first term in the House. Our sources say a more conservative, tea party-approved candidate — like Michot, Cortez is a centrist Republican — may emerge to vie for Michot’s seat. Regardless, the outcome of the legislative contests could have far-reaching consequences for the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the Acadiana delegation in Baton Rouge. It’s all about clout.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
The easy one-piece way to style
Comfy feet for long days
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 23, 2014:
Newsy bits for the whole fam
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
This Wednesday, April 23, marks the first full day of INNOV8 Lafayette.
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The state’s “greedy trial lawyers” haven’t scared this oil giant away.
Local boutique celebrates all things green
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Tender meat and crispy bread create a white-linen-worthy sandwich
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
INNOV8 Lafayette launches its weeklong festival dedicated to cultivating innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
Smaller Microsoft Store installations sell a wide array of Microsoft products (Windows phones, Surface tablets and Xbox consoles) but don’t include everything.
Dirk Powell and Cedric Watson will perform together during an intimate gig at Parish Ink, 310 Jefferson St., from 9-11:30 p.m. Wednesday.
See cutting-edge technologies Thursday in brief presentations/demonstrations from 3rd Dimension Media, C&C Technologies, Cimation and UL Lafayette School of Engineering.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.