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.
Abshire has rejoined the Lafayette Bar Association, where she previously served as marketing coordinator under longtime Executive Director Susan Holliday
Home-grown Baton Rouge market/deli heads to Lafayette.
Deadline for submitting noms for annual competition is March 15
Whitney Bank officials have confirmed that the downtown branch will cease to exist when it relocates its regional headquarters to River Ranch at the end of May.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Downtown Lafayette restaurant launches new concept near Le Triomphe
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Yeah, it's smoked venison sausage stuffed in a suckling pig stuffed in a lamb and roasted over an open fire.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Reamco founders Brent Milam and Ashley Lane now shareholders in acquiring company and part of its management team.
Low heels, high style
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.