Wednesday, July 13, 2011
By Walter Pierce
Supporters of charter repeal are gearing up for the October vote.
Bruce Conque is making the rounds of Lafayette Parish with a PowerPoint presentation about Lafayette Consolidated Government and the wisdom in repealing LCG’s Home Rule Charter and returning to separate charters for the city and parish. He’s offering the presentation for a wide array of interests — Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, city councils, et cetera. He’s done several thus far and plans to continue as long as someone is willing to listen. The former city-parish councilman and member of the Lafayette Charter Commission was instrumental in steering the panel toward its recommendation a few months ago that parish voters be given the choice about whether to maintain the status quo or grant Lafayette the autonomy and self-determination it deserves. That Lafayette has to go hat in hand to the rest of the parish and ask for emancipation remains lodged in my craw.
Bruce has a foil in his campaign to win over voters. Don Bacqué, one of Conque’s fellow charter commissioners who opposes repeal, is also making a pitch to civic groups along the lines of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and two governments cost too much. Conque is highlighting the patent inequity of the city of Lafayette being the only municipality in the parish that is governed in part by non-residents — representation without taxation, if you will.
Some worry that Conque is beginning this pro-repeal tour too soon. But the election is just three and a half months away. Moreover, Bruce and many who favor repealing the charter realize this will be a tough sell in Lafayette Parish.
The Oct. 22 ballot will be a big one in Lafayette Parish: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, insurance and ag commissioner, a seat on the state school board, City-Parish Council, parish-president, assessor, clerk of court and sheriff — assuming incumbents in those posts have competitors. But the proponents of Lafayette autonomy worry, above all, about one ballot item derailing the city’s bid to regain its independence: the school board property tax proposition.
The concern is that the tax prop — a withering increase if you’re of modest means — will be down at the bottom of a very busy ballot alongside the proposition that the Home Rule Charter be repealed. The school board tax looks to be a goner at this point, and if it galvanizes enough angry voters itching to press “no,” the charter proposition could become collateral damage.
As a result, some within the mover-shaker circles in the city of Lafayette who favor what is essentially deconsolidation (of a government that was never really consolidated) have begun a discussion about marshalling some resources to mount a public-awareness campaign: “Press Yes for Progress.” OK, I just made that up, but it’s not bad — better than “Dump the Chumps,” which is what this is really about for many city folk concerned about the possibility of a braying, regressive, vote-no-on-everything element from outside the city — especially, Gosh forbid, teabaggers — becoming a majority on the council and putting the kibosh to some of our more progressive impulses. The horse farm purchase and funding the Acadiana Center for the Arts come immediately to mind as examples.
Even if the school board tax prop weren’t on the ballot, repealing the charter will be a tough sell. Residents in the smaller towns have nothing to neither gain nor lose by repealing the charter, and unincorporated Lafayette Parish will remain a resource-deprived stepchild no matter what. Only the city of Lafayette would benefit, so from a sales perspective, supporters of repeal will need to get a solid majority of the city, which is only about 54 percent of parish, to press yes on Oct. 22 when the inherent unfairness of consolidation from a city perspective will be wagging its tail feathers: Residents in the smaller Lafayette Parish cities, which opted out of consolidation and are fully autonomous, will get a say in whether the city of Lafayette can have the same autonomy as them.
Yes, I know, a city majority voted for consolidation in 1992. We made our bed and now we’re lying in it. But it’s time to at least change the sheets.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
"I want to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the last three years as your school superintendent."
After Thanksgiving, the small town of Moreauville plans to confiscate and kill all rottweilers and pitbulls, including a service dog.
Pot industry gearing up for holiday shoppers; uncertainty in Ferguson; Patriots' winning streak and more national and international news for Monday, November 24, 2014.
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Two bedroom in Lafayette or two bedroom in Kaplan
Sennond trunk show at kiki
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thursday’s explosion aboard an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico is now under investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Four hours after inviting supporters to a rally with Sen. Marco Rubio, Bill Cassidy claimed that Mary Landrieu “voted against stopping executive amnesty.”
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.
Money from the first and only settlement so far in a Louisiana flood board's lawsuit against dozens of energy companies will be placed in a special account dedicated to coastal restoration.
The Ethics Board gives the lame duck Youngsville mayor permission to offer a sweet parting gift to the community he’s presided over for three terms.
Carencro ranch style home or three bedroom traditional in St. Martinville
The money came through a general obligation bond sale Thursday.
A legend in the Acadiana Oil Patch, Comeaux died Monday, Nov. 17.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
With a growing number of alleged sexual assault victims coming out against Bill Cosby in recent weeks, upcoming projects have been canned by NBC and Netflix, but that won’t affect the once-loved comedian and actor’s scheduled performance in Lafayette.
The Baltimore Ravens' retooled secondary had no trouble against a rookie quarterback at home. This week, however, their task is far more challenging: stopping Drew Brees on the road in New Orleans.
Add Texas Gov. Rick Perry's name to the list of possible Republican presidential candidates flooding the campaign trail for GOP Senate candidate Bill Cassidy.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Florida this week with his fellow Republican governors for another gripe session aimed at their favorite target, the president, this time taking aim at his immigration plans.
Early voting for the runoff is shortened by two days because of the Thanksgiving holiday.