Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Written by Walter Pierce
State rep takes on the ‘establishment,’ again, in his re-election bid.
State Rep. Rickey Hardy upset the apple cart when he ran for the House District 44 seat four years ago. Now he has to do it again.
He pranced into this political season sporting a pair of boxing gloves emblazoned with slogans when he qualified to run for re-election last week — a made-for-media stunt to be sure, but consistent with Hardy’s devil-may-care style — yet he skipped a forum hosted jointly by Acadiana Progressive and the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee that aired live on Acadiana Open Channel last night, Tuesday, Sept. 13. (I’m assuming the forum went off as planned; this newspaper goes to press on Monday night.)
Forum participants included the two candidates hoping to make Hardy a one-term state rep: businessman Vince Pierre, who is the nephew of the man Hardy replaced in the House, and attorney Roshell Jones. Hardy passed on the debate not because he wanted to dodge Pierre and Jones; he was a no-show because one of the panelists scheduled to question the candidates was Beatrice Wilson, better known as radio personality Porsha Evans.
“Absolutely, it is a set-up. I fought and exposed corruption and she was a part of it — she was involved,” Hardy told me late last week to explain his decision to boycott the forum. “Why would I go and answer questions from a convicted criminal? It makes no sense for me to go over there.”
Evans-née-Wilson, you see, was one of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program case workers unceremoniously canned last year by the Lafayette Housing Authority board in the fall-out from that ugly 2009 independent audit exposing irregularities in LHA operations in general and in the DHAP program specifically — a sordid unraveling of what appears to have been a federally funded cash cow for a few well-placed individuals in Lafayette that Rep. Hardy was instrumental in exposing to the community. (Evans, it was revealed in media reports during the LHA-DHAP affair, has a criminal history of convictions for theft, drug possession, battery and drug distribution.)
And who did Evans work with on the DHAP gravy train that Hardy helped derail? Former City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams, Hardy’s opponent in the 2007 election for House 44 — the victory that sent Hardy to Baton Rouge to do the people’s business. Evans and Williams even shared office space during their time with DHAP, and it’s fair to say the pair is aligned within north Lafayette’s black political milieu.
In his fourth term on the Lafayette Parish School Board in 2007, which a couple of years before had adopted term limits, Hardy saw an opportunity for bigger and better — an opening in the state House of Representatives — a doorway that was “supposed” to open for Williams, who at the time was a City-Parish Council member coming off a protracted and nasty fight over renaming Willow Street in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s honor.
Hardy’s win over Williams, propelled in no small measure by the former’s willingness to reach across racial lines in the district — Williams’ MLK fracas alienated many white voters in the majority-black district, a demographic that proved critical in securing Hardy’s victory — was seen by many as an upset.
Now, four years after beating expectations and Williams in a runoff to replace Wilfred Pierre, Hardy finds himself up against what he considers the same established political forces in the district — forces that want back what he took in 2007.
One Hardy supporter who asked to remain anonymous shares the state rep’s opinion of the Tuesday debate: “This is like walking into a Russian roulette contest and them handing Rickey a revolver with all the chambers filled!”
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
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.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
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.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
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.