Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Exposing a cyber scum bag made for a compelling read, but the arithmetic of readin’ and writin’ really had readers abuzz.
I anticipated an avalanche of comments on our website following the posting of last week’s issue, and since we moderate comments posted to our site — we read and approve them as opposed to simply allowing readers to post as they please — I also anticipated a more frenetic week than normal. My expectation was met. The cover story, “Busted: Busted in Acadiana,” investigated, detailed and identified the sleaze ball behind a Facebook page that effectively operated as a legal extortion ring — an unsavory public-shame machine, as we characterized it in the story’s sub-headline, that posted mug shots from local law enforcement and then charged individuals to have their pictures removed — and intimidated and harassed others who tried to intervene on family members’ behalf.
Indeed, the story resonated with readers and was much commented upon, and there’s a follow-up in this week’s issue. But, to my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t “Busted: Busted in Acadiana” that generated the most chatter; it was another topic in last week’s issue, an analysis of the Lafayette Parish School System property tax proposition on the Oct. 22 ballot titled “Dearth & Taxes” and a blog posted online the day before about a pro-tax political action committee that had readers talking the most. “Dearth & Taxes” took no editorial position on the proposition, but while it explained what the tax would mean for the average household if the proposition passes, it also pointed out that even if the proposition passes, Lafayette Parish will still be the one of the least taxed parishes in the state and the least taxed of all metropolitan parishes.
There was plenty of sturm und drang in the online discourse arguing vehemently against the proposition, but for the first time in our reporting on the topic of the Master Facilities Plan and its rather enormous price tag, there was roughly an equal amount of comments in favor of the tax prop. If there is any take-away from the comments it is that decisions by past school boards — especially using maintenance funds for non-maintenance purposes, which has a lot to do with the crappy condition of our school facilities — have the current board and central office fighting a deficit in public trust.
I say I was pleasantly surprised by this development not because I wrote the analysis, which combined with the blog generated twice as many comments as the Busted in Acadiana cover story. I was pleasantly surprised because the tax proposition is an important issue — a dry, unattractive topic that is yet vitally important to our community. That it trumped in digital discourse a well-investigated take-down of a salacious website and its immoral administrator speaks well of our readers.
Don’t get me wrong: “Busted: Busted in Acadiana” is a compelling read — if you haven’t read it I urge you to find it at theind.com and give it a twirl — and Christopher Hebert, the purveyor of the now-defunct BIA phenomenon, deserves every bit of notoriety he has gotten. He deserves to be institutionalized, if you ask me, although that’s a matter for others to decide.
But public education in Lafayette is more important than Busted in Acadiana will ever be. It simply is.
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.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.