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.
Lafayette patio home or Port Barre waterfront cottage
With six of the LPSB’s nine members poised for Pat Cooper’s termination, a request was filed Tuesday for a fast-tracked hearing on the federal lawsuit calling for the disqualification of two board members from voting on the matter due to bias.
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Louisiana's Republican Party has filed a complaint against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with the Senate's ethics committee about her use of private chartered planes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An attorney signs up to run against LPSB's Mark Cockerham, and within a week a lawsuit is filed by a former LPSS employee in an attempt to disqualify him. Coincidence?
According to Gov. Bobby Jindal, President Barack Obama needs to stop talking about “justice” and start murdering people, even if we have to go alone.
A replacement is expected by January to fill the vacancy left when Greg Roberts resigned after allegedly pointing a fake gun at an engineer during a June meeting.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got off to a superb start Saturday night, and the Human Jukebox made the soaked season opener even sweeter for the third-largest crowd in Cajun Field history.
The Louisiana health department will follow a federal judge's order and refrain from immediately penalizing doctors who are trying to comply with a new abortion law that requires them to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
While bogged down with qualifying candidates last month, Secretary of State Tom Schedler didn’t lose sight of the true endgame coming in November and December.
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A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
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Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.