LAFAYETTE PUBLIC POLICY "Mais, C'est Politique, Cher"
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Residents wary of some plans --- Undeveloped land hard to find in parish Bob Moser
Many neighborhoods organized in 2006 like never before, sending large groups to Planning Commission and City-Parish Council meetings. Some came well-informed about the law. Others less so, but few, if any, would easily back down.
Persons of the Year: Danica Adams and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks Leslie Turk
Two former UL Lafayette students restored the city’s faith in community activism — and the spirit of its youth.
Danica Adams and Elizabeth Brooks, better known as “EB,” were in Dr. Griff Blakewood’s community-based planning class on a Wednesday afternoon when they got word that the university was planning to rezone and sell its horse farm property. “I was so upset that I just started crying right there in the middle of class,” Adams says. Blakewood dismissed the young women so they could pull themselves together, and outside of the classroom they made a pact. “Right then, we decided together that we weren’t going to let this happen, and we had to do something about it,” Adams says.
A Reckoning With Reality --- The People Speak Out Again On M.L. King Street Issue! Fred Prejean
Congratulations to the thirty or so citizens attending a meeting called by Councilman Benjamin, Councilman Williams and LCG Parish President Joey Durel to address the ML King St. renaming issue.
Congratulations to the citizens who were able to neutralize the rhetoric regarding the ML King Street renaming issue and rethink the entire matter in a mature manner.
Congratulations to the citizens for ending the "distractions, diversions, distortions and denial" of truth that has plagued and racially polarized our community.
(click -- Where's The Leadership )
Congratulations to Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Williams for their reconsideration of their irrevocable demand to rename Willow St. to ML King Dr. We can't always have what we want, when we want it, where we want it or because we want it, even though we may justly deserve that which is pursued. We black people in Lafayette are not monolithic in thought and nor should we be. We don't all want the same thing at the same time for the same reason. We don't always share the exact same views on social, economic or political issues because each of these issues affects each of us differently. The same applies to white, red, yellow, purple and blue people. God gave each of us a mind of our own and the gifts of reason and choice. Martin Luther King awakened this consciousness in us and helped many of us begin new lifestyles including a greater respect for ourselves and others. In his I have a Dream speech King wrote, "But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline."
I attended the March on Washington on August 28th, 1963 and witnessed Dr. King deliver his " I have a Dream" speech for the first time. I was one of five black people from Lafayette who attended this historic event. It was a week before my 17th birthday. While listening to Dr. King, I experienced a feeling of spirituality, cultural pride, self worth and the meaning of being an American. King's words were filled with faith that his vision of one America would be realized. This vision remain instilled in me, as it does in many other individuals, as we continue to support the principles of humanity he espoused.
To those few people I've heard say that "the Civil Rights Movement" missed Lafayette, I urge you to learn your history from people who lived during this period and participated in challenging the lingering, debilitating effects of the "U.S. Civil War Post Reconstruction Era" as it existed in Lafayette, La. from 1945 (end of WWII) throughout the 1970s.
Lafayette resolves King issue --- Willow renamed for MLK KEVIN BLANCHARD
Signs will be placed at major intersections on Willow Street within the next six months designating the road Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parkway. The plan was approved Tuesday night by the City-Parish Council.The council has been stalemated for the past year over the issue of renaming a major road in Lafayette for the slain civil rights leader. The stalemate has sparked picketing of council meetings and sparked a protest by Councilman Chris Williams that led him to court on charges of criminal damage to property. Officials welcomed the resolution. “This chapter in Lafayette’s history is over,” City-Parish President Joey Durel said to applause from a standing room only crowd that came to support the designation. The measure was defeated four times in votes along racial lines. It passed Tuesday because of one difference — no one’s addresses will change. The important thing, councilmen and Durel said Tuesday, is that King will be honored, and that no one — not businesses or residents of Willow Street, nor those who live on the already-existing Martin Luther King Drive — will be inconvenienced.Bumphus does a last favor for councilman --- Daily Advertiser 12-18-06
It has been announced that Joe May has been named the new Chief of the Community and Technical College System, replacing Walter Bumphus. Also announced was one of Walter Bumphus' last official employee assignments - Chris Williams to be director of the Workforce Training and Development Unit. According to Bumphus, it was a lateral transfer and had nothing to do with Williams' juvenile-like conduct over the past several months. Fortunately for Williams, his buddy, Bumphus, granted him one last favor. Hopefully, the incoming director may not feel the need to "grant favors." Joe May will now be able to offer the position to a respected member of his or her community and one who is qualified for the job. We are all watching closely for this to happen.
Lafayette residents reaction to street name change --- Daily Advertiser
Public Comments - Page 1 Public Comments - Page 2 Public Comments - Page 3 Public Comments - Page 4
Political party held --- Democrats, GOP hold event for ‘bipartisan dialogue’
A who’s who list of both Republicans and Democrats showed up Thursday night for a nonpartisan fundraiser for Republican City-Parish President Joey Durel. Durel wore a red and blue tie to commemorate the occasion, held at the home of prominent local Democrat Glenn Armentor. Lafayette has a lot going for it, but the challenge of making it the best place to live in the South can’t be accomplished with a partisan approach, Durel said. “The only thing that can stop us is if we’re arguing over things that don’t make sense,” Durel said. Durel credited Armentor — a member of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee — for throwing the fundraiser despite getting some grief from other Democrats. He said he and Armentor both seem to have a knack for “stirring it up.”
“When you stir it up, good things happen,” Durel said.
Williams changes job positions --- Councilman now LTC director of corporate training Claire Taylor
Chris Williams of Lafayette is no longer the Region IV director of the Louisiana Technical College. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System announced Wednesday that Williams accepted a position as director of corporate training in the system's Workforce Training and Development Unit.
Bumphus does a last favor for councilman --- Daily Advertiser 12-18-06
It has been announced that Joe May has been named the new Chief of the Community and Technical College System, replacing Walter Bumphus. Also announced was one of Walter Bumphus' last official employee assignments - Chris Williams to be director of the Workforce Training and Development Unit. According to Bumphus, it was a lateral transfer and had nothing to do with Williams' juvenile-like conduct over the past several months. Fortunately for Williams, his buddy, Bumphus, granted him one last favor. Hopefully, the incoming director may not feel the need to "grant favors." Joe May will now be able to offer the position to a respected member of his or her community and one who is qualified for the job. We are all watching closely for this to happen.
Lafayette ready to name street after King KEVIN BLANCHARD
After more than a year of debate, protest and failed votes along racial lines, it appears a compromise may have been reached to designate a major road in Lafayette after slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday afternoon, the City-Parish Council issued a news release saying a resolution would be on Tuesday’s agenda to call the portion of Willow Street between Ambassador Caffery Parkway and Teurlings Drive the “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parkway.”
Benjamin switches party affiliation (Daily Advertiser). On Dec. 6, Lafayette Parish Councilman Louis Benjamin changed his party to Independent, according to the Lafayette Registrar of Voters office. "I don't believe either party is really responsive to working people, poor people or minorities," Benjamin said Tuesday. "I think one party resembles the state rights party and the other is taking those three groups of people for granted." He declined further comment. Benjamin has served on the City-Parish Council since the creation of Lafayette Consolidated Government in 1996. He is serving his last term on the council due to term limits. Benjamin previously served on the Lafayette Parish Police Jury.
Bumphus quashes Williams rumors --- Regional director is working on special projects Claire Taylor
Chris Williams is working on special projects in Baton Rouge, and he still is a regional director with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, System President Walter Bumphus said Tuesday in response to recent rumors. Williams' position is not vacant, Bumphus said. "That is not accurate," he said in response to the rumors that Williams' position was available. Williams is the Lafayette City-Parish councilman who pleaded no contest in September to misdemeanor charges after he wrote "Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive!" on the council dais in July and fellow Councilman Randy Menard filed a police report. Rumors have since swirled that his position with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System is in jeopardy. Bumphus said Tuesday the reassignment is "not permanent at this point." There are a couple of special projects the system is launching that Williams is uniquely qualified to assist with, so he is on special assignment in Baton Rouge, Bumphus said.
Williams was not available for comment Tuesday. His attorney, Harold Register, declined to comment.
Can Boasso Get It Done, Louisiana? JP Stoshak
State Senator Walter Boasso ( R) Chalmette, came to Lafayette this past December 11th and held a town meeting at the Clifton Chenier Center on Willow Street. This town meeting was attended by a crowd of about 34 people. Boasso is a self-made millionaire who was elected to the state senate in 2003. He communicates a message to people that “Government is only reliable if the citizens hold it accountable.” He wants people to get involved, to contact and know their elected officials and to let said elected officials know that they are being held accountable.Governor’s legislative package stalls MICHELLE MILLHOLLON AND MARK BALLARD
Leader refuses to quit --- Democrat sets event for Republican official KEVIN BLANCHARD
A member of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee who came under fire for holding a fundraiser for Republican City-Parish President Joey Durel, said in a statement he has no intention of stepping down. Glenn Armentor, a lawyer, is hosting a fundraiser Thursday for Durel’s re-election — an event that features several prominent Republicans and a few Democrats. The country needs less “scorched earth” politics and more bipartisanship, committee member Armentor said in a statement. “I believe that in a nation dangerously divided between blue and red, real leadership is bipartisan,” Armentor said. “A real leader does the right thing for his constituency despite politics.” Democrats will lose the momentum gained nationally if they adopt the philosophy that “Democrats should be against whatever a Republican is for,” Armentor said. “While that may have been the recent Republican Party’s philosophy, I believe issues and people should be looked at individually on their merits,” Armentor said. Mike Stagg, a former Democratic congressional candidate for the 7th District, wrote in a blog maintained by the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee that Armentor should resign because of the endorsement. Committee member Stephen Handwerk said he expected a move to censure Armentor.
Conceding that the votes to forward her full package were not there, the Blanco administration pushed an alternative method for reimbursing homeowners and businesses for the assessments they paid to bail out a state-backed insurance agency. With the alternative in place, the closed-door negotiations began. “Hopefully, we’ll have a meeting of the minds to see if we can accomplish something,” said House Speaker Joe Salter, D-Florien, as he went to one meeting. But Republican and Democratic leaders said later Sunday night that no compromise was reached.House Republican leader Jim Tucker of Terrytown said the GOP members want to focus on tax breaks while the Democrats want to push pay raises and other spending. Democrat caucus leader Rep. Eric LaFleur of Ville Platte said the Republicans won’t budge and could rupture the state’s efforts to woo ThyssenKrupp Steel AG to locate a plant in St. James Parish.The sticking point is the amount of money the governor wants to spend — about $2 billion on tax breaks, pay raises, the steel mill and insurance rebates.
A Serious Debate for all Lafayette Citizens To Consider (web-master)
“Lafayette Democrats Surrender” --------- Lafayette Democrats Blog ---------- Durel supporter raises ire --- Democrats eye censure
Jefferson wins new term JOE GYAN JR.
Despite an ongoing federal bribery probe and his removal from the influential House Ways and Means Committee, eight-term U.S. Rep. William Jefferson beat the odds and two-term state Rep. Karen Carter in Saturday’s runoff to retain his seat in Congress. Jefferson avoided becoming the only Democratic incumbent to lose in this year’s midterm congressional elections. Jefferson’s victory marked the end of a bitter 4-week runoff campaign that saw the embattled incumbent attack Carter’s post-Katrina performance as chairwoman of the state House Insurance Committee and her pro-choice stance on same-sex marriages and late-term abortions. In turn, the well-financed challenger fired away at Jefferson’s legal problems and called into question his ability to effectively represent the 2nd Congressional District at a time when its needs have never been greater.
Lafayette Democrat Surrenders
Durel supporter raises ire --- Democrats eye censure KEVIN BLANCHARD
Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee member Glenn Armentor may face censure for his Dec. 15 fundraiser to re-elect City-Parish President Joey Durel, a Republican. Fellow committee member Stephen Handwerk said Thursday he has been told a petition will be given to both the parish committee and the Democratic State Central Committee demanding a censure of Armentor for endorsing a Republican candidate. Armentor, a prominent attorney and political player, has organized what he calls a non-partisan fundraiser for Durel. Former Chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party Mike Skinner is one of several co-hosts for the Dec. 15 event. Mike Stagg, the Democratic candidate who failed to unseat Lafayette Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, has called for Armentor’s resignation. Stagg wrote on the blog of the local committee’s Web site, www.lafayettedemocrats.org, in an entry titled “Lafayette Democrat Surrenders,” that Armentor’s endorsement is “the kind of lemming-like behavior that has come to characterize the leadership of the party here (in Lafayette).”
Lafayette native wins Presidential Medal of Freedom Lisa R. FaustSuccess demands best of students, parents, teachers Denise Trahan
Lafayette native Norman Francis has been awarded with the nation's highest honor for a civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, White House officials announced Thursday. Francis, a 1948 graduate of what was then St. Paul's High School, has been president of Xavier University in New Orleans for 40 years and is chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. It is the "vital role" he has played to aid the state's recovery and a lifetime of "dedication to education, equality and service to others" that garnered him the prestigious honor, according to the White House's Web site. Francis will be one of 10 honorees this year to receive the Medal in a ceremony with President Bush on Dec. 15. Among the other honorees are historian David McCullough, human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and musician B.B. King. The recognition is long overdue, according to friends and colleagues of Francis. "Norman is a living saint," said Walter Isaacson, vice chairman of the LRA. "Ever since he used to give me rides home from New Orleans City Hall 30 years ago, I've tried to live up to his goodness. ... Hurricanes test character or, in Norman's case, reveal character. He was one of the quiet heroes."
City leaders break ground on new shops --- North Lafayette development expected to open in early '08 Bulldozers moved dirt in the background Thursday as city leaders, developers and others joined to mark the birth of a shopping complex that will give a new look to the city's northern entry point. The Stirling Lafayette Shopping Center under construction at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and Interstate 10 will have a Target, a JC Penney store and a host of other retail and restaurant offerings, according to developer Lewis Stirling III. It is expected to open in early 2008.It's been two years of work, Stirling said, and it would not have happened without state and local leaders committing to invest in the idea. He said the investment will pay off for the entire city. City officials agreed. "This is the beginning of something that's going to be much more than what you're seeing out here today," said city-parish president Joey Durel.
Couret Controversy By Leslie Turk
North Lafayette’s proposed traditional neighborhood development is mired in lawsuits and debt, and local contractors and creditors are hoping a California company will salvage the project.
As a retired Lafayette Parish teacher, I always follow with interest articles relating to our school system. I have been especially sympathetic to the plights of N.P. Moss and now. It might behoove the School Board to spend its time taking a closer look at each of these groups to determine who is dropping the performance ball. Northside High School and each of their struggles to increase student performance. In order for a school to succeed in educating its children, cooperation is required from the students themselves, their teachers, administrators and parents. If one of these groups fails in its responsibility, success is impossible to attain.
Lincoln acts as case for growth --- Lafayette studies Nebraska city KEVIN BLANCHARD
Lafayette has a lot to learn about how to manage growth from Lincoln, Neb., a group of planners said Friday. The group — including officials and volunteers who sit on various planning committees for Lafayette Parish — made a trip last month to scout one of the cities that has been practicing smart growth principles for the longest time. In Lincoln, they call it “managed growth” and for decades they’ve been following special land-use rules that coincide with the city’s long-range comprehensive plan, said City-Parish Planning Manager Mike Hollier. As a result, problems associated with urban sprawl — such as traffic — are almost nonexistent in Nebraska’s second-largest city, as all its rules guard against the problems associated with urban sprawl. Development should be restricted in areas where there is inadequate infrastructure or inadequate funding for that infrastructure. Lafayette also needs to continue to focus on tax-increment financing districts to pay for infrastructure. Lincoln has 25 such districts which both spur economic development and help fill-in blighted urban areas, Hollier said.Who Decides If A Voter Is An Informed Voter? John Paul Stoshak
David Prejean would do well to do a tad bit of research on the problem of voter apathy with regard to low voter turnout before he renders such a coded dictatorial opinion as he did in a recent guest column of The Advertiser. This is the first time that I have ever read a statement by a supposedly educated person that can be accurately termed as ludicrous. David Prejean writes, "Adding one more uninformed voter in no way improves the outcome."
Rep. Cedric Glover, new Mayor of Shreveport
Hurricane Katrina brought with it an ill wind for Louisiana Democrats last year, creating a diaspora that cut right though the party’s central nervous system. Prior to the Gulf’s intrusion, New Orleans was more than two-thirds black and 462,000 residents strong, with more than half registered to vote. It’s still difficult to say with any certainty how many people have come back for good, but Democrats are all too aware that the area around New Orleans’s Ninth Ward remains empty.
Playing the Race Card Jeremy Alford
With a newfound pocket of African-American voters in north Louisiana, Democrats could be in better shape than they thought over the next two years.
Cajun Karl' hits shelves --- Lafayette chef compiles recipes
Karl Breaux couldn't help but write a cookbook. Breaux, along with his brothers Wally and Philip, own and operate Breaux's Mart, a landmark grocer and deli on Moss Street. At age 6, Breaux worked as a bag boy in the market. He kept his eyes and ears on Cajun and Creole grandmothers who were secretive about their prized recipes.
Justices question LUS parties --- Issue of Fair Competition Act argued KEVIN BLANCHARD
Justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned attorneys on both sides of the fight over whether Lafayette Utility System should be allowed to fund its voter-approved phone, cable and high-speed Internet business. At issue is whether LUS is complying with a law passed in 2004 — the so-called Local Government Fair Competition Act — which sets restrictions on government-owned communications businesses. Lafayette resident Elizabeth Naquin sued, saying the mechanism LUS proposes to use to issue and repay up to $125 million in communications bonds to pay for the project, runs afoul of the Fair Competition Act. Specifically, should LUS come up short on a bond debt repayment, its ordinance allows it to borrow money from any source — including its overall utilities or a bank — use that money to make the payment, then repay the loan source at market-rate interest. The loan would be given under rules passed by the state Public Service Commission and subject to audit. Naquin’s attorneys argued Tuesday that the system allows LUS to get revenue other than communications revenue to help the project, something they say violates the Fair Competition Act’s prohibition against the overall utilities system “cross-subsidizing” the communications system.
Durel gets ‘no party party’ --- Fundraiser scheduled KEVIN BLANCHARD
City-Parish President Joey Durel may well be the “best mayor our town has had,” and as such, deserves support from both Democrats and Republicans, according to a member of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee. Attorney Glenn Armentor, active in the Democratic Party, wrote the letter to announce that next month he will host a bipartisan campaign fundraiser for Durel’s re-election next fall. Durel is a Republican. Former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana and former Louisiana Democratic Party chairman Mike Skinner is one of many co-hosts listed on the invitation to the Dec. 14 event. Durel has been a great leader for Lafayette during a crucial time, Armentor wrote. “True leaders are not partisan,” Armentor wrote. The $250-a-couple fundraiser has been titled the “No Party, Party.”
Bayou Classic fans happy to be back in N.O. By Nick Deriso
Bayou Classic fans said a homecoming for their game confirms the budding recovery of storm-ravaged New Orleans. "It's more than just the return of a football game "" it's a revival, a rebirth of sorts," said Grambling fan Donovan Simmons, of Lafayette. "Hurricane Katrina did not kill our Crescent City. It was a serious setback but the return of the Classic signals the major comeback for Louisiana's crown jewel." Kickoff for the Bayou Classic is at 1 p.m. today at the Louisiana Superdome. The game will be broadcast live nationally on NBC.
Premium Plan --- For the first time in years, the state is starting to reach a consensus on health care reform. The only question: how to pay for it? By Nathan Stubbs
Miles Bruder knows all too well that significant heath care policy reform in Louisiana isn’t going to happen overnight. For the past three years, Bruder has been involved with a series of quasi-government committees working to build consensus on how to overhaul Louisiana’s public health care system. Even though most people agree that Louisiana’s health care system is broken (it ranks near the bottom of all states in health care services), getting all the parties involved to agree on how to fix it hasn’t been easy. So when a 40-member panel — made up of a cross-section of government, business and academic representatives — recently approved a plan for overhauling public health care in the greater New Orleans area, Bruder saw it as a significant breakthrough. But while the panel, known as the Louisiana Healthcare Redesign Collaborative, may have agreed on a new model for public health care, it’s still a long way from becoming reality. Any makeover of the current system will require the approval of the state Legislature, which has been traditionally wary of any radical changes in health care delivery. And U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, who offered federal assistance for the redesign, has balked at the hefty price tag that comes with the committee’s current plan.
Freetown, Capstone Apartments and the Trees Istvan Berkeley PhD.
So, Capstone has started work on their unwanted student apartment project. Although there was a lot of talk about saving trees, this seems to have come to nothing. The following images document what happened to a single Pecan tree.
Congressional delegation optimistic about offshore revenue sharing --- John Hilll
After a week of behind-the-scenes lobbying, Louisiana's congressional delegation is more optimistic about enacting an offshore oil revenue sharing bill that will pump millions into coastal restoration and hurricane protection. The Senate, White House and House members are turning their efforts toward convincing the House, where conservatives want to open most of the nation's coasts to exploration, to pass a version of the more limited Senate bill that will open more areas of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling. Another area on which there may be an agreement is fixing the 1998 and 1999 oil-leases glitch made by a U.S. Mineral Management Service bureaucrat that has resulted in oil companies avoiding paying any royalties, totaling $11.2 billion. Louisiana's congressional delegation hopes to capture about $2.5 billion of that for the coastal effort.
Proposal for the World Studies Institute of Louisiana (WSIL) --- Charles Larroque
The World Studies Institute of Louisiana (WSIL), as a charter school, will exist as a community-based academic institution for the purpose of linking Louisiana’s culture to the global economy with focus on language acquisition, cultural assets and international affairs. We will be a school serving grades 6-12 in French, Spanish and Chinese (Immersion and as a Second Language) – targeting an enrollment of 220 students. With the continued growth of immersion in Lafayette and the surrounding area schools and the persistence of the achievement disadvantage of impoverished minority students the World Studies Institute of Louisiana is designed to provide an environment where the validation of one’s culture is the norm; and where all students are empowered to capitalize on cultural resources and translate their ideas and output into successful service learning projects. The school will ensure that all students’ needs and interests are met by creating an individualized education program for each student and allowing students’ self-determination in selecting their specialization and creating projects that will enhance their community. WSIL envisions a 6th -12th grade learning institute that incorporates differentiated instruction, 2nd and 3rd language content-based instruction and hands-on specialty training course work that focuses on utilizing and expanding the area’s cultural resources, including but not limited to, heritage media production, cultural tourism and international education.
Group proposes charter school --- Board to hear about plan for cultural focus Amanda Harris
School bridges education gaps --- Plantation recognized for improving achievement Marsha Sills
The test is in the spring, but the preparation begins sooner. "We start on the first day," said Cox, a fourth-grade teacher at Plantation Elementary. "It's my choice to prepare them. If they're familiar with the format of the test, then they tend to do better." Question after question, hands were quick to dart up in Jill Cox's social studies class as students went over LEAP 21 practice test questions she had compiled into a lesson book. Plantation Elementary's efforts to improve its test scores was recognized by Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services. The school was the only school in Lafayette Parish recognized for closing the achievement gap between those students who come from economically disadvantaged homes and those who don't.
Vets share stories -- Creole soldier was part of all-black unit Judy Bastien
Denris J. Mouton celebrated his 18th birthday in England. He was part of the 256th Port Battalion of the U.S. Army - he had joined the military in 1942 at the beginning of World War II, at the age of 17. Mouton, a French-speaking Creole from Lafayette, was a member of an all-black unit that served in Cottingham, England, and Chebourg, France. He and his fellow soldiers were responsible for unloading transport ships that brought supplies and armaments to the Allied Forces in Europe. Acadiana salutes those who have fought for our nation and served in our armed forces today.
Schools battle violence --- Police: Number of arrests is 'remarkable' Amanda HarrisTale of the TIF --- Tax Increment Financing brings north Lafayette Target center closer to fruition Bill Bowden
Students at N.P. Moss Middle School are testing the new principal and school resource officer, school officials said, after seven students were arrested for fighting Wednesday, two were sanctioned by school officials and another was arrested Thursday for simple battery. The recent string of fights involved multiple students and was attributed to "a changing of the guard," said Area Director Tom Brown. Police reported more than 16 N.P. Moss Middle students were involved in altercations Wednesday. "In this particular case, there were five fights at the school at different times for different things," Brown said. "Sometimes when there's a change of guard, they try to test the water and (Don) Thibeaux (resource officer) made a statement. They will suffer the consequences."
Plain Talk on Health Care --- Healthcare for Every American Mike Stagg
Access to affordable, high-quality healthcare should be the right of every American. The current system of relying on private insurance companies and allowing for-profit providers to dictate how we deliver healthcare is driving up costs, driving down outcomes and driving away people who need access to routine medical treatment. Healthcare is a huge and increasing problem in our country. We all know this. From couples who struggle to pay for the birth of their children, to families who have to decide whether they can pay the house note or the latest insurance bill, to seniors unable to afford the co-pay on their medicines, the cost of healthcare is an enormous and growing burden on real people, real families, and real businesses.lll
Hurricane Recovery -- Wages -- Security -- Healthcare -- Technology -- The Economy -- The Environment -- The Occupation of Iraq
Airport board under review Claire Taylor
Two representatives from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office are expected to visit Lafayette Regional Airport next week in the wake of reports about questionable spending on meal sand travel. Robbie Robinson, first assistant legislative auditor, said Wednesday two of his staff will attend the Airport Commission's regular meeting Nov. 2. Jason Devillier, deputy director of aviation, said Wednesday the Airport Commission and staff will not comment until the Legislative Auditor's visit next week.
Court denies Williams' appeal Claire Taylor
The Third Circuit Court of Appeal on Wednesday denied City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams' request for a review of his sentence. The court ruled that Williams' request was moot because 15th Judicial District Court Judge Marilyn Castle already reduced Williams' sentence after his attorney showed it was excessive. However, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal wrote that Williams retains the right to seek a supervisory writ in connection with the amended sentence. Williams pleaded no contest Sept. 22 for writing "Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive!" on the council credenza. On Oct. 10, his attorney, Harold Register Jr., filed a writ for review with the Third Circuit, which was denied Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Castle filed a two-page document with the Third Circuit that explains her position on some of the issues Register argued in his request for a review. Castle, in sentencing Williams, took into consideration a letter by Councilman Bruce Conque in which he alleges Williams threatened him during a council meeting. Castle ordered Williams not to threaten and intimidate councilmen. In the document she filed Wednesday, Castle said the usual practice of the court is to prohibit a defendant from going near, harassing or intimidating the complaining party. In Williams' case, he has to be around the complaining councilmen because they serve together on the council, she said. Castle said Williams' request for her to recuse herself was denied because the request is based on allegations of bias because of the Conque letter. The judge said she disclosed the letter to Register and Williams at a pretrial conference, and they did not request a copy until after the sentencing.
The State Bond Commission approved tax-increment finance bonding last week for a north Lafayette shopping center — the last regulatory hurdle in the lengthy approval process for the Target/J.C. Penney-anchored development. In addition to $8 million in TIF bonds, which will be paid off by a combination of local and state sales taxes, the project also was approved for use of $40 million in Go Zone bonds, the private portion of the financing guaranteed by the developers.
Northside scores fall --- N.P. Moss in the clear
Northside High School replaced N.P. Moss Middle School on Monday as the only Lafayette site under state scrutiny. School performance scores for the school showed special education students have not improved during the past two years. The school's performance score also dropped six points, making it a school in decline. N.P. Moss, which has been under threat for takeover by the state as an "academically unacceptable" school, was able to exit state supervision. The state Department of Education released school performance scores Monday for the more than 1,000 schools in the state. Schools are graded as part of the state's accountability program.
Penny for your roads? Tax could pave road projects' way Claire Taylor
Should shoppers pay an additional one penny for every $1 purchase to build new roads? That's the question some Lafayette Parish voters will be asked to decide on Nov. 7. In just over two weeks, voters in the city of Lafayette, unincorporated parts of Lafayette Parish and Carencro and Duson will decide whether to collect in their respective areas a new 1-cent sales tax. Sixty-two road and drainage projects are listed in an August feasibility report as projects that may be built if the 1-cent tax is approved in the city of Lafayette. Fourteen projects in unincorporated Lafayette Parish may be built with a one-cent parish tax.
Where are the leaders you ask?---They are hidden in plain view! Fred Prejean
The recent piece by Scott Jordan in The Independent Weekly is a well written comprehensive study of unfolding events dealing with the Lafayette Parish Government. It is evident from the article that Jordan put a tremendous amount of research into his writing. The article reads well and comes across as very informative. That being said, when an article of this magnitude is undertaken, it is understandable that there be a minor oversight or two by the author. One oversight is that Parish Councilmen Bruce Conque and Rob Stevenson have said that they were poised to vote for changing Willow Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Drive when Parish Councilman Louis Benjamin made the motion to do so. That is, until Parish Councilman Chris Williams amended Benjamin’s motion so that the original Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. be changed to Malcolm X Dr. This amendment by Williams came as a shock to Benjamin for he had no idea that Williams was going to throw such a curve to his motion. That was how Chris Williams came to be such an ardent supporter of the name change of Willow Street to M.L. King Dr. He then began to play the race card which may have been the cause of Conque and Stevenson abandoning their original positions of support for the change.
Where are we going? “These are the times that try men’s souls.” (Thomas Paine) John Paul Stoshak
As election day draws near, one truly does get the feeling that “these are the times that try men’s souls.” Our nation is involved in a controversial and costly war. The deficit rises daily at an astronomical rate. The No Child Left Behind Act is rendered moot because President Bush has not budgeted money to fund the mandates set forth by this act. Medicare/Medicaid rates go up, it seems to be, annually. The Republican controlled House and Senate seem to act blatantly on behalf and for the benefit of big business and/or corporate America. No bid contracts went out so fast from our Federal Government after Hurricane Katrina you couldn't keep track of them. Most notably to Haliburton. A company to which VP Dick Chaney has strong ties. Pharmaceutical companies began to raise the price of there prescription meds out of the price range of our elderly and the Medicare/Medicaid relief bill is so complicated as well as convoluted that our elderly could not make heads or tails of it. Oil companies are recording record breaking profits year after year since G.W. Bush became our President with gas prices reaching record highs themselves. Congress votes itself raises and perks heretofore unparalleled but will not raise the minimum wage to a minimum living wage. The list of tragedies goes on. It seems as though the President, in conjunction with his Republican controlled House and Senate are seeking to eliminate the American middle class and subject it to a corporate dictatorship. That is why this election for control of the House and the Senate is so important. It is time for a change.
Where’s the Leadership? Scott Jordan
More than a year after the initial effort to rename Willow Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, politicians and leaders at every level of government have failed Lafayette. Distract, divert, distort, deny. Those four words have become the defining weapons of today’s politics. But when Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Louis Benjamin introduced a resolution in September 2005 with the worthy and admirable goal of honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by renaming Willow Street, no one could have imagined that the politics of hate and division would be allowed to drive the issue.
Rep. Pierre says he won’t seek Senate seat Advocate Acadiana bureau Oct 10, 2006At least two Acadiana legislators are expected to qualify next week for a race to replace state Sen. Don Cravins Sr., D-Opelousas. Cravins was elected mayor of Opelousas on Sept. 30. His senate term expires in 2008. His son, state Rep. Donald Cravins Jr., D-Opelousas, and state Rep. Wilfred Pierre, D-Lafayette, are expected to vie for the Senate District 24 race.
State Rep. Wilfred Pierre, D-Lafayette, issued a statement Monday saying he will not be running for the seat vacated by former state Sen. Don Cravins Sr., who was elected mayor of Opelousas last month. Qualifying begins today and continues Wednesday for candidates looking to run in the special election set for December to fill Cravins’ seat.
Pierre was widely considered a potential candidate for Senate District 24, as he is term-limited from running against next year for his seat in the state House. Pierre held a fundraiser last year and at the beginning of this year had nearly $20,000 in his political war chest, according to reports filed with the state Ethics Board. In his statement, Pierre said he discussed running for the Senate seat with his supporters, family and friends. “My responsibility is to the people who have constantly supported me in my House District,” Pierre wrote in the statement addressed to supporters in Lafayette and St. Landry Parish. “I have the obligation to serve out my House term,” Pierre wrote.
Cravins’ son, Don Cravins Jr., has said he plans to run for his father’s seat. The younger Cravins holds the House District 40 seat in Opelousas.
Senate District 24 includes Opelousas, much of rural St. Landry Parish, some of rural northern Lafayette Parish and a portion of north Lafayette.
Two qualify for Cravins' seat Cravins Jr., Pierre to run Claire Taylor
Lafayette proponents make courthouse pitch --- Speakers emphasize security, parish growth, needs RICHARD BURGESS
Proponents of a proposed tax to build a courthouse are busily making the rounds to lunch meetings and socials to drum up support for the Nov. 7 ballot measure. “Essentially, anyone that will let us make a pitch,” said Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court Louis Perret, who spent his lunch hour Thursday touting the 6-mill property tax to the Rotary Club and was scheduled to make an evening appearance at a meeting of the Downtown Development Authority. The campaign — which has spawned bumper stickers, yard signs and lapel pins — has been taken on by the Lafayette Parish Bar Association.
Williams sentence is a mockery of justice Adofo Harmon
Let's recap. He received a $1,500 fine, one year of supervised probation, anger management classes, service as an instructor to young people on respecting public property, $60 restitution to city-parish government and a warning not to "threaten" fellow council members. Now, how many people did Dr. Williams kill? My point is not to excuse Dr. Williams - who, in his own words, "accepts responsibility for his actions." This is about the justice system when it is corrupted and used to make an example of someone with a legitimate cause that others would like to eliminate. Dr. Williams went in with a sanitized legal history but was given the maximum on all counts.
Panel OKs $8 million for project Kevin Blanchard
The Lafayette Parish Industrial Development Board on Thursday gave its approval to $8 million in bonds to fund infrastructure improvements designed to draw development to the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and Interstate 10. The $8 million bond issue would be funded by a special taxing district created around the intersection — any future retail located there would charge customers an extra penny of sales tax. The state has given its preliminary approval to dedicate 1 of the 4 cents in state sales tax to go toward backing the bonds — though those proceeds would be capped at $10 million. The state Bond Commission is scheduled to consider giving final approval on the sales tax financing on Oct. 19.
State court sanctions councilman --- Menard didn't properly repay funds in lawsuit Claire Taylor
Lafayette attorney and City-Parish Councilman Randy Menard was publicly reprimanded by the Louisiana Supreme Court for failing to remit funds to a third party. "That is the lowest discipline you can get," said Homer Ed Barousse, a Crowley attorney and previous chairman of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board. Menard received his law degree from LSU Law School in 1991. He has served on the City-Parish Council since consolidation of the city and parish governments in 1996 and is serving his final term due to term limits. A legal notice published on Page 10F in Sunday's Daily Advertiser states that the state Supreme Court issued the public reprimand of Menard on Sept. 15. The reprimand is "the result of his misconduct involving a failure to timely notify a third party of his receipt of funds and failure to properly remit funds which the third party was entitled to receive," the ad states.
Some advice and counsel for our City-Parish Council Donna Greco
First to Chris Williams: OK, you did something wrong and childish and you got caught. Your sentence has been pronounced. Give it up now. Pay your attorney and tell him thanks and to shut up. He will goad you into appealing and dragging this out. This will do you no favor. People are really annoyed (putting it mildly and politely). An appeal will only make them more so. Harold Register reminds me of the arrogant mother whose "darling" has been suspended for some serious offense at school. She shows up with a large purse flung over her shoulder along with a huge chip as an accessory. She only makes things worse. The citizens have their communal "back up." Back down, be quiet and try to behave like a class act. It is in there somewhere, you just need to bring it out.
Black Panthers call for action --- Activists say treatment was unfair, sheriff defends his officers Amanda McElfresh
Sparking the outrage is a Sept. 24 incident in which sheriff's deputies used CS gas on a group of about 500 people gathered in the city's West End after the Sugar Cane Festival. The Rev. Raymond Brown, chairman of the Louisiana chapter of the National Action Network and a leading member of the New Black Panther Party, said he and others will not tolerate another such incident, which they say was racially motivated. Holding signs declaring "Stop police brutality!" "IPSO = Toxic Gas" and "Sheriff, how many blacks did you gas today?" about 25 New Iberia residents and activists gathered Tuesday to protest what they call unfair and inappropriate treatment by the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office.
Durel sells road tax ---City-parish president says it will benefit builders most Claire Taylor
Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel tried to convince more than 250 real estate agents, home builders and mortgage bankers Tuesday that a proposed 1-cent sales tax for roads will benefit their industries more than any other. "You are who is building Lafayette right now," Durel said at a luncheon hosted by the Acadian Home Builders Association, the Acadiana Mortgage Lenders Association and the REALTOR Association of Acadiana.
Experts debate Williams Sentence Clair Taylor
City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams may not have a legal standing for claims that his graffiti sentence violates his freedom of speech, according to three professors specializing in First Amendment and free speech issues. It depends on how you define threaten and intimidate, they said. But two other First Amendment issues may provide grounds for a legal challenge. "Unconsti-tutional" and "a blatant violation of his freedom of speech" is how Williams' attorney, Harold Register Jr., described his client's sentence in a notice of intention to apply to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal for an emergency writ of review last week. Williams is appealing his entire sentence, which includes six months of suspended jail time, a $1,500 fine, 60 hours of community service, an anger management class and a prohibition against threatening or intimidating councilmen and council staff. "There's a difference between what the First Amendment protects, free speech, and assaulting someone with words," said LSU law professor Paul Baier. Free speech does not allow someone to attack, intimidate or threaten, he said.
Teachers wonder how state calculated average salary Mike Hasten
If the average salary for teachers in Louisiana is more than $40,000, numerous teachers are wondering where those people work and how they can get jobs there, education leaders said Tuesday. The state Education Estimating Conference, using figures obtained from the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, set $42,100 as the average teacher salary Monday but even officials of the two teacher unions question the accuracy of the estimate.
Judge denies Williams' request Claire Taylor
District Judge Marilyn Castle refused Tuesday to suspend the sentence of Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams while he appeals her ruling of last Friday. Williams' attorney, Harold Register Jr., said her decision is "a continued abuse of power" because the sentence inhibits Williams' ability to effectively represent his constituents. One of the conditions of Williams' probation is that he refrain from "threatening" or "intimidating" councilmen or employees.At Register's request, Castle released a letter Tuesday submitted to her by City-Parish Councilman Bruce Conque prior to Friday's sentencing. In the letter, Conque calls Williams "a schoolyard bully who is accustomed to getting his way ..."
The Candidates for Laf. Parish School System District 3 John Paul Stoshak
The candidates for the District 3 seat of the Lafayette Parish School Board sat down to a forum at Alice Boucher Elementary School on September 21 at 6:30 in the evening. The event was sponsored by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce as well as the Black Chamber of Commerce. The forum was moderated by Scott Brazda with the questions for the candidates coming from Porche Evans and David D’Aquin. The three candidates for the District 3 seat were in attendance with the incumbent, Rickey Hardy, seated first. Following him were Dr. Raphael Baranco and Elroy Broussard. The forum was telecast on Acadiana Open Channel and will be run continuously until the election which will be held on September 30th.
State questions La. Ave. plan --- Bond commission wants Lafayette to justify developer incentives Mike Hasten
City-Parish President Joey Durel faced tough questions from the state bond commission Thursday as Lafayette seeks to use sales tax revenue to spur development on Louisiana Avenue. The commission granted preliminary approval to surrendering potential sales tax revenue for building roads, providing drainage and extending utilities to the proposed site, but proponents of the project must come back next month with supporting information. State Treasurer John Kennedy said he wants to know why the state should surrender any future tax revenues for the project. "We're giving a major benefit to the private sector," Kennedy said. "Are we getting the best for the state? Would we get them anyway?"
Williams expected in court today Clair Taylor
Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams probably will not serve jail time for writing "Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive!" on the council credenza, District Attorney Mike Harson said Thursday. Williams is expected to enter a plea at 9 a.m. today before District Judge Marilyn Castle. He faces three misdemeanor counts of simple damage to property. Each carries a sentence of not more than six months in jail and a $500 fine, Harson said.
Family Involvement is Important and Necessary U.S. Dept. of Education
When parents and families get personally involved in education, their children do better in school and grow up to be more successful in life. Sounds like common sense, doesn't it? Yet parental involvement is one of the most overlooked aspects of American education today. The fact is, many parents don't realize how important it is to get involved in their children's learning. As one dad said when he began to read to his daughter ever day and discovered that it improved her learning, "I never realized how much it would mean to her to hear me read." Other parents would like to be involved, but have trouble finding the time.
Lafayette council sets meeting on tax plans KEVIN BLANCHARD
The City-Parish Council is scheduled Tuesday to approve placing a series of sales tax proposals on the Nov. 7 ballot that, if voter approved, would be used to fund road and drainage projects throughout the parish. The council has already placed a 1-cent sales tax increase on the ballot for city voters.
On Tuesday, the council will tackle similar 1-cent increases for the unincorporated areas of the parish and the smaller municipalities. The 1-cent increases would have to be approved by voters in each separate jurisdiction. Funds collected in each of the different areas would be spent where they were collected, but the legal oversight on how to spend the funds would be the City-Parish Council.
Louisiana still may get an equitable share of royalty revenue from offshore oil and gas production.
Things do not look as bright as they did a short time ago, however, when President Bush said, "I strongly urge the United States Congress to pass energy legislation that will give the state of Louisiana more revenues from offshore leases so they can restore the wetlands." It now appears that the primary focus is on boosting domestic offshore drilling, rather than giving Louisiana and other coastal states a bigger share of royalties for coastal restoration and hurricane protection.
WHO’S D. SMITH? --- Fake letters in The Times of Acadiana, tax votes are coming and LUS looks to the Supreme Court
Survey: 43% plan to relocate --- Stress, anxiety top problems for evacuees RICHARD BURGESS
Forty-three percent of hurricane evacuees in Acadiana who responded to a survey planned to relocate rather than return to storm-damaged homes, according to survey results released this month by the United Way of Acadiana. The survey also found that in the Acadiana area, Lafayette Parish received the largest number of hurricane evacuees with 38 percent followed by St. Landry Parish with 16 percen t.
Voters to decide minimum wage --- La. Legislature killed two minimum wage bills Tom Kenworthy
This year's election could bring a watershed in the nearly 70-year history of the federal minimum wage: For the first time, a majority of states could require higher pay than the federal rate of $5.15 an hour. This year, legislatures in 10 states have enacted laws mandating a higher minimum than federal law requires, bringing 23 states and the District of Columbia above that threshold. But in 2006, the Louisiana legislature killed two bills that would have raised the minimum wage by $1 to $6.15 in Louisiana. They were sponsored by Sen. Charles Jones, D-Monroe, and Rep. Willie Hunter, D-Monroe.
Louisiana, FEMA in fight over storm funds --- Feds want money — now — but state wants to do audit By SANDY DAVIS
FEMA is lowering the boom on Louisiana for refusing to pay its $338 million share of a federal program that bought goods and services ranging from chainsaws to dental care for hurricane victims. On July 22, FEMA started assessing interest of $14,308.22 for each day the state doesn’t pay. If the bill isn’t paid by Oct. 20, FEMA will add penalties — retroactive to July 22 — of $55,723.11 per day. Louisiana’s legislative auditor claims FEMA hasn’t provided enough information to allow the state to determine whether the money was spent on legitimate needs for people who truly were victims. The Legislative Auditor’s Office notes that state lawmakers passed a measure requiring such a review before FEMA is paid.
“Nothing has been paid on any of the bills,” said Daryl Purpera, assistant legislative auditor and director of the Compliance Audit Division. “They can’t be paid until the audit is complete.” But the Federal Emergency Management Agency insists that under an agreement with Louisiana, the state has no right to audit the federal payments and notes it recently gave the legislative auditor more specific billing information.
Who’s in; who’s out --- Right turn on road to recovery could win it MICHELLE MILLHOLLON
Gov. Kathleen Blanco is saying she will seek re-election. U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal is praying about it. Qualifying for the 2007 race for governor is less than a year away. Most bets are on another Blanco-Jindal rematch. But Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell is raising cash amid speculation that he could position himself as a populist in the vein of Huey Long. Still, many experts think it is Blanco’s race to lose despite the chinks that Hurricane Katrina put in her political armor. Others think Campbell’s presence in the race as a competing Democrat could sweep Republican Jindal into the Governor’s Mansion. The consensus of political observers interviewed by The Advocate is that Blanco’s future hinges on whether she can put the state on the road to recovery, mend a fractured relationship with black political leaders and heal her battle scars from Katrina.
The numbers don't add up David Thibodaux -The Independent
Kudos to Greg Peters for his “Snake Oil” (Aug. 16) about Lafayette’s test scores that exposes the obfuscation of late — another guest editorial by Superintendent James Easton in The Daily Advertiser on the Lafayette Parish School System claims the district has made “progress.”
Officials say pacts crucial to tax votes By KEVIN BLANCHARD
The proposal to levy 1-cent sales taxes in each of the seven government jurisdictions of Lafayette Parish hinges on a concept popularized by President Ronald Reagan in his nuclear arms talks with the Soviet Union — trust, but verify.
Also Tuesday, the council established two new taxing districts along Interstate 10 in anticipation of private development in those areas. Shoppers in those areas would pay an additional 1-cent sales tax, the proceeds of which would be used to build public infrastructure to serve the area — like service roads and drainage. That tax was raised by a simple vote of the council because those particular districts were drawn to include no residents.
Should all the other sales tax proposals pass the following areas would collect these sales taxes:
City of Lafayette, Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott and the unincorporated areas of the parish — 9 percent. Youngsville — 9.5 percent. The two special taxing districts along Interstate 10 — 10 percent.
School Board hopefuls to debate Kyle Jackson
Lafayette Parish School board candidates for districts 1 and 3 will face off this month in debates sponsored by the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce nd the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce. The District 1 debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Carencro Middle School, and the District 3 debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Alice Boucher Elementary School. The School Board is destined to have a new face with four incumbents - Kay Gibson, Judy Cox, John Earl Guidry and Beverly Wilson - choosing not to run again. Two of those seats already have new faces, with Hunter Beasley and Rae Trahan having no opposition. The election will be held Sept. 30 for the contested seat.
They make what? --- Taxpayers fund millions for public servant pay Clair Taylor & Sebreana Domingue
It's that time of year when many governmental agencies prepare their annual budgets, deciding how to reward faithful employees with pay raises.
The Lafayette Parish School Board recently debated how to fund teacher pay hikes, with teachers getting a state pay raise and a local increase. The Lafayette City-Parish Council is considering giving the city-parish's 2,000 employees, including council members, a 4 percent pay raise. All of the dollars to fund those salaries, as well as pay for thousands of other public employees in Acadiana, comes from taxpayers.
Council to debate sales tax plan By KEVIN BLANCHARD
The unincorporated areas of the parish could see about $54 million in road and drainage projects should they approve a new 1-cent sales tax proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot. The City-Parish Council is scheduled Tuesday to decide whether to put the measure on the ballot. If approved, sales tax collected in the unincorporated areas of the parish would increase from 8 percent to 9 percent.
Public housing residents see ownership options Editorial-Daily Advertiser
We support the move by the Lafayette Housing Authority to transition people in public housing from rentals to homeownership. By the same token, we recognize the problems that could be created with the construction of 60 homes and several storefronts that are planned for 14 acres of property on Patterson Street next to Alice Boucher Elementary School. School officials say they were not notified of the plans, and have serious concerns about the impact of an anticipated increase in student enrollment.
Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams on Thursday entered a plea of not guilty to three misdemeanor counts of simple damage to property. He is set to appear in court Dec. 15 to face those charges. Each of the three misdemeanor charges carries a penalty of up to six months in the parish jail and a $500 fine. Before a July 5 council meeting, Williams wrote “Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive” in permanent marker on the council credenza. Williams admitted to reporters that evening that he wrote the statement on the desk in frustration after someone repeatedly removed bumper stickers that state “It’s a King thing.”
Louisiana Governor Election Has Many Faces Jeff Crouere
Once the fall elections are completed, the race for Governor will begin in earnest. Next fall, all 144 legislative seats, statewide offices and Governor will be on the ballot. Louisiana voters will see plenty of new faces on the ballot because term limits will force many legislators to relinquish their seats. Of course, some will run for other offices, but, nonetheless, it will usher in unprecedented change in Louisiana politics, which, considering our current situation can only be a good thing.
No Win By Andrew J. Bacevich
With the failure of the United States and Israel to achieve decisive victories in Iraq and Lebanon, the age of Western military dominance in the Middle East appears to be ending. It's time for a new strategy.
Candidate first to field radio ads --- Mike Stagg challenging for 7th District seat By PATRICK COURREGES :
Mike Stagg, the Democratic candidate in Louisiana’s 7th District congressional race, is the first candidate to reach the airwaves, with a quartet of radio ads outlining some of his key campaign issues.Included in his platform is a plan to create new federal laws holding insurance companies accountable to the promises made to policyholders.
Tax votes planned in 4 cities
Lafayette Parish mayors have reached an agreement to each place new sales tax proposals on the November ballot to help fund road and drainage projects across the parish, City-Parish President Joey Durel announced Tuesday. Under the agreement, voters in Lafayette, Broussard, Carencro, Scott, Youngsville and the unincorporated areas of Lafayette Parish, could each have opportunities to approve a new sales tax to meet public infrastructure needs in their own areas of the parish.
DA files charges against Williams ---- Councilman could face fine, jail time. Claire Taylor
Misdemeanor convictions do not require Williams' removal from office, Harson said. .District Attorney Mike Harson on Tuesday charged Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams with three misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property.
In a flurry of activity Monday, the City-Parish Council made a series of proposals to trim its own budget of travel and meeting expenses and future pay raises. The moves all came within a 10-minute span Monday at a hearing in which the council looked at the proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
News --- Freetown Elects A Coterie. --- Plus, Residents to meet with Capstone Developers! Dr. Istvan Berkerly
At a meeting held on August 23rd, the members of the LINC 7 Freetown Neighborhood Coterie were elected. The Coterie has a total of nine members. Two of the nine Coterie members also sit on the Capstone Committee that oversees a $200,000 "impact fee" dedicated to the Freetown Neighborhood. Details on the members will be announced shortly. The first meeting of the Coterie will be at 5.30pm on Tuesday the 12th of September, at the Rosa Parks Center.
At the same Aug. 23 meeting, it was announced that on Monday, Aug. 28th, representatives of Capstone Development would like to meet with Freetown residents at the C.J. Angelle Hall, at the corner of Jefferson and Taft Streets at 5:30pm. The purpose of this meeting is to hear residents concerns. This meeting comes one day before the Lafayette Parish Council is scheduled to hear the latest Capstone appeal. This appeal results from the Planning Commission's denial of phase II of the student apartment development. While residents chances seem slim to none, the vigor, vitality, energy, sense of we, sense of us, and sense of neighborhood cohesion is reminiscent of the Freetown we knew before, during and after the Civil War. Residents of this neighborhood have a long history of sticking together to protect their best interest. This experience with Capstone and its Development has only strengthened the resolve of the Freetown Neighborhood to work more diligently toward implementing its now approved plan of development. (Read History of Freetown) - Fred Prejean
Urban design rules sought
The City-Parish Planning, Zoning and Codes Department is looking to hire a consultant to help put together a smart code for Lafayette, which would make it easier for developers to build such urban design projects as River Ranch. The City-Parish Council heard about the proposal during a budget hearing Thursday.
Williams' graffiti charges still in air
Confusion over how much damage was done to the Lafayette Consolidated Government credenza may keep Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams from being charged with felony damage to property, according to 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson. Harson said Wednesday that the breakdown of cost estimates to repair the council credenza could bring the charges back to the misdemeanor level.
Second vote's the charm for roads plan --- Council rejects courthouse. Residents will not get to vote on a proposed property tax to build a new parish courthouse after the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted down the measure. Meanwhile, the council took the first step to place a 1-cent sales tax on the Nov. 7 ballot by adopting a feasibility report, which could mean an upgrade to roads and drainage in the area.
Dennis Pulls Out of Race ---
School Board member Ed Sam has won re-election to his District 4 seat after his opponent, Charles Dennis, withdrew from the race amid a challenge to his residency. Dennis' lawyer, John W. Milton, announced the withdrawal in court Monday during a hearing that would have addressed whether Dennis' truly lives in District 4. After the brief hearing, Dennis, who has maintained he met residency requirements, said he pulled out of the race because he didn't want to put his family through "personal discussions about where I sleep." "I don't want the community, the press and everyone else in my bedroom," Dennis said.Watch your Thoughts, they become words. --- Watch your Words, they become actions. --- Watch your Actions, they become habits.
A lesson learned ---
Watch your Habits, they become character. --- Watch your Character, for it becomes your Destiny
Term limits don't better Legislature, study says By Melinda Deslatte
Some findings: Experienced politicians shuffle jobs; new officials tend to repeat battles---
Term limits are the boogeyman waiting around the corner for Louisiana's long-serving lawmakers. Legislators complain about them, wish to reverse them and are looking to remain in politics despite them. But they can't get rid of them.
Hillary gets ready to run
If you ask anyone around Hillary Clinton the question that everyone is asking, the answer comes back in a shot: The freshman Senator from New York is far too busy concentrating on her re-election in November to be giving even a passing thought to 2008. Thank you very much. But politics is ultimately a game of logistics, and the junior Senator is putting the machinery in place for a campaign that looks far grander than a re-election cakewalk in New York. All it will need is for someone to throw the switch.Council to take up ban on signs Claire Taylor
Before anyone could place a sign, banner or other display in the Lafayette City-Parish Council Auditorium, they would need approval from the entire council if a new policy is adopted Tuesday.
Chris Williams is man of great values S. Young
I have known and admired Councilman Chris Williams since he was in my first-grade class. I know his character better than many people. He is like a son to me. He made a mistake out of anger, but we all have made decisions we have regretted. He apologized and has accepted the comments and negative publicity.
Commentary: Bush doesn't fare too well in Katrina film (Spike Lee) --
The audience's reactions were telling. When President Bush first appeared, he was hissed and booed. Not loudly, but distinctly. There's nothing like the accuracy of a focus group of 7,000 people. Pollsters often use a dozen or 15 or so scientifically selected people, screened by questionnaires to represent a demographic cross-section of a community. In an important political race, there will be four focus groups: black males, white males, black females and white females.They are brought into a room, led by the pollster or other trained person, who asks questions to probe attitudes. Those focus groups are blind in that they don't have an idea who is questioning them. But at the New Orleans Arena this past Wednesday night, 7,000 people came to see director Spike Lee's vision of Katrina, the response and the future.Tax would fund roads outside city --- Lafayette looking to annex some areas
Eleven of 62 road and drainage projects listed in an Aug. 7 feasibility report prepared by the Department of Public Works are outside, but near, the city limits. More than one-fourth of the $408 million that would be generated by a proposed one-cent sales tax in the city of Lafayette is earmarked for roads and drainage projects currently outside the city.
Funding and construction in those instances is dependent upon those areas being annexed into the city of Lafayette, said Pat Logan, associate public works director.
claim about his residency -- School board candidate to face hearing
Spike Lee’s view of Katrina and his HBO movie “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” has reverberated throughout the City of New Orleans and soon throughout the nation. "When the Levees Broke" will surely take it´s place along with "Harvest of Shame" and other great documentaries that effected social change. Don´t miss it. It is controversial as is Spike Lee. But, there was another mission. It told a story of New Orleans that should be told. Acts I and II premiere Monday, August 21 at 9pm (ET/PT), on HBO, followed by Acts III and IV on Tuesday, August 22 at 9pm. All four acts will be seen Tuesday, Aug. 29 (8:00 p.m.-midnight), the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.Read More...
The Big Sleazy
The chaos following Katrina gave an interesting opportunity to a contractor working for AshBritt of Pompano Beach, Fla. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this fellow, assigned a trash-hauling job, loaded up his truck from a dump site in Jackson County, Miss., then pulled around to the entrance tower to the same dump site in order to earn a fee. He got caught after playing this game twice.The best states for business
Mississippi, West Virginia and 50th-ranked Louisiana bring up the rear of the ranking (to be fair, Mississippi and Louisiana were hurt by the devastation that Hurricane Katrina inflicted). All three states suffer from weak labor pools and growth prospects as well as a poor quality-of-life ranking.
Judge Orders Halt To Domestic Spying L.A. Times
A federal judge in Detroit ruled today that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and must be stopped immediately. U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor held that the wiretapping program violated the 1st and 4th Amendments to the Constitution, which protect free speech and prohibit unlawful searches. She also held that the surveillance program, run by the National Security Agency, violates the federal Administrative Procedures Act and the Separation of Powers doctrine.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We don't always understand each other... but I appreciate their alertness
The Lafayette Daily Advertiser and the Advocate have recently and understandably addressed what they perceived to be a deviation from the norm concerning public attendance at the Lafayette Planning Commission briefings. Generally, I agree with them, said Fred Prejean. While I believe in eliminating any threat to our democratic form of government, including the Prince and little Napoleon types, I do concede that the Public interest must not suffer because of the foul play of individuals. Additionally, Prejean said the issue was a political issue and would be resolved politically.Council projects ‘what if’ tax effect
Official: Politics now polarized and paranoid Dailt Advertiser
Williams Offered Pretrial Alternative By RICHARD BURGESS Acadiana bureau
Closed Panel Meeting Sought...By KEVIN BLANCHARD Acadiana bureau
Has Lafayette reached this point?
Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince is arguably one of the most popular books about politics ever written. Its observations about human behavior are as true today as they were five hundred years ago. Although The Prince is taught in many schools, there are few reputable teachers who would recommend actually following the advice that Machiavelli offers; it is meant to serve the prince's selfish interests, not to serve society in general. Planning Commissioner Fred Prejean says Machiavellian politics in Lafayette will not succeed. Prejean recently e-mailed a letter to LCG Planning Zoning and Codes Chairman seeking to preserve the absence of intimidation at commission briefings. "My trust level regarding non-staff at our briefing sessions has diminished by recent events and requires a justified proactive response. I do not wish to convey my concerns to non-staff members prior to discussing them in our open public meeting. "Since sending the e-mail, Prejean says he is not sure his request will meet legal requirements. "A legal opinion is required to settle that question", Prejean said.
Lamont Defeats Lieberman in Primary
Call Center to employ 1,000
Qualifying for the Sept. 30 open primary election begins Wednesday, 8-09-06. Candidates have until Friday to qualify. Candidates may qualify at the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court Office on the second floor of the Lafayette Parish Courthouse. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.Friday. Candidates have until Friday to qualify.
What's With All These Taxes?
Four tax issues are currently under consideration for Lafayette Parish. These tax initiatives are sponsored by the Lafayette Parish School Board, Lafayette City, Sheriff's Office and several TIF Districts. Each entity is considering a one cent sales tax increase. If each entity succeeds, Lafayette consumers will experience a four cent sales tax increase. It is not clear just which, if any, tax initiative will find its' way on a ballot and we will not know until the smoke clears. No doubt a fierce political struggle will ensue as needs compete against each other. We'll watch this matter as it develops.
Road Tax Views Diverge Parish Ponders Broader "Tax" Plan
Black Caucus: Find a focus ------ Group says other issues in black community trump street’s renaming
Members of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus on Friday said factions of Lafayette’s black community arguing over renaming Willow Street — or any street — for slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. should find a better focus for their energies.
It's Your Health!
Heart of the Matter ...
A simple, inexpensive test available at local hospitals can detect the warning signs of heart disease.
The verdict may still be out on whether Lafayette is attracting enough business to support its burgeoning medical infrastructure, but the new level of competition is driving down the cost of at least one revolutionary imaging test. If you’d like to know your risk for developing coronary artery disease, $100 will buy you access to the best technology in today’s medical marketplace. By: Leslie Turk
$505M budget planned for Lafayette (click)
Peace Propaganda And The Promised Land (click)
Israeli and Palestinian Conflict ... is it reported here in the U.S. accurately. Does the news media cover the reality on the ground? You decide!
Minimum Wage Increase Passes House -- Sen. Reid decries move as attempt to "blackmail" working class
Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House of Representatives early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multi-million -dollar estates. Combining the two issues provoked protests from Democrats and was sure to cause problems in the Senate, where the minimum wage initiative was likely to die at the hands of Democrats opposed to the costly estate tax cuts. The maneuver was aimed at defusing the minimum wage increase as a campaign issue for Democrats while using the popularity of the increase to achieve the Republican Party's longtime goal of permanently cutting estate taxes. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week.
Housing Discrimination Complaint Hot line (337) 291-5451
Persons who feel they have been discriminated against may file their complaint through the Lafayette (LCG)
Neighborhood Counseling Services office.
"Before you get to the point where you say "I can't do nothing with my children", do something with them. Teach them to speak English. When the teacher calls, show up at the school. When the idiot box starts spewing profane rap videos, turn it off. Refrain from cursing around the kids. Teach our boys that women should be cherished, not raped and demeaned. Tell them that education is a prize we won with blood and tears,not a dishonor. Stop making excuses for the agents and abettors of black-on-black crime. It costs us nothing to do these things. But if we don't, it will cost us infinitely more tears."
Cartoon depicting Chris Williams causes reaction from source The Independent by: Greg Peters |
Williams may face a felony. Prosecutor wants to know amount of the damage graffiti caused. Claire Taylor -- Daily Advertiser
The political future of City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams
could hinge on the amount of damage he caused to the council
credenza July 5 when he wrote in black permanent marker
"Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive!" City Prosecutor Gary Haynes has
returned to the Lafayette Police Department a complaint filed
last week against Williams because it lacks a damage estimate,
he said Tuesday.
Lafayette bond plan looks to have voters’ OK
Lafayette's Bond Issue - Editorial The independent 07-12-06
PSC: BellSouth merger OK
Capstone phase two shot down (by Planning Commission) -- Developer plans to appeal decision on Freetown apartments.
Louisiana Public Service Commission To Review AT&T / BellSouth Merger --- (See Letter To PSC) The Louisiana PSC has authority "to ensure safe, efficient and reliable services at reasonable rates, and that ratepayers will not be harmed as a result of the change of ownership or control"...
“Special Legislative Projects” in the 2006-07 state operating budget. TIME FOR PARISH COUNCIL SANITY TO PREVAIL? ----- SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO ... firstname.lastname@example.org
Council member asks police to take action on colleague Planning panelist blasts 2 council members By KEVIN BLANCHARDPublished: Jul 6, 2006 Parish Council Backs Taxing Districts...By KEVIN BLANCHARD Published: Jul 6, 2006
After sweetening the pot, Capstone developers get a green light for their controversial complex near Freetown.
Neighborhood claims a rich history of Freetown -- Councilman Chris Williams caught in hypocrisy... again. Chris Williams claims he is always on the losing end of a 7-2 or 6-3 parish council vote, which affects his ability to represent his constituents. On June 27th, 2006, Chris Williams , Parish Councilman of District #3 showed his constituents just what he thinks about them by leading a charge against constituents. This time Williams was on the winning side of the 6 - 3 vote. Thanks to Williams and his loyalty to his political handlers, his own constituents lost again. Chris Williams and Bruce Conque sold out our historic Freetown neighborhood for $200,000 dollars, excluding any political contribution. ($250 per person) Political
Contribution Extra? The Price of Freetown History Is $200,000 According to the City-Parish Council. "click"
Chris Williams admitted that he met privately with Capstone Developers Inc. to hear their offer of $200,000 if Williams would assist them in securing the right to build their student apartments in the historic Freetown Neighborhood. This $200,000 dollar donation equates to approx. $250 dollars in benefits for each person in Freetown. Through various closed door meetings and private lobbying sessions, Capstone Development managed to sway both councilmen Chris Williams and Bruce Conque to see the Freetown student apartment issue their way. Freetown residents were not invited to these meetings. They did not even get their phone messages returned by Williams!
Freetown residents say "Williams and Conque cannot buy our dignity. They cannot destroy our pride and they certainly will not have our vote".
Parish Council Meeting (Capestone Appeal) Tuesday
Lafayette's 7 - 2 split? --- Votes Don't Prove Alleged City-Parish Council Divide.
Ask your Parish Councilman to support the historic Freetown Neighborhood and its residents "click" Save Freetown
Julien Gorbach (The Independent - -6/21/2006)
NEIGHBORHOOD IS DECISIVE --- NO STUDENT APARTMENTS!
Freetown residents seek to create an interesting, unique neighborhood which reflect the history, values and cultures of the
people who reside there, and foster the types of physical environments which support a more cohesive community fabric.
HISTORY OF FREETOWN - Glen Armentor ---The Freetown History is
a part of Lafayette's History--- Neighborhood Meeting
What do you say when someone wants to encroach upon the peaceful nature of a community and rob the neighborhood of its history and lifestyle solely for their economic gain? What ever you would say can be said at a neighborhood meeting on Thursday the 15th of June at 6 p.m. at the C.J. Angelle Hall, which is on the corner of Taft and Jefferson St.
Developer appeals Planning Commission decision --- Historic Freetown is center-stage .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Clinton Address Graduates 2006/U. T. -LBJ School of Public Policy The Fundamental Nature of the 21st. Century.
Lawmakers add projects to budget. Plan expands by $148.8 million
Borrowed Future - John Paul Stoshak
New Blanco Poll - May,19-06
Laf. Planning Commission on track to confront "non-planning".
Neighbors: Save Freetown --Proposed complex concerns residents
Being Black In America (By Smokey Robinson) audio only
What Is LINC?The essential purpose of LINC (Lafayette In A Century) is no less than a parish wide review of all geographical parts, legal divisions and functional elements that bear on the physical, social, economic, health and environmental concerns of the community. LINC always should be a consensus builder. Development of the parish is made daily by thousands of individual decisions of property owners, developers, homeowners, utilities, businesses, estates, institutions and federal, state and local governments. LINC can both facilitate and restrict how these independent actions come together to meet both short-term and the long-term community objectives. A new subdivision, a new shopping center, a new major arterial, a new park or a new school are generally considered long-term improvements and investments. These urban developments should be planned for permanence. READ MORE
Taxing Districts eyed for
LINC --- Lafayette Parish Comprehensive Plan "Elements" - Building a Community of Choice.
Lafayette shares a common history and culture with New Orleans.
SPECIAL --- A CREOLE BOUCHERIE
STATE OF THE CITY PARISH LCG 2006 Budget Summary 2006 Public Works Projects
Prejean gains recognition and support for his vision and leadership in north Lafayette community growth planning.“
One of my goals is to help establish a North Lafayette Development Plan. At present our Planning Commission is working hard and will soon present options to the public. Stay tuned! North Lafayette residents have a new attitude.
The recent commercial boom to Lafayette's economy caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita forced many businesses to close their doors to new customers because of an inability to supply the abundance of goods and services the public required. While the effects of the hurricanes were horrific, the expenditure of funds by the evacuees was never before contemplated by Lafayette businessmen. Lafayette is now perceived as a safe haven that happens to have a rich diversity of cultures exemplified by our food, music and customs.
Investors and developers are now beginning to recognize the potential economic benefits of developing north Lafayette and have already begun site visits to stakeout priority locations. Severe inclement weather along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana is predicted to continue, causing residents in low lying areas to evacuate and seek refuge inland. Lafayette, because of it's geographic location, serves as a "first responder" to evacuees traveling either I-10 or I-49 highways .
The Louisiana Avenue Overlay District is now approved and by January of 2007, you will see new development at the Louisiana Ave. and I-10 Intersection. A second new commercial (retail) development is under negotiation and may occur at the northwest quadrant of I-49 and I-10. And this is just the beginning. LCG Public Works and LDOT projects are underway as well. Stay tuned!
While Mr. Durel has made it clear that at this time LCG has no financial contribution it can make toward developing north Lafayette his staff is addressing this issue with all human resources available. Durel says he recognizes the potential tax revenue contribution north Lafayette is capable of producing once developed and wants to help make this a reality.
Most people I talk to are looking
for ways to insure that tax dollars generated by new north Lafayette businesses
will be used to provide infrastructure development for north Lafayette.
This is a reasonable expectation and one that is achievable through the
creation of TIF Districts. READ
Ministers Displeased and Disappointed with Parish Councilmen Decision