In all likelihood, an ordinance putting a repeal of the Lafayette City-Parish Home Rule Charter before voters in November will be tabled or deferred this evening by the Lafayette City-Parish Council; several council members have expressed concern that the process is moving too fast, a sentiment shared by City-Parish President Joey Durel and the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. But vote on deconsolidation they must — three resolutions pertaining to the topic are the first action items on the agenda; the ordinance itself proposing the repeal of the charter is the first up for final adoption. By 6:30 p.m. today, Lafayette Parish should have a pretty good idea what, if anything, will be on the Nov. 2 ballot related to deconsolidation.
The council is covering its bases with Tuesday’s legislation: If the ordinance that would send deconsolidation to the voters in November is shot down or tabled, a second ordinance will be voted on that would let the parish decide in November on whether to amend the existing city-parish charter to give the council more time to redistrict the parish following the receipt of census numbers some time around next March.
Currently, the city-parish charter requires districts be redrawn at least six months before a council election. The City-Parish Council election is set for October 2011 — seven months after the likely receipt of census numbers. A redistricting plan that grows out of the census will need to be vetted by the state Bond Commission as well as the U.S. Department of Justice — a process that could take several weeks. Consequently, it’s likely the council would be unable to meet the “six months prior” requirement in the charter. The second, fall-back ordinance before the council Tuesday removes that six-month prescription. In fact, it was this dilemma that prompted council Chair Jay Castille to convene the charter committee that on Feb. 1 voted to send the deconsolidation ordinance to the council and, ultimately, to parish voters.
Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the council auditorium. To view a pdf of the agenda and related documents, click here.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.