The Lafayette City-Parish Council Tuesday upheld five suspensions of liquor licenses against two bars and three convenience stores ranging from three days to one year. The one-year suspension levied against Club Moet stems from a sting operation targeting illegal strippers. The rest of the suspensions are related to the illegal sale of alcohol to minors.
The three-day suspension against popular UL bar The Bulldog took about an hour as council members, a city-parish attorney and the director of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control got bogged down in an interpretation of language in the ordinance providing for license suspensions.
“Apparently, there’s something wrong with this ordinance,” Bulldog owner Shannon Wilkerson told the council following the lengthy back and forth over consolidated government’s interpretation of the word “violation” in the ordinance. “This is the feedback I’ve gotten from you gentlemen this evening.”
The Bulldog was represented in its appeal by attorney Robin Jones, who argued LCG failed to notify the bar of the hearing before ATC within 60 days of the violation and that a license suspension was severe for a first violation. Wilkerson told the council that he actually notified ATC Director Tim Melancon of the violation on Sept. 22, 2009, the day after the violation; the bar wasn’t notified of the ATC hearing until March 16 of this year.
Although none at the meeting was willing to acknowledge it because it is an ongoing criminal investigation, the Bulldog’s violation stems from a September 2009 incident in which a minor who was allegedly served alcohol at the bar was later killed in an accident on U.S. Highway 90. That, according to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft and others, is why the bartender at the Bulldog wasn’t cited for the violation until March of this year.
Wilkerson’s assertion that he notified Melancon on the day after the violation got under Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley’s skin. “Mr. Wilkerson conveniently leaves out one important detail,” Stanley said. “Mr. Melancon is beyond reproach; it’s not that he did not tell the truth... So, to bring here, publicly, even a hint that he could have, should have made a decision to send a violation out at that time beyond poor taste at this point.”
Registering the vigor of Stanley’s castigation of the bar merchant, a resident’s intonation of “Oooo!” from the rear of the council auditorium was picked up on the chamber’s microphone system.
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
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.