Intro ordinances address ‘cruising,’ open containers
[Update: The CPC approved the two ordinances detailed in this story and added the McKinley Strip to the areas subject to the ordinances. The ordinances are scheduled to come up for final adoption on Tuesday, Sept. 20.]
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider introductory ordinances Tuesday designed to mitigate what Police Chief Jim Craft has characterized as an unmanageable situation on weekend nights downtown. The nearby Simcoe Strip is also subject to the ordinances.
Ordinance 203 is designed to address automotive “cruising,” defined as “driving a motor vehicle past the same traffic control point ... more than twice in any two (2) hour period between the hours of 8:00 P.M. and 5:00 A.M.” The ordinance grants grant police the authority to designate certain streets — Jefferson and Simcoe, chief among them — as “no cruise” streets, and holds the registered owner of the vehicle liable for the violation, regardless of whether the owner is behind the wheel. A first violation would warrant a $200 fine; second and third violations would be $300 and $500, respectively.
A second ordinance, 204, address so-called “go cups” — alcoholic beverages brought out to the street from the establishment where it was purchased. Use of go cups is a common practice, as evidenced on weekend mornings by the proliferation of empty cups discarded by bar hoppers the night before.
Ordinance 204 would prohibit having open alcoholic beverages on the street downtown and at the Simcoe Strip. The ordinance exempts events such as Festival International, Downtown Alive, Mardi Gras and ArtWalk as well as restaurants and cafés that have permits for al fresco dining. This ordinance holds both businesses and patrons liable and subject to penalty: Bars that knowingly allow customers to leave with go cups can face suspension or revocation of their liquor license and employees can face fines that begin at $500 for a first offense; people cited on the street with open alcoholic beverages can be subject to a $500 fine and/or jail time.
Council Chairman Jay Castille also says the council will discuss on Sept. 28 prohibiting 18-20 year olds from clubs downtown. “The administration wants to talk about it and some of the councilmen mentioned it,” Castille says, “but there won’t be any final ordinance coming forward at this time.” The council could, however, ask Lafayette Consolidated Government attorneys to draft an introductory ordinance addressing the issue, for which the Durel administration and Craft have expressed support.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
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.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.