10/12/2011 10:30 AM by Melissa Canone
The Youngsville Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an informational forum October 12th.
Topics will include Consolidation vs. Deconsolidation Presented by Don Bacque and Bruce Conque, Propos… Click to Read More and see additional updates
10/12/2011 10:30 AM by Melissa Canone
The Youngsville Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an informational forum October 12th.
Topics will include Consolidation vs. Deconsolidation Presented by Don Bacque and Bruce Conque, Proposed Youngsville Sports Complex presented by Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator, and Proposed Lafayette Parish School Board Tax presented by District 9 School Board Member Rae Trahan.
These issues will be on the upcoming election ballots: Deconsolidation October 22nd
Sports Complex and School Board Tax November 19th
Admission is free and open to the public. There will be a Q & A session following the presentations.
The event will be held at First Assembly of God Church Sanctuary, 3555 Verot School Road Youngsville from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
10/11/2011 06:04 PM by MIKE MAGNOLI
De-consolidation is a hot button issue in Lafayette and
the issue is will soon be put to voters.
Should Lafayette go back to the way things were? Two governments: One for the city and one for the parish? Or keep things as they are.
Tonight we take a look at both sides of the debate.
KATC's Mike Magnoli has more:
One of the first things you might notice if voters go for de-consolidation- the sign on at LCG headquarters will likely need to be tweaked: It won't be LCG anymore, but you might know it as "city hall."
Bruce Conque: "All I am asking for is a chance for the city to control it's own destiny and the parish it's own destiny."
Since we began covering de-consolidation, we've heard a lot from Bruce Conque- civic leader, outspoken supporter of de-consolidation. He and the rest of those who like the idea say city issues will get special attention, and parish issues the attention they deserve, seperate governments. Also, supporters point out that population growth in the parish areas needs to be factored in- representation that is proportionate
"It's a simple American principle, autonomy." Conque says.
On the flip side, you have people who think two governments would mean more red tape and more money being spent. The main argument to vote against de-consolidation is the expense.
Also, those who like LCG as it exists, suggest making minor changes for improvement as opposed to abolishing LCG out right. That's how Ed Roy feels- he's a former parish council president.
"If it ain't broke don't break it. there are lots of things that can be done so lcg serves us better and it can be a very prosperous thing for us if we stay with it."
Those who are for de-consolidation and against are concerned about low voter turnout, and officals tell me that's already evident in the early voting.
10/11/2011 10:20 AM by Kate Durio
A candidate for district 2 police juror in Evangeline Parish is facing sign vandalism in Basile. Kenny Burgess, who is running against Sidney Fontenot for the position says so far he's had nearly 50 campaign signs stolen or vandalized.
Burgess says the signs were in and around Basile in isolated areas where someone could vandalize or steal the signs with no witnesses.
According to Burgess, he and his opponent, the current district 2 police juror have a "casual relationship" but he says he thinks it must be adults and not kids because his signs are the only ones being tampered with in the area.
The signs are made of corrugated plastic and so far, Burgess says three large signs and approximately 40 small signs have been stolen. He also says five large signs have been vandalized, including one that appears to have had "someone put their foot through the sign".
Burgess says he has not talked with the Basile Police about the vandalism because he feels that "unless the police catch someone red-handed, it will be a waste of police time".
"If someone wants to be that childish, let them. I'm going to take the high road and show people that this doesn't bother me," said Burgess. "If they have to revert to this, let them".
10/10/2011 10:14 PM by Maddie Garrett
Lafayette Parish Schools each hosted open houses Monday night to show the public what's wrong with the schools, as an effort to inform tax payers about the $561 million bond to fund the LPSS Master Facilities Plan.
Under the plan seven schools would be rebuilt, including the Parish's two largest, Lafayette High and Northside. All other schools would undergo major renovations and upgrades, along with long term maintenance plans.
And as parents got to tour various schools in the Parish, faculty pointed out just what all needs to be repaired.
"I got to see Alleman which is disgusting and this one is in pretty bad shape too," said John Munsell after he toured Lafayette High.
Munsell has four children in the Lafayette School System. After taking a look at his their schools, he said he wasn't happy with what he found.
"I got to see first hand some of the conditions. I mean when you walk into a room and you smell the mold... you know you've got a big problem," said Munsell.
LJ Alleman Middle Schools has some of the worst conditions in the Parish, it's also set to be completely rebuilt. But Alleman shares many of the same problems as a majority of Lafayette schools: It's almost 60 years old, has inadequate electrical systems and half of its students are in portable buildings.
"It's hard for me to say that it's horrible because I work here and I try to make the environment as pleasant as possible, however we're to the point where our technology, we can't keep up with technology in the classrooms. We have as much technology as we can but it becomes an electrical problem," said Alleman's principal, Kathy Aloisio.
Only a few parents came to Alleman's open house though, Lafayette High had a better turnout with about 20. But those who came agreed, the $561 million bond would be worth it.
"I did the numbers, for an average home it costs less than a can of coca cola a day to pay for this, I think we can all do that," said parent Howard Wiess.
"Really it's not a lot of money. And the reality is there's no other way to fund this, it has to be funded off of a millage," said Munsell.
Taxpayers will vote on the bond proposal that will include a 23 mills property tax levied for the master plan, and a 2 mills property tax for its maintenance. That adds up to about $195 per year for 20 years for the average household. Election day is October 22, 2011.
10/10/2011 06:56 PM by MIKE MAGNOLI
The race is on for the seat left vacant when Judge Phyllis Keatty went to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal.
The Division "M" court is devoted largely to family law cases.
It serves Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes.
KATC's Mike Magnoli has more with the three candidates.
All three candidates for judge, all lawyers who practice in family court answered my first question the same: Susan Theall, Kay Karré Gautreaux, Marshall Montgomery like Louisiana camera law as it is.
Another question- how do the candidates feel about family court judges being so favorable to mother's in custody cases? All say they would be fair to fathers and judge each case on the facts.
Judges serve a 6 year term.
10/10/2011 04:12 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Joey Durel is seeking a third term as Lafayette's City-Parish President. He ran unopposed four years ago, but this year he's facing some competition.
Democratic candidate Mike Stagg said this year's election is all about looking towards Lafayette's future.
He said, "it's not a country parish. We need to stop running it like it's a country parish."
Stagg has a few main objectives. The first is tackling what he calls a potentially disastrous energy situation.
"We need to get out of the coal powered energy business. we need to use modern clean available natural has to produce our electric power in Lafayette," Stagg said.
Also on the agenda, improving roadways and transportation as well as utilizing cutting edge technology, like LUS Fiber.
"The challenge now is to find the right applications to turn those investments into more than just things in the ground- more than channels on TV, " Stagg explained.
He said he wasn't even planning on running until no-one else stepped up to the plate.
"The message is this parish belongs to all of us and we all need to have a say in it, "he said.
10/10/2011 10:41 AM by AP
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Lafayette Consolidated Government has governed the city of Lafayette and the unincorporated portions of the parish for 15 years. On Oct. 22, voters will decide if that government should continue or if it should be scrapped in favor of separate governments for both the city and the parish.
Deconsolidation proponents say a "Yes" vote will give the city of Lafayette more autonomy and control of its own destiny while giving the parish a government dedicated to its needs.
The Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/nWMgDG ) opponents argue that voting "No" lets a successful government continue, avoiding a painful and costly governmental split.
Regardless of where people stand on the current proposition, most agree the city of Lafayette deserves a greater level of self-governance. How that increased autonomy should be achieved is a point of contention.
The plan voters will consider, however, isn't ideal for either opponents or supporters.
Those in favor say the plan currently on the table could be the only chance to address problems in the home rule charter, which serves as LCG's governing document.
Opponents say there is ample time to revisit the charter's problems and argue plans to correct those issues could be developed cheaply without the heartache of splitting the government.
"We got to the point where so much frustration built up it was either keep it where we are or dump it," said Mike Hefner, a local demographer who worked with the charter commission. "Some of them came in with their minds set, which is why you saw the two extremes."
Regardless of what voters decide, the government can't change shape before 2016 because state law prohibits cutting short the term of any elected official. Voters will elect a new council and a city-parish president to serve from 2012 until 2016 on the same ballot with the deconsolidation question.
10/10/2011 10:12 AM by AP
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The newest schools in Lafayette Parish were built in 1999 and 2002.
But the majority are overdue for major renovations and in some cases the repairs and needs are so exorbitant that planning consultants have recommended at least seven schools be rebuilt.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/pn5Kxj ) the district's master plan lays out needs and a capital improvement plan to get started.
On Oct. 22, voters will decide whether to support a 20-year, 23-mill property tax to fund $561 million in repairs and construction as well as a 2-mill property tax dedicated to maintenance.
A coalition pushing for action to repair and maintain schools says that electrical capacity issues are commonplace. Classrooms and hallways are dimly lit. Some hallways are "decorated" with exposed plumbing lines overhead. Temperamental cooling and heating systems require continual tinkering and impending replacement. When air conditioners are operable, the noise of the classroom units competes with the teacher's voice.
On the morning of Sept. 28, the air conditioner wasn't working at Northside High and some teachers moved their classrooms outdoors, a coalition member said.
"That's called lost instructional time," said Sarah Walker, chairwoman of the Community Coalition for Lafayette Schools as one class filed outside.
Northside High and Lafayette High are among the seven schools that would be rebuilt as part of the initial phase of the master plan implementation.
Lafayette High is the district's largest high school with about 2,500 students. It also houses two schools of choice programs in health and performing arts that enroll students from across the district.
Both schools of choice programs are popular and enroll students from across the district. The health academy is housed in portable buildings while the school's arts programs clamor for the one spot large enough for them to practice - the auditorium.
"We get along but our biggest arguments are about space," Holly Grefe, Lafayette High choir director, said about her fellow music and performing arts teachers.
Space in the choral room is so tight that a wheelchair-bound student is transferred to a specially designed office chair on wheels to navigate the room.
Schools in the parish are also outgrowing their walls.
At Green T. Lindon Elementary in Youngsville, the number of portable classrooms - 25 - outnumber the 18 located inside the building.
About 760 students attend the school, and there are too few bathroom stalls for the young students, said Gina Cahee, Lindon's principal.
The school was designed for about 400 students.
Teachers coordinate classroom visits to the bathroom to prevent long waits and lessen the amount of lost instructional time while waiting for a stall.
The school also has no gym and its physical education teachers no office. Class is held on the playground or in a side parking lot.
The teachers' desks are outdoors, too.
When it rains gym class is held in a hallway near the second-grade classrooms.
Like other schools in the district, electrical capacity issues delay and often limit the use of technology.
"I don't think in this day and age that children should have to come to school in an environment like this," Cahee said.
10/07/2011 04:21 PM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Early voting for governor, statewide posts, legislative seats and a slew of local races begins Saturday.
Candidates worried about college football schedules, hunting plans and weather distractions are urging people to go to the polls early, rather than wait until the Oct. 22 election day.
All voters can cast ballots early, without any need for a medical condition or other reason.
Early voting runs through Oct. 15 at parish registrars of voters offices and certain other designated locations in some parishes. The Secretary of State has posted early voting locations at www.geauxvote.com .
On the October ballot are six statewide elected jobs, including heated contests for lieutenant governor and secretary of state; five constitutional amendments; many local offices and dozens of state House and Senate seats.
10/07/2011 03:38 PM by Press Release
The three candidates for state District Court, Division M, will participate in a debate on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus Monday afternoon.
Kay Karré Gautreaux, Marshall Montgomery and Susan Theall will debate in Room 241 of Burke-Hawthorne Hall at 1 p.m. The debate is open to the public.
All three are Republicans. The primary election on Oct. 22 is to fill the vacancy created when District Judge Phyllis Montgomery Keaty was elected to the 3rd Court of Appeal last year. If needed, a runoff will be held Nov. 19.
The Division M court is devoted largely to family law cases and is one of 13 district courts in the 15th Judicial District, which encompasses Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes.
The candidates will be questioned by a panel of local journalists:
Emily Henagan, a reporter for The Independent Weekly; Zane Hill, managing editor of The Vermilion, the UL student weekly; Mark Magnoli, a reporter with KATC-TV 3; and Kris Wartele, a reporter with The Daily Advertiser.
The UL chapter of Society of Professional Journalists is sponsoring the debate, which is open to the public.
10/07/2011 06:32 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Lieutenant governor candidate Billy Nungesser said he wants to expand the office beyond its tourism oversight and get the state's number two post involved in lobbying Washington for state needs and working on economic development.
Incumbent Jay Dardenne said the office already is a full-time job, overseeing nearly $100 million in spending and promoting the state around the nation as Louisiana's chief ambassador.
The differences in philosophy came as the two candidates, both Republicans, squared off Thursday night in a debate hosted by the Baton Rouge Tea Party that focused more on policy than the traded attacks that had marked much of the campaign so far.
Both men called themselves "fiscal conservatives" and talked of cutting government, as they tried to appeal to the audience of tea party supporters heading into the final two weeks before the Oct. 22 election. Both praised GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's first term in office. But Dardenne and Nungesser differed on how to attract retirees to Louisiana, how to market the state and what the office's role should be in state government.
"If the lieutenant governor was just going to do tourism, I'd be for abolishing it," Nungesser said. He added, "We need a lieutenant governor who will get involved on every front."
He pitched a greater role, asking the governor to give the position a wider scope that involved courting and expanding businesses, talking to Washington leaders about Louisiana's issues and working on coastal restoration efforts. Those roles fall to other people in state government currently, including people hired directly by the governor.
Dardenne said tourism is a critical multibillion-dollar industry for Louisiana that generates $17 for every $1 spent on marketing and promotion and should be the central focus of the lieutenant governor.
"This position represents your state around the country," Dardenne said. "This is going to be their look into who we are as a people."
Besides being second-in-line to the governor, Louisiana's number two leader is the overseer of the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which manages several museums, state parks, the state library and an annual book festival.
Dardenne, a former secretary of state from Baton Rouge, and Nungesser, president of Plaquemine Parish from Port Sulphur, are the only two candidates on the ballot. No Democratic contender signed up for the race.
The two have spent much of the race trading barbs and claiming the other is spreading lies, in an election that has grown increasingly nasty.
In one exchange, Nungesser repeated a regular complaint he's made about a New York advertising agency being hired to promote Louisiana seafood, saying Louisiana companies should be hired to do the work.
But the lieutenant governor's office didn't make that decision. Dardenne said he hired a New Orleans-based firm to do advertising, while a New York company was chosen for a different contract by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, a separate entity over which the lieutenant governor has no control under the law.
Nungesser said Dardenne was still involved, calling the spending by the board "part of the shell game" for tourism marketing in the state.
Dardenne shot back, "You really need to be running for the seafood promotion and marketing board. They are two separate entities. Take your concerns to them. I have nothing to do with it."
Nungesser claimed Dardenne is exaggerating the cuts he's made since becoming lieutenant governor 10 months ago, criticized Dardenne as a career politician and slammed a series of taxes supported by Dardenne when he was a state senator. Dardenne said Nungesser misrepresented his votes and was spreading "outright falsehoods."
He criticized Nungesser for the production of a $175,000 tourism video for Plaquemines Parish that has never been used, when Dardenne said such videos could be made for a far smaller expense. Nungesser said the sheriff chose to get the video made - but Nungesser also signed the contract.
10/03/2011 08:19 PM
Three years have passed since lawmakers reversed the income tax hikes of the tax swap known as the Stelly Plan, but the issue isn't dead, becoming a key point of attack in two statewide races.
Former Republican lawmakers who voted to raise taxes on some Louisiana residents are getting slammed in elections for lieutenant governor and secretary of state by GOP opponents who say the votes harmed Louisiana families and undercut claims of fiscal conservatism.
The Stelly Plan was a sweeping package named for its sponsor, then-Rep. Vic Stelly. Passed by lawmakers and voters in a 2002 constitutional change, the legislation eliminated sales taxes on groceries and residential utilities in exchange for increased income taxes on middle- and upper-income earners.
The tax hikes were rolled back in 2007 and 2008 after backlash over the increases, and the sales taxes were kept off the books, a move that cut taxes by more than $600 million annually. But the issue continues to creep up in the Oct. 22 election.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Secretary of State Tom Schedler voted for the Stelly Plan when they were state senators, and Dardenne was a floor leader for the governor who helped pass the legislation.
Dardenne, of Baton Rouge, was gone from the Legislature by the time the income tax boosts were reversed, while Schedler backed the part of the reversal that passed while he was still in the Senate.
Lieutenant governor candidate Billy Nungesser says Dardenne supported "the worst tax package in the history of Louisiana," and he's listed it among several votes when he's called Dardenne a "big taxin' politician" in an attack ad. Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, says he doesn't support any tax increases.
Dardenne has defended his vote, saying he wouldn't change his support of the Stelly Plan.
"I felt like it was the right thing to do for Louisiana," he said. "I felt strongly that the people should have that decision."
Secretary of state candidate Jim Tucker, speaker of the state House from Terrytown, repeatedly notes that he pushed for repeal of the Stelly Plan - and didn't vote for the tax swap when it passed the Legislature.
Schedler says his vote was based on incorrect estimates of what the tax hike would mean for Louisiana residents, but he also says his vote for the constitutional change sent the proposal to voters to make the final decision and didn't enact it.
"The people voted to impose the tax. I allowed it go to a vote of the people," Schedler, of Mandeville, said in a recent debate with Tucker.
Stelly, backed by then-Gov. Mike Foster, pushed the tax swap plan as a means of making state taxes more equitable, a first small step toward fiscal reform by doing away with "temporary" sales taxes that forced a bruising renewal battle every two years and replacing them with a more reliable tax base.
Supporters also argued sales taxes hit the poor in a disproportionate fashion, forcing them to pay a higher percentage of their income for necessities such as food and utilities.
Opponents of the Stelly Plan said the tax hikes would raise too much money and that the state should be cutting spending, rather than getting more revenue.
Voters narrowly approved the Stelly Plan in an election nine years ago, and attempts to reverse its impact began nearly as soon as income tax bills went up.
Lawmakers in 2007 voted to reinstate itemized deductions eliminated under the Stelly Plan. A year later, lawmakers rolled back the income tax brackets to before the enactment of the Stelly Plan, making it the largest personal income tax cut in state history.
09/30/2011 05:21 PM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Lieutenant governor candidate Billy Nungesser says the governor encouraged him to run for the post, but Gov. Bobby Jindal says that doesn't mean he recruited Nungesser for the race.
Jindal isn't endorsing either Republican candidate in the Oct. 22 race: Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, or incumbent Jay Dardenne. Jindal repeated that stance Friday, saying he's friends with both men.
Nungesser says that Jindal encouraged him to run for the office, a statement he repeated Friday on a Baton Rouge radio program, the Jim Engster Show.
When asked about his encouragement, Jindal said he always encourages people to run for office because "it's good for the voters to have multiple choices." But he said he doesn't recruit candidates and didn't ask Nungesser to seek the lieutenant governor's job.
09/29/2011 10:39 PM by Maddie Garrett
The Milton Civic Center hosted a "Meet the Candidate" forum Thursday night. Candidates for Division M Family Court Judget, Kay Gautreaux, Marshall Montgomery and Susan Theall attended, as well as candidates for City-Parish Council District 8, Keith Patin (I) and Craig Spikes, and District 9, William Theriot (I) and Walter Campbell.
And one of the bigger races at the forum was for Lafayette Parish Sheriff, and Sheriff Mike Neustrom (I) and his opponent Richard "Rick" Chargois were there.
Neustrom has served as Lafayette Parish Sheriff for 12 years, and said his work isn't finished yet.
"We've started a lot of programs, we've built the department up. We've received the Triple Crown, which is possessed by only 39 sheriff's offices out of 3,000. So we've made some progress but we're not there yet, we want to continue making progress," said Neustrom.
Chargois also has extensive experience in law enforcement serving at Louisiana State Police for 25 years as a trooper/deputy commander and head of various departments, including Bureau of Investigations.
"And I've watch the sheriff's office through all those years. I've had to work with them and I've had to be out in the public and work with other sheriff's offices work and I think I can do a good job. I think I can bring a different direction to the department and provide better public safety and support," said Chargois.
During the forum, Chargois said he would like to work more with local law enforcement agencies and State Police in cracking down on drugs.
As for the jail, Neustrom said it's important to keep violent criminals incarcerated and rehabilitate others to keep them out of jail.
"I think we need to be prepared to manage people as they come back into the community. And I think we're prepared now. The programs we've started over the past 12 years are designed to monitor people in the community which is cheaper than locking people up," explained Neustrom.
Chargois sai he'd like to make jail more efficient.
"I think we need to go through that place with a fine tooth comb and see what we can do to reduce the problems and get more people in there," said Chargois.
So will Neustrom get a fourth term in office, or will there be a new sheriff in town? We'll have those results on election day, October 22, 2011.
09/27/2011 05:05 PM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Democratic candidate for governor Tara Hollis is running radio ads on stations around Louisiana in her bid to unseat Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Hollis, a middle school teacher making her first run for office, is the only candidate besides Jindal to put out advertisements in the race.
Hollis' radio ads criticize Jindal for cutting education and health care, for growth in state unemployment and for traveling the nation to fundraise. She also has done limited TV advertising for her campaign.
But her reach is far smaller. She has raised only about $35,000 since announcing her candidacy in May, while Jindal has raised more than $14 million for his campaign for a second term.
Nine candidates are running against Jindal in the Oct. 22 election, but none are well-funded or well-known.
09/23/2011 07:06 PM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The sole candidate to actively campaign for months against Gov. Bobby Jindal has raised only a few thousand dollars and has $4,600 on hand a month before the Oct. 22 election.
Middle school teacher Tara Hollis, a Democrat from Haynesville, has traveled to nearly every parish of Louisiana since announcing her candidacy in May. She's organized a grass-roots effort, based largely on social networking sites, e-mail campaigning and speeches to organizations around the state.
But Hollis has failed to get big-ticket support from Democratic leaders and other traditional donors who could help her spread her message through large-scale TV and radio advertising and campaign mailers - and to combat Jindal's multimillion dollar campaign account.
Hollis' latest campaign finance report, filed Thursday night with the state ethics administration office, showed her raising nearly $32,000 in the most recent reporting period, from July 15 through Sept. 22. That includes $3,000 in loans from her family.
Many of the donations were considered "in-kind" contributions, where someone donated meals, yard signs, office space or other services to a candidate.
The single largest cash contribution came from Democratic former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who gave Hollis $1,500. Other donations were small, often $25, $50 or $100 each. The executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Renee Lapeyrolerie, gave $10.
Hollis said she was pleased with the support she's receiving.
"When you look through the report, it is the working class families of Louisiana donating $10's and $20's, not big corporations or lobbyists. This campaign is being run how it should be, it is people-driven," Hollis said in an email.
After spending and deducting the in-kind donations, Hollis was left with $4,612.
By comparison, Jindal, a Republican seeking his second term in office, reported having $7.7 million on hand for the election.
Hollis said she's disappointed that people are focusing on the small amount of money she has left on hand.
"I would be a fool to have a lot of money on hand. I should be using that money to combat Jindal - not holding on to it," Hollis said. "I do not believe the money issue has changed the campaign's dynamics. We are not running a `Jindal' campaign."
Democratic Party attempts to woo a well-known and well-funded opponent for the governor's race failed.
Eight other candidates are challenging Jindal, but they have done less fundraising work than Hollis and have only been announced candidates for a few weeks. They have little state-wide name recognition. At least three have filed campaign finance reports, showing accounts containing $845, $48 and no funds at all.
At least one candidate, Bob Lang, of Natchitoches, filed a form certifying that he hasn't received or spent enough on the race to require a campaign finance report. Lang made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate last year.
09/23/2011 03:40 PM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Billy Nungesser has dropped out of two forums with GOP incumbent Jay Dardenne, leading to criticism that Nungesser is ducking debates.
Both Dardenne and Nungesser were scheduled to appear Friday night at a Baton Rouge event being held by a local Republican club. But Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, has backed out of the debate.
Nungesser also won't participate in a Monday debate scheduled by the Press Club of Baton Rouge for the two candidates in the Oct. 22 race.
Jason Hebert, a spokesman for Dardenne's campaign, says Nungesser isn't keeping his commitment to discuss issues important to voters.
A spokesman for Nungesser's campaign, Amy Jones, says Nungesser had scheduling conflicts for both forums.
09/21/2011 10:17 AM by Tracy Wirtz
The Crowley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a political forum tonight at 6:30 at the Grand Opera House in downtown Crowley. A slew of candidates from a number of races are expected to field questions in advance of the October 22nd election. Republican Anthony Emmons is challenging incumbent Democrat Jack Montoucet for the District 42 State Representative seat, and constituents will have the opportunity to hear their view at tonight's forum. In the Acadia Parish Assessor's race, incumbent Mike Goss faces one opponent, current Rayne Mayor Jimbo Petijean. Acadia Parish Clerk of Court Robert "Robby" Barousse will square off against challenger Larry Lege. Also represented at tonight's forum will be candidates for Acadia Parish Police Jury seats 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
09/20/2011 10:08 PM by Shawn Kline
"Somebody's not doing their job and we're going to address this," Joe LeBlanc said of the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office.
"It's time to have a Sheriff who cares about people," Larry Cherry said.
"It's wrong." LeBlanc says, "and it ain't going to happen under my administration."
Candidates for Iberia Parish Sheriff bashing Louis Ackal and the current administration during a debate, but of the three candidates for the seat, only two showed up.
Sheriff Ackal himself, a no-show.
"He didn't want to have to face those questions," LeBlanc said of Ackal's absence.
"He's doing what he's always done as Sheriff." Cherry says, "he hides."
What did the Sheriff have to say about his absence?
"I'm not going to distinguish these two people who I don't think are qualified to do anything more than what they're doing in life," Ackal said of the race.
Sheriff Ackal says neither candidate should be allowed to run for his office. Larry Cherry has no background as a law enforcement officer and Ackal says Joe LeBlanc, while having some experience, now operates an electric business.
"The most important thing to me is keeping the people safe." Ackal says, "not setting up with an elocution contest with two 'bafoons' as to why they should be Sheriff and not be."
Cherry and LeBlanc say no matter what his reasons are for not showing up, there needs to be more transparency in the Sheriff's Office.
09/20/2011 04:57 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Wednesday is the last day to register to vote in the Oct. 22 elections.
New voters who want to sign up can go to their parish registrar of voters' office, or register online at www.geauxvote.com.
The Times-Picayune reports that there are 2.78 million voters registered in Louisiana, according to Secretary of State's Office spokesman Sailor Jackson. Democrats accounted for almost half of the registration, with 1.4 million voters, while Republicans totaled 707,000, and 657,000 are registered as independents.
09/16/2011 10:29 AM
Beginning on Monday, Sept. 19, AOC Community Media will re-air the recently premiered series of debates, Acadiana Debates, produced by Acadiana Progressive and Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee.
These debates were originally aired live on AOC from Tuesday, Sept. 13, through Thursday, Sept. 15, with two final sessions scheduled to air live on Thursday, Sept. 22, on AOC 2 (Cox 16 or LUS 4).
"AOC policy forbids our organization to actively produce political programming, but our purpose includes assisting organizations that wish to do so," said Ed Bowie, executive director of AOC Community Media. "We encourage all candidates and organizations to hold community forums, presentations and debates such as the ones that were held this week."
Political candidates who elect to utilize AOC Community Media facilities for equal time should contact AOC in writing by letter to 704 Lee Avenue, Lafayette, LA 70501, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a production schedule. Each candidate will be provided a platform similar in nature to the platform utilized by their opposition.
Debate re-air schedule is as follows:
House Districts 39 and 42
Monday, Sept. 19, at 5:30 p.m. on AOC 2 (Cox 16 or LUS 4)
House District 44
Monday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. on AOC 2 (Cox 16 or LUS 4)
House District 96
Friday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 p.m. on AOC 1 (Cox 15 or LUS 3)
Senate District 24
Friday, Sept. 23, at 8:00 p.m. on AOC 1 (Cox 15 or LUS 3)
School Master Plan Voter Initiative
Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. on AOC 2 (Cox 16 or LUS 4)
City-Parish Council Districts 1 and 3
Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m. on AOC 2 (Cox 16 or LUS 4)
City-Parish President/Mayor (Scheduled to premiere on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. on AOC 2)
Friday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m. on AOC 1 (Cox 15 or LUS 3)
Wrap-Conversation: Debate discussion and endorsements (Scheduled to premiere on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. on AOC 2)
Friday, Sept. 30, at 6:30 p.m. on AOC 1 (Cox 15 or LUS 3)
For more information about scheduling political programming on AOC Community, go to www.aocinc.org, email email@example.com or call 232-4434.
09/15/2011 10:27 PM by Maddie Garrett
Political debates have now become the topic of debate in Acadiana, as two incumbents so far haven't attended the events at Acadiana Open Channel, put on by Acadiana Progressives and the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee.
Incumbent State Representative Ricky Hardy (D-Lafayette) was expected to attend the first night of debates, but ended up not going. He said he never gave a final confirmation to organizers.
"It was, in my opinion, it was a set up. Because of the fact that I exposed corruption within the Lafayette Housing Authority and one of the persons that was on the panel was part of the alleged corruption at the Housing Authority," explained Hardy.
That panelist is Porsha Evans. But debate organizer Stephen Handwerk said Hardy should have told them about the conflict ahead of time so someone else could have taken her place on the panel.
"Why didn't he or any of his people, mention this to us? It would have been so easy," replied Handwerk.
Incumbent State Senator Elbert Guillory (D- LA District 24) also didn't make it to his debate on Wednesday. But Handwerk said they knew he wouldn't be able to attend because of a previously scheduled fundraiser.
"He told us right from the start that he had another item scheduled in his calendar when he first contacted us about a week ago," said Handwerk.
Guillory confirmed that he tried to make it to the debates, but couldn't fit it in with his schedule. He said he wishes he could have been there.
"I don't know mind walking into the lion's den. I have a record to run on, as long as I can put my issues before the people I'm fine," said Guillory.
Hardy on the other hand, said he has no regrets about his decision, saying his record speaks for itself.
"What is there to debate? When in fact I can stand behind a proven track record, a list of accomplishments," said Hardy.
Incumbent for Lafayette City-Parish President, Joey Durel, still hasn't confirmed if he will be able to attend his debate next week, which will air on AOC2 starting at six o'clock on Thursday evening.
09/13/2011 10:26 PM by Maddie Garrett
Campaign season is here and candidates have hit the ground running. Acadiana's Open Channel kicked off this election period with the first live debate to be broadcast, which started at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Six candidates had 90 seconds per question to make their opinions heard. Tuesday's debate included House District 39 candidates Stephen Ortego and Don Menard, House District 42 candidates Jack Montoucet and Anthony Emmons and House District 44 candidates Vincent Pierre and Rochelle Jones, incumbent Ricky Hardy did not attend.
"This is so exciting, it's really wonderful to have both democrats and republicans here as part Acadiana Porgressives debates," said producer Robert J. Wilson.
Acadiana Progressives and Lafayette Democrats put on Tuesday's debates. AOC made it possible by handling the technology and providing the airwaves.
"I refer to us as sort of the canary in the coal mine, if you don't get these voices out you're never really going to know what's going on," said Ed Bowie, AOC Executive Director.
Questions were drawn up by a committee put together by Acadiana Progressives and Lafayette Democrats, and some questions came from voters.
"It's going to give them an opportunity to hear from people that maybe they haven't heard from quite yet, so we're looking forward to presenting a great opportunity for information," said Wilson.
And this was just the first of a series of political debates scheduled over the next two weeks. And if you miss a live debate, AOC will rebroadcast them the next day.
The following schedule will air on AOC 2 (Cox Channel 16 and LUS Channel 4.)
Wednesday, at 6:00 pm, candidates for House District 96 Terry Landry, Vincent Alexander, Nary Smith, Raymond "Shoe Do" Lewis will attend. Eric Martin and Richard Potier have not yet confirmed attendance.
Wednesday, 7:00 pm, candidates for Senate District 24 Don Cravins Sr., and Kelly J Scott will debate. Elbert Guillory has not yet confirmed attendance.
Thursday, at 6:00 pm, the School Master Plan Voter Initiative is scheduled to air, but is unconfirmed at this time.
Thursday, at 7:00 pm, the City Parish Council Candidates in Districts 1 & 3 Kevin Naquin, Jay Caldwell, Brandon Shelvin and Lloyd Rochon have been invited, but have not yet confirmed attendance.
Next week, on Thursday September 22nd at 6:00 pm Mike Stagg will appear and Joey Durel is scheduled to appear but has not confirmed attendance to debate for the position of Lafayette Parish President.
Then, Thursday at 7:00 pm, on Wrap Up Conversation, State Senator Butch Gautreaux, Porsha Evans, and Stephen Handwerk will discuss the debates and issue endorsements.
09/13/2011 10:03 AM by Kate Durio
Acadiana Open Channel is hosting a series of political debates featuring candidates in Acadiana. The debates start tonight at 6pm on AOC 2 which can be found on Cox Channel 16 and LUS Channel 4.
Tonight will feature Stephen Ortego and Don Menard who are competing for the House District 39 and Jack Montoucet and Anthony Emmons who are competing for House District 42.
Then at 7pm, Vincent Pierre, Rickey Hardy and Rochelle Jones for House District 44.
Tomorrow at 6pm, candidates for House District 96, which is the newly created district will feature Terry Landry, Vincent Alexander, Nary Smith, Raymond "Shoe Do" Lewis. Eric Martin and Richard Potier have not yet confirmed attendance.
At 7 pm, Candidates for Senate District 24 Don Cravins Sr., and Kelly J Scott will debate. Elbert Guillory has not yet confirmed attendance.
Thursday, at 6pm, the School Master Plan Voter Initiative is scheduled to air, but is unconfirmed at this time.
Thursday, at 7pm, the City Parish Council Candidates in Districts 1 & 3 Susannah Malbreaux, Kevin Naquin, Jay Caldwell, Brandon Shelvin and Lloyd Rochon have been invited, but have not yet confirmed attendance.
Next week, on Thursday September 22nd at 6pm Mike Stagg will appear and Joey Durel is scheduled to appear but he has not confirmed attendance to debate for the position of Lafayette Parish President.
Then, Thursday at 7pm, on Wrap Up Conversation, State Senator Butch Gautreaux, Porsha Evans, and Stephen Handwerk will discuss the debates and issue endorsements.