Archive for December, 2010

Higher Ed Roundup – 12/30/10

12/31/2010

Cenla universities hope to ride out 2011 economic storm

College funding in La. leads listing

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Water Meter Question

12/30/2010

There’s more caterwauling from Monroe City Council Chairman Jay Marx today about the water meter issue.

Marx says city back to square one

The city has been in discussions since the early to mid 1990s about the best way to replace the existing system and the aging water meters. City officials said some of the meters are not registering the correct amount of water while other meters are not registering at all.

Has anyone said why no effort has been made to replace the meters that are not registering with something, anything that will record usage? Surely the city’s public works department has access to replacement meters of the style now in use.

Anyone at city hall care to answer that question?

Higer Ed Roundup – 12/29/10

12/29/2010

Our View: Outside look at higher education in Louisiana makes sense

Use eCampus to expand learning

Monroe City Council Rejects Meter Bid

12/28/2010

The Monroe City Council tonight failed to adopt an ordinance that would have approved the hiring of Vanguard Utility Service to install an automatic meter reading (AMR) system for the city’s water distribution complex.

The motion failed on a 2-2 vote, with Jay Marx and Gretchen Ezernack voting yea and Arthur Gilmore and Eddie Clark voting nay.

Earlier, Gilmore had tried to amend the ordinance to select Triton AMI as the contractor. Triton’s price was some $100 thousand less than that of of Vanguard.

That motion also failed 2-2 with Gilmore and Clark voting yea.

The ordinance will be reconsidered at a special call meeting of the council at noon Thursday.

Why We Do What We Do

12/28/2010

Today’s editorial in The (Monroe) News-Star is one of the reasons we do what we do.

Council must meter the facts

Governmental activist Byrd Minter also has raised so many questions about water metering and devoted so much time to studying the system over the years that both newspaper reporters and council members almost hate to see him coming.

In other words, taxpaying citizens who want answers from the government they pay for are malcontents who should just shut up and pay their taxes. The decisions on where and how taxpayer money should be spent are to be left to the public’s betters.

This comes from a newspaper who’s executive editor has a husband on the government payroll at ULM.

We know Byrd Minter – Byrd Minter is a friend of ours and he’s not afraid to confront out-of-control government and ask questions.

In all the coverage the News-Star claims to have done on this issue, has anyone at the newspaper ever asked the simple question of how much citizen’s water bills will increase? City Hall “reporter” Stacy Temple sure hasn’t.

So we here at Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) will continue to ask the hard questions, dig up the campaign finance records, look at the laws – all the stuff the newspapers won’t do because they’re in bed with government.

Our friend Moon Griffon long ago tagged Gannett’s Capital Bureau reporter Mike Hasten as “Deputy Press Secretary for Government.”

Spot on.

Higher Ed Roundup – 12/28/10

12/28/2010

Colleges needed to fill gaps

Monroe Mayor Mayo’s Mailbox Money

12/28/2010

With all the commotion surrounding the City of Monroe and its dysfunctional government, its not a bit too early to check out the campaign finance reports for Mayor Jamie Mayo. There’s an election coming up in early 2012 and campaign finance reports are often the best predictor of how/why things happen when it comes to doing business with government.

See here 2009 contributions

See here 2008 contributions

The first one that jumped out at us was $2,500 from Camp Dresser McKee (CDM), a consulting engineering firm who has done business with Monroe for years.

Here are a few others who have done business with the City of Monroe

Herbert Land Architect, Inc. – $1,000
CWI White Oaks Landfill, LLC – $1,000
Denmon Engineering – $750
The Boles Law Firm – $2,000
X-Perience, Inc. – $250

The next round of annual financial reports should be coming out sometime in February, covering the year 2010.

Big Ol’ Change Order for Monroe Council

12/27/2010

There’s a big ol’ change order on the agenda for the Monroe City Council Tuesday night – reportedly about $1 million for a sports bar at the new Monroe Airport terminal.

This will be change order number 12. We’ve not kept an exact running total of the adders to this project, but this has to put the total near 10% of the original $32 million project amount.

Here is the agenda.

Also to be considered is the water system’s Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) project. Likely it will pass, but if you ask anyone at City Hall how much or if the water bill will increase, they won’t tell you.

Which IS an answer – and you all know what it is.

Higher Ed Roundup – 12/27/10

12/27/2010

2010 bad for La. agencies

Jindal’s sale ideas seem desperate

Our Views: Study selling state assets

Monkey See, Monkey Do

12/26/2010

One of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s more bizarre plans to raise money to help meet Louisiana’s deadhead payroll is to sell off taxpayer assets for immediate cash.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to sell some state-owned assets meets resistance

State Treasurer John Kennedy had it pegged from the get-go.

“A junkie can go sell his television and sell the radio and pay for a fix,” Kennedy said. “But sooner or later … he’s got to face his addiction. I would prefer to have us face our addiction.”

It seems Jindal isn’t the only governor that thinks selling taxpayer assets is a good idea. See today’s The New York Times.

State Poised to Sell Trophy Buildings to Unidentified Investors

As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to decamp from Sacramento on Jan. 3, he has displayed zealous determination to complete what critics say will be among the worst deals the state has ever made: the sale of 11 premier state office complexes to a group of politically connected private investors.

The deal, which includes the San Francisco Civic Center, has been pitched as a way to generate much-needed cash. California would pocket about $1.3 billion after debt is paid off, but would then be a tenant in the same buildings. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the deal would cost taxpayers $6 billion over 35 years.