Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff
Disengaged parents are frequently cited as an impediment to the success of public education statewide, and some parents' inability or refusal to pay...
It's been one hurdle after another for Lafayette Utilities System's Fiber to the premise program. From overcoming resistance within the community...
So much for ushering in a new age of putting science ahead of ideology. The Obama administration's...
**Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff
Disengaged parents are frequently cited as an impediment to the success of public education statewide, and some parents' inability or refusal to pay their children's meal costs is clearly exacerbating the red in already stressed budgets. But some school systems' policy of denying meals to the children of delinquent payers has never sat well in our collective belly. A bill by state Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, that would prohibit the "no soup for you" policy cleared the Senate Education Committee last week after sailing through the House 93-0 in May. HB 1141 would require a notification process for school systems to follow, a "substantial and nutritious snack" for children whose parents are behind on payments and, after three violations, referral to the state Office of Community Services. Lafayette Parish has used the policy in the past, and our local school system's student/parent handbook notes that regulations "do not prohibit a school system from denying a meal to a student for failure to pay for meals." Figuring out how to get parents to pay what they owe for their children's meals is essential, especially in this period of declining sales tax revenue. In many cases parents who would qualify for free or reduced meals have simply failed to fill out proper paper work. Regardless, punishing children for the shortcomings of their parents isn't the proper course.
It's been one hurdle after another for Lafayette Utilities System's Fiber to the premise program. From overcoming resistance within the community to winning at the ballot box to beating back lawsuits from private corporations, who knew pumping cable TV, Internet and phone service into homes would be such a formidable task? The depth of the forces working against our public utility became even clearer last week when LUS filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against the National Cable Television Cooperative, which acts as the buying agent for more than 1,000 cable operators in negotiating deals with programming channels. The NCTC's board of directors is also named a defendant. LUS' complaint seeks not only membership in NCTC, but damages as well, estimating it will pay nearly $1 million more for programming by the end of 2011 if it is still shut out of the co-op. The NCTC's biggest member is Cox Communications, LUS' main competitor in the Lafayette market. LUS accuses Cox of influencing the NCTC's blackballing of LUS. Cox calls the complaint "meritless." It could take months for the FCC to address the complaint.
So much for ushering in a new age of putting science ahead of ideology. The Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling - a reaction to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf - was supposed to be about sound policy based on the advice of experts to address the safety of deepwater drilling. As it turns out, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at least ignored the advice of a majority of the experts consulted in imposing the moratorium and at worst misrepresented their collective opinion, which was to put a hold on new drilling projects in depths of 1,000 feet or more, not the blanket moratorium on all deepwater drilling that currently threatens to wreck Louisiana's economy. The Louisiana Department of Economic Development estimates the moratorium will cost the state up to 6,000 jobs in just the first three weeks. It's time to rethink this thing, and fast.