MARK POPE: Hump-day brings milestones [OPINION]
Hope you had a great weekend. I certainly did. As I looked ahead to the coming week during my weekend “unwind time,” I realized that hump-day, this first full week of August, brings some significant milestones.
Let’s start with our most treasured asset in this great country of ours – our children. That’s right, this Wednesday, August 8, the public school year begins for tens of thousands of public school students. With the start of the school year, nearly everybody in a given community is affected: schedules change for the young students and their parents; morning and afternoon “rush hour” traffic increases significantly; and most important, students must get back to a structured, disciplined schedule of study, research, and recreation in order to strike a balance of mental and physical development. For us adults who are not teachers, we still play a vital role in ensuring that America’s youth are well cared for and receive proper guidance in their formative years. I’m not just speaking of parents, even though loving, caring parents who are fully engaged in their children’s lives is the best insurance policy to having adolescents grow into responsible, moral adults.
Even adults who are not parents play a role in children’s development. For example, consider the discipline which all adults should practice when behind the wheel of an automobile – put away the smart stupid phone – because texting while driving is a horrible example of irresponsible behavior that no child should witness from any adult. So you parents, focus on your school-age children as they start a new school year. Good luck with all the uncertainties that come with being a parent. And since you’re reading this, it is obvious that you are an informed, engaged member of the community, which brings up another milestone that we approach on Wednesday of this week.
Wednesday also marks exactly 90 days until the “mid-term” elections in November: the U.S. House District 3 seat in Louisiana is up for grabs, and incumbent Clay Higgins faces several challengers. Louisiana State Senate District 26 is being vacated by incumbent Jonathan Perry in December; he won a judgeship on the Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Voters throughout Vermilion Parish and in portions of Lafayette, Acadia, and St. Landry Parishes will elect a new senator in District 26. We also elect a new Louisiana Secretary of State, following the resignation of Tom Schedler earlier this year. We will have a run-off election in December for any of the races if necessary. Also in December, voters in Lafayette Parish will vote on whether to accept or reject amendments to the Lafayette City-Parish Government Charter. Yes, it’s a given, the Lafayette C-P Council will vote on Tuesday to put the C-P Charter amendments on the ballot.
The amendments call for splitting city and parish governments, and have a separate five-member city council, and another separate five-member parish council. And have you heard the amendments to the existing charter call for creating a second department for “Planning, Zoning, and Development (PZD).” It would consist of one PZD for the city, and one PZD for the parish. Why, you ask? Based on “Plan Lafayette,” and its companion “Unified Development Code (UDC),” there are some stringent “pie-in-the-sky” regulations for land development in unincorporated Lafayette Parish. The “sustainability crowd,” who is largely responsible for Plan Lafayette and the UDC, abhors single-family housing on large plots of land. They want us to all live in high-density areas, so as to “preserve the environment.” They want us all bicycling around in urban areas and to abandon those nasty, destructive inventions of the 20th Century – automobiles – which are destroying our environment. It’s all such nonsense.
I know, I know . . . I’m just speculating about the expansion of government, as proposed in the City-Parish Charter amendments, but many questions remained unanswered. Have you read Plan Lafayette and the UDC? I have and they’re not pretty. Government overreach to the “Nth Degree.” Oh well, we’ll have to pay attention to local news and talk among ourselves until the December vote on the City-Parish Charter amendments. In the meantime, pay attention and give guidance to our young students who are developing their critical thinking skills in school. We’ll need some logical, clear-thinking individuals to serve in the government in the future.