Somehow, it just doesnít set well with me.

Wednesday the parish council voted to create a position of a liaison to state government in an effort to garner more state funding and other such amenities from Baton Rouge.

Other parishes apparently do it and it works for them. I wouldnít mind at all if parish government found themselves in possession of some extra money to, say, fix up the Blevinís Building to acceptable standards, or do something constructive on the west end of the parish.

In fact, it might have all gone smoothly and without comment if the parish president hadnít slipped up by referring to "Mr. Smith" as the person whoís apparently already been handpicked for the job.

For the record, I have no real problem with former State Rep. Jack Smith. Well, once I brought up a matter that was very important to me Ė thatís once in his entire 20 years in office Ė and he blew me off without a second thought. Of course, you all know how I feel when someone we elect and pay the salary of pulls a stunt like that. But hey, weíll let that slide for now.

But in the end, I donít care who it was, I donít like the idea of handpicking an individual and then creating a government job for them. While it may have been in discussion for a long time before Wednesdayís meeting of the parish council, the sudden appearance of the proposition and quick passage of it was Ö uncomfortable. One of those things that kinda makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

The move bypasses the typical process of due notice and advertising for a position to select from a field of applicants, if any. Chances are, Mr. Smith would still likely be the applicant of choice.

Itís the cramming down the throat that bugs me, and some other council members.

But even though the term "liaison" might not pass muster of ethics regulators who might think itís a fancy-smancy way of saying "lobbyist" letís hope if it does fly, we see some seriously great results. And it better be results that benefit both halves of St. Mary Parish, ya folla?

Certainly the presence of two junior members of the legislature Ė though I donít think Sam Jones is quite as "junior" as Joe Harrison, and Butch Gautreaux is old hat Ė might put St. Mary at a temporary disadvantage. I donít object to the idea of a liaison. But the way this was done just smells like yesterdayís fish.

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Theyíre calling the upcoming Bayou Teche Bear Festival "the best kept secret in Franklin."

While thatís a bit excessive, itís true that many of us hope the excitement kicks up a few notches between now and April 18-19.

The official kickoff was held last night, the Patronís Party, where the royalty was announced along with the new poster, which I hear sold for a disappointing $100, to someone from the other end of the parish. Itís a pity folks here in the City of Franklin with a vested interest in the festival and its success couldnít have dug a little deeper in their pockets.

Bayou Teche Bear Festival is one of the five best things we have going for us on this end of the parish, though sometimes you canít get people to take the blinders off long enough to realize that. Itíll be three weeks before the festival kicks off. We all need to throw ourselves behind the organizers and supporters of the festival to make sure this yearís event again exceeds the prior one.

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Why, do you imagine, there are "Welcome to Baldwin" signs on both ends of that town, "Welcome to Morgan City" signs and even "Welcome to St. Joseph" signs, but not a single "Welcome to Franklin" sign to be found?

Does that mean they arenít?

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Rep. Sam Jones told the City Council last week that the overlay of downtown Main Street is definitely set for the immediate future. Thatís very welcome news for all of us who have to drive down that street, with its gauntlet of potholes, cracks and badly-patched seams.

When this project kicks off, I certainly hope the city administration and in particular the Historic District Commission takes great care to monitor demolition and reconstruction to assure we donít lose any more of the old red-brick curbs.

Iím not sure why, everytime a curb was repaired or replaced in the past, concrete was used instead, but we have precious few of those historic brick curbs left, and state contractors might not appreciate the intrinsic value of the feature.

I would hope as much attention is given to safeguarding those curbs as was garnered by the boulevard in recent months.