Hereís a few stones in my passway these days, as the great blues musician Robert Johnson put it.
I note with bemused interest the aborted move by the Franklin City Council to increase the pay of council members and the mayor.
Two ordinances were pulled for technical reasons last night at the councilís June meeting, but will be reintroduced under the proper circumstances, weíre assured.
Council members currently are paid $500 per month and receive a seldom discussed except in low whispers $150 monthly travel and expense allowance. The pulled ordinance would have raised the base salary to $850 per month, and $900 for the mayor pro tempore. It makes no mention of the expense allotment.
If passed, the raise would affect the next duly elected council in 2010.
The other ordinance would have increased the mayorís salary to $65,000. Itís currently $48,000.
Far too often when such matters arise we think in terms of personalities. Heís doing a job, or heís not doing a good job. It should not, however, be about the person in office, the question should be: Does a mayor or councilman in the city of Franklin deserve the amount of money specified? Itís roughly the same, they say, as comparable municipalities Franklinís size.
Think about it. Weíll discuss the matter further when the subject comes up again.
With all the buzz lately about upcoming elections, itís funny that Chitimacha seems to be the most talked about.
In the parish in general, weíve got candidates already putting up signs for state representative. Our former mayor Sam Jonesí familiar green and white placards are popping up all over, city Councilman Kenny Scelfo has been happily planting his own red and white signs across the district. Meanwhile, Berwick contender Allen McElroy is trying to make his name more well-known around the western reaches of St. Mary Parish. Shaping up to be an interesting race, indeed!
I hear theyíre already running mysterious telephone polls, one specifically covering the state senate race, sheriffís race and tax assessorís race in St. Mary Parish, though itís some carefully guarded secret who actually instigated these polls. Sounds like someoneís testing the waters for a challenge to me. And itís only June, with the election four months away yet!
Yet with parish and state elections set for October, the big news has been the runoff for tribal chairman set in July. So big has the news been, in fact, that high-ranking parish government officials have been overheard bragging about who they were pulling for in the race. Savvy politicians generally make sure there are no ears in the room before they make such brash statements, but the tribal member in the group must have gone unrecognized.
Oddly, we are often criticized for our deficiencies in specific areas that remarkably mirror those outside our boundaries. We are told that we are among the top drug hot spots in St. Mary Parish, right up there with Amelia and Four Corners, and shame on us for not taking control of the situation and ousting the ruffians on their ears. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
But tribal politics have drawn curious onlookers, clandestine manipulation and outright tinkering before, so itís nothing new. Itís really a source of bittersweet pride, I guess, that weíre so heartily interesting, busily speculated upon and bitterly criticized. Itís a dang sight better than annihilation, and even invisibility.
I note with great interest as well that many of you kind folks are in agreement with me regarding the fact that now that the impressive improvements at Kemper Williams Park, Atchafalaya Golf Course at Idlewild and the exquisite club house at same are done and open, a reciprocal expenditure of time, energy and funds is overdue in western St. Mary. The city could use about a million for the Center Theater project. Prove that Iím full of baloney about the balance of power in St. Mary Parish, its fulcrum at the Calumet Cut and itís eastern beam end unfettered.