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LaGOP Taking on WBRZ
It's never surprising when Democratic or Republican spin machines fire shrill volleys at one another's candidates, but it's unusual to see a party's attack dogs going after a member of the media. That happened in Baton Rouge last week when the state Republican Party fired off a news release dissing TV station WBRZ for allegedly going easy on new Democratic Congressman Don Cazayoux. The fight erupted after the GOP issued a Web advertisement using portions of a WBRZ interview with Cazayoux about some of his energy votes. Titled, "We're Not Laughing," the ad poked fun at both the congressman and the station, which the GOP says let Cazayoux off easy. In response, the station disavowed any connection to the GOP ad and asked the Republicans to pull it — citing the GOP's "unethical" use of WBRZ's copyrighted video. The Democrats weighed in, praising the station for setting the record straight, which prompted a snarky reply from GOP spokesman Aaron Baer. "Democrats and WBRZ are walking in lockstep to prevent the public from knowing the truth about Don Cazayoux's pitiful record on energy," Baer said in a news release. Baer accused Cazayoux, the Democrats and WBRZ of "all following the same game plan" to "fool voters of the 6th District." The release also accused the station of having a "cuddly" relationship with Louisiana Democrats. The old adage about not picking a fight with people who control the ink and the presses — as well as the airwaves — is about to be put to the test in Red Stick. WBRZ is owned by the same family that owns The Advocate newspaper. — DuBos

 

Bajoie's New Job
The first day of qualifying for candidates found recently retired state Sen. Diana Bajoie in a new job — as director of community relations for the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. LSUHSC Chancellor Dr. Larry Hollier introduced Bajoie (as she stood on the other side of the room) at a press conference last week, announcing the teaching hospital's award of a $10 million competitive grant for cardiovascular research. Ron Gardner, the facility's vice chancellor for administrative, community and security affairs, says Bajoie will join Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in promoting New Orleans to medical conventions post-Katrina. While noting the 31-year legislative veteran's "extremely effective skills" at dealing with elected officials, Gardner suggests Bajoie will be less of a lobbyist for LSUHSC and more of a community outreach specialist. Bajoie handled a number of health-care issues, including funding of the old Charity Hospital, as a state representative (1976-1991) and then as senator (1991-2007). "We won't have to train her," Gardner says. — Johnson

 

Landrieu Will Out-Pace
Kennedy in Campaign Cash If money is the fuel that drives political machines, then incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu still has a full tank. Although the Democrat isn't releasing preliminary numbers, it's likely that she out-raised her main GOP opponent, state Treasurer John Kennedy, since Jan. 1. According to early figures released by Kennedy's campaign, the treasurer raised $1.48 million during the second quarter and has $2.7 million in the bank. In comparison, Landrieu had $4.5 million in her war chest at the end of the first quarter. "We expect to be out-raised this quarter by our opponent — through Election Day, actually," says Lenny Alcivar, Kennedy's press secretary. Kennedy kicked off a weeklong bus tour across Louisiana last week called "Stand Up Louisiana." Events are planned for Kenner, Lafayette, Alexandria, West Monroe, Bossier City, Natchitoches, Rosepine, Lake Charles, Houma and Mandeville. As for when the treasurer might go on TV, the campaign is staying mum. "We're not talking about that right now," Alcivar says. An advance copy of the speech Kennedy will give around the state reveals a theme that likely will be carried over into the campaign's paid media. "If you want to change the Senate, you have to change the senator," Kennedy says. The deadline for filing campaign finance reports from the second quarter is this Tuesday (July 15). — Alford

 

Workforce Money Vetoed
On the page, it reads with a little zing: "Gov. Bobby Jindal has vetoed $750,000 that was dedicated to a "master plan for workforce facility' for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System." Among the reasons the veto led to slack-jawed double takes was Jindal's commitment to "workforce development" during the recent session. In fact, he made it a top priority. Another reason involves the system's critical role in Jindal's plan. LCTCS will be at the forefront of Jindal's initiative because it will be training the targeted workforce and placing people back into the labor market. LCTCS spokesperson Kizzy A. Payton says the money was needed to conduct an analysis of classrooms, buildings and other structures on the state's various campuses. The money is still needed, she says, adding, "We're going to keep working with [the administration] to work something out." The governor, lawmakers and LCTCS are all "still committed to workforce development," Payton adds. — Alford

 

CODOFIL
on the Move Even though CODOFIL recently celebrated its 40th bonne féte, last week represented a first for the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana. Preserving the traditional Cajun dialect and teaching future generations remains a driving force for the state-sponsored advocacy group, but sustaining other cultural aspects of French Louisiana has also become a focus. State Sen. Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, advanced legislation during the recent session to move CODOFIL from the state Department of Education to the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. CODOFIL has been with the education department since 1968 when Michot's father, Louis Michot, was the state superintendent. Since then, the mission of the group has gone from bringing teachers to Louisiana to exploring ways of supporting French-speaking communities. "I think we're finally expanding beyond education," says Dr. David Cheramie, CODOFIL's executive director. "French as a second language is our bread-and-butter, but now we'll be able to get into more of the cultural side of our mission." For more info, visit www.codofil.org. — Alford

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