49% residential lots vacant in East Biloxi, “squirrel farts”, Commissioner upset USAA breaking wind – and other Saturday news

I’m going to go ahead and call in my power outage to Entergy now because it takes them that long to get out here and fix it when it does go out, which is often, even if a squirrel farts.. but of course they don’t care to fix that problem… but I better not be late paying my bill…

This reader comment on the Clarion Ledger’s story, Snow, freezing rain in weekend forecast for the state, had me ROFLMAO – and definitely disproves the notion that “only boring people talk about the weather”.

While Entergy may not “care to fix” the problem of “squirrel fart” power outages, the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio wants to know why 44% of East Biloxi still vacant from Katrina:

Nearly half the land in East Biloxi is still vacant more than five years after Hurricane Katrina, according to a survey by the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.

The survey, released Friday, comprised land east of Interstate 110, excluding downtown. It showed 49.5 percent of the residential lots and 44 percent of all property was vacant in 2010.

“The reason people have for not returning is still a mystery,” said Stephen Crim, a community planner with the Design Studio and leader of the survey. “There are all sorts of anecdotal reasons we can cite to explain why vacancy persists,” he said. Some property owners may be waiting for a casino or other developer to buy the land at a premium, he said. The national real estate crash and recession are other factors, as is the cost of wind insurance near the Coast…

The good folk at the Design Studio could find a big clue to the mystery in Insurance commissioner wants answers from USAA, Anita Lee’s follow-up story on USAA’s decision to drop wind coverage for “at least 1,150 Coast policyholders”.

Despite years of MID assuring the post-Katrina Legislature proposed policyholder protection legislation wasn’t needed, Lee reports “there is no legal requirement for companies to contact the department for this type of action”. Oops! Would it pass if advocates renamed their oft failed proposal a “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights”? Continue reading “49% residential lots vacant in East Biloxi, “squirrel farts”, Commissioner upset USAA breaking wind – and other Saturday news”

“Well, kiss my assessor” – James Gill on the retirement of Lawrence Chehardy

I missed Gill’s column in Wednesday’s Times Picayune (which isn’t all I’ve missed over the holidays) and, then, the spam filter caught the email tip sent by a reader – but no one should miss reading, Assessing a lifetime in Jeff politics:

Lawrence Chehardy’s retirement after 34 years as Jefferson Parish assessor brings to mind the Samuel Johnson crack: “That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea, and that is a wrong one.”

Chehardy’s wrong idea — that the homestead exemption should not only be retained but periodically raised — certainly resonated with the voters, however. It did not originate with him but came with the job, which he landed 34 years ago in a triumph of nepotism over democracy.

Daddy, the wildly popular long-term incumbent, drew no challengers when he came up for re-election until his 22-year-old law-student son turned up clutching his qualification papers with minutes to spare.

The mantle was passed seamlessly. Chehardy pere had appropriated the homestead exemption as his signature issue and parlayed it into a position atop the parish’s political establishment, where he and then-District Attorney John Mamoulides stuffed the courts with their protégés.

The elder Chehardy himself waltzed into a seat on the state court of appeal, while his heir took over as the exemption’s most vocal proponent, winning re-election hands down ever since.

The most bizarre aspect of the story is Continue reading ““Well, kiss my assessor” – James Gill on the retirement of Lawrence Chehardy”