Everything you’re hearing about the recent Lafayette Public Library board meeting has been intentionally skewed to fit an agenda. Well, that, or the so-called journalist who wrote about it wasn’t paying attention. So, here we go. If you want to follow along, print a copy of the meeting agenda and buckle up.
Item 8A: the Kenneth Boudreaux Memorial Library
This will eventually be a free-standing article. At the moment, though, I’m waiting on Library (and Assistant City-Parish) Attorney, Mike Hebert, to get back with us on some items. It’s been a week, but the process takes time.
When I arrived, there were protesters outside waving signs. These signs were prepared by Team Carlee’s United Ballot PAC, being run by Chris Williams. That’s the same folks who sent a mailer into north Lafayette calling Mayor Josh Guillory (and others) racist klansmen. That’ll build some community goodwill, right? Right.
A short account is Library Board member Landon Boudreaux wanted to ensure the north east community receive immediate service. His suggestion was to lease a space so the “underserved” could at least get some kind of library service quickly, while the board continued to work through the construction process. However, the perpetually offended brigade wanted nothing to do with it. They shouted and booed and heckled. The community need for library services is so great that its purported members don’t actually want library service for seven more years. The entire meeting was filled with this kind of circular firing squad logic.
As of this writing, United Ballot PAC hasn’t even filed a statement of organization for 2022 with the Louisiana Board of Ethics. If memory serves, they have about 30 days to file a report after spending money. However, there being no candidate on the ballot may further delay reporting. At some point, though, we’ll see if a construction firm or two had the moxie to donate directly to this effort. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me, judging from the “community’s” demand for a building rather than services.
Item 8B: Protect children by involving parents
This was the one I showed up for. Robert Judge’s policy change would simply seek the approval of a parent or guardian before a child could check out an erotic, sexual book. My public comment was about half-way through the list. The contrast of the two halves could’t have been more stark. The “book banning” crowd spent the first half deflecting the discussion to Stephen King books, or disallowing advanced kids from reading unnamed “above reading level” books. In a word: foolishness. Their narrative changed abruptly after my visit to the lectern.
When it was my turn, I explained that I regretted not reading the book in question the last time I was at a board meeting. Since then, my detractors said I was too straight and square to understand what pornography was. They said it was only the library in my imagination that had sexually explicit books.
Back then, I was appealing the slanted views of the same library bureaucrats who thought a taxpayer funded drag show for three-year-olds was a great idea. In that previous meeting, the “sex rights” mob demanded that children absolutely had a right to access sexually explicit materials. I believe they carried the day last time only because I hadn’t read aloud the material in question (and the majority of the board members hadn’t read it either). So, I opened the book and began to read.
Shock! Disbelief! “ARREST HIM!”
My voice volume seemed a bit higher than normal. That worked out because the reading was met almost immediately with loud outbursts. “I’m glad my granddaughter isn’t here to hear this smut!” “Why aren’t you arresting him?” “YOU’RE A PERVERT!” On and on it went, When my three minutes were up, I sat down and waited.
The other half of the comments, including one from the wife of former LUS Director Andrew Duhon, were a hypocritical mix of disbelief yet unmoved resolve. The remaining speakers attempted to refocus the board on the keywords “book banning.” Mrs. Duhon suggested that perhaps that book I read (that had actually been checked out of the children’s section by a ten-year-old girl) must have been miss-shelved. Therefore, my reading was pointless. Oversight is the parents’ responsibility (exactly Robert Judge’s point), but we shouldn’t change the policy to actually ask the parents. That’d be the same thing as “book banning.” In other words: change nothing, let the kids read the smut, just don’t make us listen to it.
Months earlier, while this same book was being reviewed by the reconsideration committee, Robert Judge asked one of the librarians to read it aloud. You guessed it – she absolutely and adamantly refused. Yet, she voted to keep the book in the kid’s section. How can this be?
The “sex rights” mob really didn’t like the idea of parental oversight. They said they did – but only if parents took the initiative. The misguided sentiment was so bad that “Matty Brockovich” (one of the many fake accounts for “Friends of Drag Queen Story Time” VP, and “sex rights” activist Matthew Humphrey) posted a photo of himself getting arrested for repeatedly yelling at and heckling me during the meeting. No amount of warnings would sink in. With each warning he became even more rowdy and obnoxious. In fact, if someone was trying to get arrested, they couldn’t have done a better job.
When the Sheriff Deputy had finally had enough, he handcuffed Matthew and perp-walked him out of the Library. All through this, the unhinged mob was yelling about banning books. One woman kept saying “table, table, table” and so someone on the board (James Thomas?) made a motion to lay the question on the table. It passed unanimously. So, the item was tabled.
Item 8c: Who gets to decide contemporary community standards?
Another ruckus started when Robert Judge explained that it should not be the job of a bureaucrat to determine contemporary community standards. That, he said, was the sole duty of the democratically elected area representatives and their designees on the library board. So, instead of having the book reconsideration committee made up of two bureaucrats and one board member, his change would make it three board member and no bureaucrats. The room howled.
It was amended a few times along the way. Democratic Party Representative, James Thomas, suggested the committee should be made up of three bureaucrats and two board members. It was seconded by Joan Wingate, but failed to garner the required votes. Dr. David Pitre’s compromise motion of two board members to one bureaucrat won the day. The room was dumbstruck.
This was absolutely a victory for a community that’s been feeling the after effects of an agenda-driven, entrenched library bureaucracy. During his presentation, it was Board President Robert Judge himself that asked Director Danny Gillane if the library offered any variety of commonly-known pornographic material to patrons. Of course the answer was no. He then went on to ask if the computers could be used to view pornography online. The answer, again, was no because the library uses a filter.
Now, thanks to this policy change, if a sexually explicit book finds its way into the children’s section, there’s actually a pretty good chance it could be moved. The nuts want you to think that’s “book banning.” It’s not.
Oh, about that so-called journalist. In her original article, Claire Taylor referred to Citizens for a New Louisiana as a “so-called” government watchdog group. The article was later edited (without an editor’s note or apology) to remove that biased term. I’m leaving it in this article to prove that the internet is forever. Just for fun, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the February 22nd article and the updated version from February 24th.
The other biased language “a book he attempted unsuccessfully to have banned” remains. However, the book I spoke about on Monday night was another, distinct book. That’s been my point to all of this. They might be able to claim one book was an accident. However, I’ve challenged two of about ten such books we’ve found so far. That’s not an oversight. Ten is on purpose.
Library Director Danny Gillane is doing a fine job. He’s new, by the way; replacing former Director Theresa Elberson. It was Elberson and her staff who conjured up the idea to have a taxpayer funded drag show for three-year-olds. Even though Elberson made good her escape in 2021 (you’re welcome), many of her staff remains at the library. Their presence is like a ghost of the previous administration that still haunts the building. While this battle remains protracted, if we remain vigilant, we will continue to win.
Finally, if you really want to read excerpts from the sexually erotic children’s book for yourself, you can do so here.
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Citizens for a New Louisiana is the only organization in Louisiana dedicated to reforming local government. With the help of numerous volunteers we are making some progress. However, there’s much more work we could be doing. Making a difference will take a little more than reading an article every now and then. Your community doesn’t need another spectator. They need someone willing to step onto the field and become a real part of the solution. Will you join us?