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Hypocritical Edwards should change his rhetoric

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards ought to reconsider pitching stones from his glass house.

Last week, at an annual Aspen Institute meeting, Edwards opined along with other of his party’s governors on the state of politics, in particular on the issue of divisiveness. (This same meeting last year Democrat former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu didn’t leave early when his staff implored him to return to the city as it flooded.) His words of wisdom: “Folks are just anxious. We ought not to vilify anyone.”

That’s nice, and surely “anyone” means even those Republicans who may run against him next year for his job. Except he doesn’t see it that way, by his past rhetoric.


Edwards to bill taxpayers for more Medicaid?

More Louisiana politicians are discovering you can’t win when it comes to running the state’s two northern safety-net hospitals – and especially taxpayers.

According to the Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration, in the coming weeks resolution will come to the saga of the state’s University Health hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe. The state appeared poised to switch operators from BRF to Ochsner Health Systems.

Under the gun five years ago to outsource operations of state’s charity hospitals after a congressional decision on Medicaid financing would have wrecked the state budget, the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration quickly had to find private operators for these. Traditional institutional health care providers stepped in – except for north of Alexandria, where only BRF, then known as the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, seemed willing.


Edwards watches politicization of state police

If you thought the Louisiana State Police Commission would help to inspire confidence in the integrity in some actions of members of the Louisiana State Police, think again. Meanwhile, Gov. John Bel Edwards stands by and lets it all happen.

In Louisiana, the State Civil Service Commission governs the affairs of classified employees – those hired and fired according to standard merit standards – except for state police (and cadets). The LSPC does that and essentially mirrors the SCSC in membership – six appointees by congressional district by the governor, from three choices provided by the presidents of state’s private colleges (each assigned to one district), and a current trooper elected by his peers.

Last week, the body drastically reduced punishments meted out to troopers who had violated policies during an official trip last fall. They billed taxpayers for thousands of dollars in improper overtime, which when that information emerged led to the departure of former Superintendent Mike Edmonson.


Edwards ALEC connection part of myth building

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards addressing the American Legislative Exchange Council? That’s not beyond belief upon understanding the requirements of the Edwards myth of centrism.

The group convened its annual meeting in New Orleans yesterday and heard from the governor. At first glance, that may seem odd, for the group’s conservative, good government agenda hardly squares with much of what Edwards has spoken favorably about and has pursued throughout his policy-making career.

Indeed, checking upon Edwards’ score as a legislator and governor on the Louisiana Legislature Log scorecard, as a member of the House of Representatives he averaged about 30 and as governor he has averaged around 47. Higher scores indicate higher congruity with voting for a conservative/reform agenda, while lower scores denote voting fealty to liberal/populist preferences.


LA bishops can clarify death penalty confusion

The death penalty debate has gotten some recent attention in Louisiana, with both Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and his spiritual leaders thrust into it.

Edwards found himself subject to criticism on the subject by Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry. The state’s chief prosecutor removed his office from a lawsuit preventing the state from carrying out executions, saying the governor remained insufficiently committed to resolving the case in a way where the state could resume carrying out capital sentences.

Since 2014, the courts effectively have enjoined the state from doing this, citing its inability to conduct lethal injection in a constitutional manner. State law mandates this as the only method for capital punishment, and Landry faults Edwards both for not doing what’s needed to put the state in a posture to carry this out and failure to back changing the law to add methods of execution. For his part, Edwards brushed this aside as political grandstanding.


Anti-reformers get leg up in Jefferson races

Round III in the reform vs. anti-reform battle for the Jefferson Parish School Board got more interesting last week.

The nine-member body has received much attention over the previous two election cycles. In 2010, tired of lagging student performance, reform interests backed by area business managed to elect a majority.  In the ensuing four years, the board let go of a collective bargaining agreement that hampered change and became much friendlier to policy options such as charter schools, hiring a superintendent to match.

In the interim, the district’s performance improved. Despite that, the empire struck back. With union-affiliated organizations piling hundreds of thousands of dollars into 2014 races, labor won back a majority. Reinstituting collective bargaining followed plus the hiring of a new superintendent without reformist impulses.