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20.9.18

Campbell finds way to mitigate past controversies

Louisiana District 5 Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell reversed what they might believe around the National Football League: the best defense is a good offense.

Yesterday, Campbell led the charge of his fellow commissioners against alleged extravagance practiced by board members and employees of electric cooperatives. The PSC regulates these ten customer-owned nonprofits that provide power mainly in rural areas across the states.

The PSC reviewed rates and granted some increases, but only after receiving information about their finances. Some coops paid out a large portion of their retained earnings to board members, whose roles are supposed to be part-time, and in high salaries to their executives.

19.9.18

Poll suggests electoral peril for LA govt elites

A recent poll of upcoming statewide elections provides one surprise and two grimmer confirmations.

The Hayride website commissioned a survey on a variety of issues and contests, including this fall’s secretary of state contest and next year’s governor and lieutenant governor races. It was done over two nights last week with 1,615 likely voters responding.

MacAoidh has reviewed the results thoroughly here, but some points need amplification. While Republican incumbent Kyle Ardoin expectedly leads in an SOS field at 13 percent with Democrat former SOS administrator Renee Free expectedly running second at 10 percent with about half the respondents expectedly undecided, the surprise comes in the form of (tied for) third placing GOP Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud at 8 percent.

18.9.18

NW LA controversies call for prudence

In north Louisiana it’s a different arena, but the same questionable dynamic, regarding battles over display of religious belief in the public schools into which Republican state Sen. Ryan Gatti has thrust himself.

For a couple of years the Bossier Parish School Board has battled a lawsuit that the district allows impermissible transmission of religious messages. It steadily closed in on trying to settle the case where it would admit fault and mandate changes of practices concerning a case that consumed taxpayer resources with no real chance of winning.

However, that all appeared to change last week, over a related incident. A local business by the name of Christ Fit Gym had paid for a sponsorship logo, which also contained a Biblical reference, on the Benton High School football field. In fact, it had done so the previous year without incident.

17.9.18

Court evolution prompts confirmation histrionics

Constitution Day is a good time to review the evolution of the U.S. Supreme Court’s place in American government, as illustrated by remarks made by Republican Sen. John Kennedy.

Louisiana’s junior senator appeared on Fox News Channel yesterday to offer his assessment of the Judge Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee vetting the promotion of Kavanaugh from the appellate court level to the Supreme Court, Kennedy offered as good as a summation as anybody: “an intergalactic freak show,” adding that many Americans watching the spectacle would think “Congress has hit rock bottom and started to dig.”

Perhaps Kennedy’s sense of valor made him obscure the real reason why people might think so: antics by his Democrat colleagues that, during the hearings, ranged from absurd fakery to absolute genuine fictional political theater. One might expect such posturing from individuals starting presidential campaigns who realize they cannot win on the actual issues so either must manufacture fake ones or distract from their agendas that lose on the merits.

13.9.18

LA admissions exceptions need monitoring

While recent publicity about Louisiana State University’s Baton Rouge campus lowering its admissions standards has caught people’s attention, state universities doing this neither is new nor may end with LSU.

LSU announced it would institute holistic admissions, or removing fixed standardized test score minimum requirements, in favor of adding in essays, recommendations, and potentially other inputs to make a decision on admission. Designated as a “flagship” university according to the Board of Regents, most students don’t receive consideration unless they score at least a 25 on the American College Test, although in some circumstances that score can be as low as 22.

The institution can do this because it set its own standards prior to the creation of the three-tiered categorization system first implemented in 1990. The Regents wanted to give each level its own distinct mission that would suit best the needs of students at varying levels of development.

12.9.18

Law correctly discourages totalitarian impulses

Louisiana environmentalist tinpot totalitarians got a taste of their own aggressive medicine, and they didn’t like it.

Such individuals, operating through a group called L'eau Est La Vie Camp, have run afoul of a new law that, under felony penalties, prevents interference with construction and operation of pipelines. Utilizing the new statute, authorities have arrested a baker’s dozen trying to obstruct building of the Bayou Bridge pipeline.

Along the way, some of those arrested may have encountered government overreach. Some arrests, while legal, appear to have exceeded a state mandate for personnel use, which caused the state to withdraw off-duty law enforcement officials working on pipeline security. Others arrests may have occurred on land where questions have arisen about whether the builders have legal rights-of-way, which the courts may have to sort out.

11.9.18

LA tax relief must precede hiking teacher salaries

Political campaigning for elections later in the year generally picks up after Labor Day. But, regardless of impending 2018 contests, it appears some Louisiana politicians have decided to beat the rush for 2019 and start more than a year out.

In the case of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, that’s an understatement. Edwards has run a perpetual campaign that never stopped after his 2015 win. Trust him to take an issue no matter how unrelated to his political fortunes and find a way to appropriate it to achieve his next goal, in this case reelection.

Several states have launched investigations into alleged coverups of patterns of abuse by Catholic priests and others associated with the Church. In Louisiana, Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, in response to queries, said his office did not have the authority to do such a thing until it received a criminal complaint forwarded by a local law enforcement agency.

10.9.18

Kenner correct to protest against narcissism

Why shouldn’t a local government just do it to strike a blow against a culture of narcissism?

Last week, in a move that doesn’t appear to have its origins in publicity-seeking, Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn dispersed a memo to donors of apparel and equipment for the city to use in parks and recreation. It requires city approval of such items and bans outright anything from Nike.

While the letter doesn’t mention the event specifically, recently the company started a marketing campaign honoring the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan. This featured one of its representatives for the next several years, who will receive a reported tens of millions of dollars million for his trouble: Colin Kaepernick, an ex-professional football quarterback known for having one good season and a penchant for using the pregame playing of the National Anthem as a prop to air personal grievances against his country’s policies and political system.