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Regents should (mostly) hold line on admissions

To understand better the poor judgment Louisiana State University Baton Rouge used in relaxing its admission standards, it’s helpful to understand the context of university admissions and concerning those students granted exceptions – a task the Louisiana Board of Regents will undertake.

First, clearly LSU violated Regents’ policy, which states that only four percent of admitted students could come in as exceptions. LSU reported the class of 2018, judged by the surreptitiously relaxed standards that did not automatically reject those with an American College Test score of 22 and a grade point average of 3.0/4.0 and 19 core hours, contained nearly twice that proportion of exceptions.

The Regents have launched audits of admissions in all senior institutions, where they will find LSU’s transgression. Then they may choose whether to penalize LSU or to accede by adjusting downwards the standards.


Funding, privatization would fix NO water woes

Failing infrastructure. Common system breakdowns. Design and implementation mistakes. Inability to maintain a workforce. Gross overbilling. Gross underbilling. Failure to enforce customer payment. Administrative follies. It all should add up to privatization for the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. The only problem is ….

By now, the city’s public water provider and drainer has become a joke. Widespread publicity over a number of issues has revealed an extraordinary range of incompetence:


Edwards draws first, perhaps significant, foe

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards drew his first opponent today – certainly not the last, but probably not the winner despite some deep pockets.

Republican Businessman Eddie Rispone filed ethics reports that will allow him to raise money for next year’s contest. Not that he’ll need to haul in some bucks anytime soon, as he says he already has $5 million bankrolled for the effort.

Rispone has helped substantially Republican and conservative causes throughout the years, and recently founded a heretofore low-key effort to counter the Alinskyite Together Baton Rouge, but this represents his first foray for elected office. He eventually will further explain his reasons for running, but for now simply notes that “we can do better” than Edwards.


Regents must force LSU off declining path

In ratifying unanimously Louisiana State University Baton Rouge’s decision to lower admission standards, the LSU Board of Supervisors showed both tone deafness and disingenuousness.

Last year, LSU surreptitiously altered the state-mandated requirement that, with few exceptions, entering freshmen score at least a 22 on the American College test or its equivalent, arguing that Board of Regents standards permitted dropping that as a hard and fast rule. The Regents set policy but the Supervisors manage LSU System schools.

LSU argues that “holistic” admissions, through the use of other criteria that in its mind justifies admission of students scoring below 22 without any special circumstances, will preserve academic quality. It notes that a number of universities (although most much more highly selective in admissions) have headed in this direction and says the experiment of last year produced a class at or near all-time highest average test scores and grade point averages.


Kenner can enhance park, encourage homeless

While Kenner has abandoned plans to introduce an anti-loitering law, it and other Louisiana municipalities can pursue other means to reduce problems created by vagrancy.

The city council had considered passing an ordinance that would have prohibited “remaining in essentially one location for no obvious reason, to linger, to saunter, to dawdle, to stand around ... or to otherwise spend time idly” in any public place. The effort came in response to complaints about individuals, presumably homeless, lingering around areas of a city park including full-blown camping, who also trundle over to the nearby parish library to use the bathrooms.

However, anti-loitering laws have a high constitutional burden to overcome, compounded by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the related area of panhandling, at least concerning outdoor public spaces. Laws against loitering in indoor public spaces, such as the library under an existing Jefferson Parish statute, have faced a much lower constitutional burden of proof. Simply, such laws typically criminalize way too much potential behavior to withstand constitutional challenge.


Cassidy supplies model against left's bullying

Louisiana’s Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy’s center-left origins have resurfaced, and that’s actually a good thing.

Perennial candidate Rob Maness, who launched his string of defeats by losing to Cassidy for the Senate in 2014, kept telling anybody who would listen that Cassidy was too liberal ideologically. While his voting record in the House of Representatives belied that, others asserted he had a leftist streak in him that certainly he had more than a decade ago.

Cassidy’s Senate tenure has given no reason to believe he acts anything as a conservative, with a lifetime American Conservative Union voting scorecard rating of over 82. But the leftism he once flirted with came out strongly in his actions concerning the nomination of Appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.


St. George opposition disbelieves own rhetoric

That seems to have developed as strategy for special interests trying to stop the incipient city of St. George from coming into being. Currently, an effort taking place in much of southern and eastern East Baton Rouge Parish seeks to make that unincorporated area into that municipality, joining other successful past attempts that created Baker, Central, and Zachary.

A similar try occurred three years ago, over a slightly larger land area. Some shenanigans by the East Baton Parish registrar’s office, taking advantage of ambiguity then existing in state laws regarding incorporation elections, denied bringing the matter to a vote. So, proponents retooled and now go for it again, with a Nov. 27 deadline to collect the necessary number of residential signatures to trigger an election to decide whether St. George may form.

This has caused remobilization of opponents, many of whom don’t live in the area. And, as a recent presentation by a group representing such interests shows, a mixture of shoddy assertions and illogical premises has taken the forefront in their resistance.


Media criticism an American political tradition

Democrat Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has objected to elected officials who “continuously berate the media” as the right of free expression is “enshrined in the First Amendment,” a position both contradictory and, in his case, somewhat hypocritical.

Edwards made these comments on his monthly call-in radio show, in apparent reference to Republican Pres. Donald Trump’s frequent castigation of some national media outlets for the quality of their news stories. No president ever (but perhaps now with technological advancements to make direct public communication easy) has so consistently berated the fourth estate for supposed inadequacies in impartial reporting.

But if Edwards saw anything unique or inconsistent with American political history, then there’s much he doesn’t know. Presidents and other prominent politicians throughout history have criticized the media – and gone beyond just that.