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LA blanket primary won't go away anytime soon

Louisiana’s blanket primary election system won’t be going away anytime soon because, for now, elites dependent upon it want it.

Officially, it isn’t even a primary at all, with it technically being a nonpartisan general election with a runoff should no candidate receive a simple majority of votes. All candidates regardless of party affiliation (if any) participate. A trio of other states have similar systems, except they are of the “top two” variety where a primary prior to the general election sorts out which two appear in the general election, regardless whether one receives a simple majority in the primary.

Rumblings among state politicians on this issue caught the attention of my colleagues at the Baton Rouge Advocate (I am a contracted to write a weekly opinion column for it), who produced a story about whether the state should change. It has used the blanket primary since 1975, except for all political party and presidential preference primary or caucus elections since then and in 2008 and 2010 a closed primary system for Congress.


Modest proposal to end LA film tax credit waste

Here’s the solution to ameliorating the damage from Louisiana’s porous Motion Picture Investors Tax Credit – defeat Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards for reelection next year.

It’s not that Edwards has proved an impediment to reforming the giveaway, which returns about a quarter of every dollar subsidizing filmmakers, many of whom come from out of state. He might well be, given his past support of the corporate welfare that he reiterated recently in a jaunt to Hollywood. But lawmakers haven’t ever challenged him to do so, only instituting tepid reforms last year.

Instead, it would be the act of keeping him from retaining office. That’s the model that nearly worked in Georgia. Over the weekend a number of Hollywood’s dimmest bulbs called for an industry boycott of the state, since it declared former Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp the winner over Democrat lawmaker Stacey Abrams for governor.


BR citizens disserved by catering to racist myth

This week provides a reminder of how a few Baton Rouge-area politicians and administrators buckled to political correctness reminiscent of the city’ racist past.

During this time, the city has hosted the Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association 2018 Training Conference. The group seeks to educate on a range of issues involving homicides, with the conference covering areas such as cold cases, DNA searches, serial killers, and mass shootings.

However, although having announced the event as one of its centerpieces, the conference canceled a presentation headed by Betty Shelby, now of Oklahoma’s Rogers County Sheriff’s Office. She would have given her perspective on her experience, when with the Tulsa Police Department, of unfortunately mistakenly shooting to death an unarmed man at a traffic stop.


Desisting better serves careers of LA GOP stars

One Louisiana politician made the right call. If the other gets a call, he should desist as well.

National politics churned unusually in the last week and a day. Election results prompted an unwise change in U.S. House of Representatives leadership, and Republican Pres. Donald Trump asked for a received a change of leadership in the Department of Justice.

With the GOP losing its House majority, Rep. Steve Scalise will take on a diminished role in the chamber’s governance, with any real influence over its coming business in the next two years a consequence of his relationship with Trump. This downgrading has led to speculation that Scalise might take a stab at Louisiana’s governorship, which wouldn’t require him to leave his congressional post to run.


LA partisanship still mediated by personalism

Of course a no-party designation costs candidates elections, because voters aren’t fools.

After election results came out, my Baton Rouge Advocate colleagues noted that a seemingly-popular incumbent for a Livingston Parish school board spot, running without a party label, lost to a Republican (although one with vast schools experience). In another school board matchup there, Republican Devin Gregoire defeated a no-party candidate who appeared to do more campaigning, although neither apparently raised or spent enough to have to file a campaign finance report.

This prompted a political consultant based in Baton Rouge to proclaim “The politics of Livingston Parish is changing in that not only the Democratic Party label, any label but the Republican party has become toxic.” While the first part is valid, the second misunderstands the nature of Louisiana politics.


Veterans' Day, 2018

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Easter Sunday, Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Wednesday, Nov. 12 being observed Veterans' Day, I invite you to explore the links connected to this page.


Elections in 2018 bring LA winners and losers

As always, elections bring winners and losers. Relative to struggles for power between different interests, who triumphed and who saw their political fortunes in retreat in Louisiana after this round?

School reform: For several years, those wishing to expand from monopolistic government schools have slowly expanded a majority in East Baton Rouge Parish, while the conflict has flip-flopped between sides in Jefferson Parish, with backers of unions and a more closed system most recently having prevailed.

Tuesday handed victories to reformers. In Baton Rouge, they extended their school board majorities with education administrator Tramelle Howard dumping Kenyetta Nelson-Smith from District 3 and education consultant Dadrius Lanus nearly avoided a runoff against Vereta Lee for District 62 but almost certainly will win the runoff.


Shreveport poised for major immediate break

A couple of high-profile Shreveport incumbents didn’t have a good election day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean new faces and ideas will come on board city government.

One does certainly look headed out the door. Democrat Mayor Ollie Tyler drew a measly 24 percent of the vote, making the runoff but behind Democrat lawyer Adrian Perkins, This constitutes a massive repudiation of Tyler, made more stinging in that voters elevated past her vote total someone half her age with zero political experience and next-to-none at all outside of the military and school. More would rather have a blank slate than her.

These numbers – over three-quarters of the electorate rejecting her and a newcomer leading her by five points in the general election – give her little chance to win the runoff. Only if she absolutely scares voters by pointing out Perkins’ inexperience and less becoming aspects of his commitment to Shreveport, such as he hardly has lived there his adult life and when he voted for himself that marked the first time he ever had voted, can she make voters that already rejected her reject him – but that doesn’t mean they’ll then change their minds about her.