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30.6.11

Speakership derby can do without disingenuous Greene

So now joining the field – assuming any of them can get reelected – of a couple of Republicans, a Democrat, and an independent for next term’s Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives is a flim-flam man.

That would be state Rep. Hunter Greene, who three months ago didn’t even want to be in the House. Continuing his quest begun in 2008 for a job as an elected official in with full-time pay, the Republican tried to land a job as a family court judge. Problem was, he couldn’t win the election so I guess now the full-time job he wants is House Speaker (the top two officials in each body are paid full-time salaries; everybody else has to make do on $1,400 a month plus a $500 monthly allowance plus a per diem for every day in session or on committee worked plus mileage expenses – in busier years this can approach $30,000, so that’s not bad for a part-time job).

This should be a nonstarter. Not only does Greene have trouble with facts – even when corrected he continues to repeat the same falsehoods – but he also likes to say one thing while working to do another, such as cloaking a stealth future tax increase by refusing to cut taxes and spending in the present.

29.6.11

Further legal action unlikely to stop fall legislative elections

The citizenry and Gov. Bobby Jindal can breathe a sigh of relief, as the U.S. Justice Department did the expected in approving reapportionment plans of both chambers. Now if other forces wish to waste their own resources on prolonging the inevitable, so be it.

Given the jurisprudence, even with political motivations to decrease Republican and conservative voting strength from the Democrat administration of Pres. Barack Obama, the odds were long that the federal government would step in and try to alter the outcome.

27.6.11

If it happens, meet TV's newest reality star ...

I can visualize this now, the new reality series featuring former Gov. Edwin Edwards, appropriately titled, “Silver Zipper: The Real Resurrection” …

EWE walks into Anna’s house. She shoots him a dirty look while silently handing him a stack of messages, some of the ubiquitous phone call kind, others more personalized with the outline on their envelopes of red lips. He saunters into an anteroom and sits down behind an enormous desk flanked by a safe even bigger than his ego. “That Leach sure is a slave driver,” he remarks as the cameras continue to roll, his feeling as if he needs to say something – after all, he is supposed to be the star of this show. “All of that consulting, wait, I mean advising on Democrat, sorry, I mean his business activities, and at minimum wage. At least it won’t be for much longer.”

Cut to some well-dressed men filing through the door. EWE sits as Socrates must have in the good old days, his students standing all around, waiting for profundity to happen.

Shreveport unionization to exacerbate its fiscal problems

The Louisiana Legislature, although tepidly, finally began to address a ticking time bomb this session. That's better than the city of Shreveport, whose elected officials from last year decided to make matters worse. Shreveporters need to understand that relationship unless they blindly want to accept considerable tax increases.

The announcement earlier this year that enough city employees had signaled affirmation for a union presence came as a consequence of the idiocy of the previous City Council to pass an ordinance allowing for unionization. Introduced by former Councilman Calvin Lester, it predictably had the support of the two other black Democrats on the Council at the time, and, inexplicably, lame duck Republican Michael Long while fellow Republican Ron Webb, who had worked for unionized General Motors, found a way to be absent for the vote.

Whether Webb, assured of reelection with no opposition, would have voted for the ordinance is speculative, but Long’s parting gift represented a big Bronx salute to the citizenry.

26.6.11

Hardly ended, myths about legislative session circulate

The 2011 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature hardly has rested in the grave without misinformation about it suddenly sprouting above it. Fortunately, we have this space to keep things accurate for the record.

In summarizing the session, from one interest group we have the proclamation that “There was no new payroll tax on government workers,” which is kind of odd to see since no bill authored offered that. Perhaps its author was making reference to the likes of HB 479 by state Rep. Kirk Talbot that sought to increase the proportion of salary state employees would pay towards their retirement. But that’s not a tax, according to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Further, for some local public safety personnel, the contribution rate did change, even downwards in a few cases.