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28.7.11

Messy process best reflected people's remap will

Shreveport and Bossier City had a lot churning around them concerning redistricting, but in the end the messy process provided the best outcome.

While legislative maps for every other major metropolitan area in the state underwent rather substantial changes, with almost all either gaining or losing districts and of those that didn’t having split them in dramatically new ways, this metropolitan area remained an island of calm. A few precincts moved around and, if anything, Bossier City’s House districting looks much more compact and contiguous.

Things turned out this in part because only three vacancies were opening, one of which is Senate District 37 being sought by term-limited House District 8 Republican state Rep. Jane Smith, and in part because of the small amount of population change area-wide and geography hemming in to the west and north. This gave incumbents plenty of incentive to protect their turf and limited spatial options.

27.7.11

School results beg for fundamental LA education change

The good news is Louisiana elementary and secondary schools continue to improve their performances, leading to better educated students and better served taxpayers. The bad news is the state at this point considers a school where as few as 39 percent of its students achieving at grade-level is a successful school.

Those were the big lessons pointed out by the release of the preliminary school accountability data for 2010-11. Reforms instituted 15 years ago continue to bear fruit, as indicated by scores then and now. Under the current standard defining adequate success, 12 years ago two in every five traditional schools (not alternative) would have been categorized as unsuccessful; for this past year, less than one in ten of all (including alternative schools) did not succeed.

But tempering any celebration for progress is the low standard, even if elevated from the past, defining adequacy.

26.7.11

Confused editorializing errs on LA ethics administration

Giving Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover the idea to police his own illegal campaign affairs is like taking a foundling and dropping it in a wastebasket, as in the past eight months he apparently has done little to clear up reporting problems in his last run for his job. But to rectify the situation and discourage others from such inattention, whether intentional, needs proper diagnosis of the situation.

At the end of 2010, the Shreveport Times for reasons unrevealed decided to traipse through Glover’s campaign finance reports from the fall election. It found several irregularities, to which Glover made penitent noises about fixing. Turns out since then he’s done almost nothing to get at the bottom of the presumed oversights, earning him another scolding from the newspaper.


However, the paper editorialized that part of the problem came from changes made in 2008 that “that separated investigative efforts from prosecution of complaints [and] neglected to adequately fund the enforcement staff.” This misunderstands the intent behind the function of the Louisiana Ethics Administration Program, a part of the Department of Civil Service, as well as draws erroneous conclusions about the enforcement efforts of it.

25.7.11

Marionneaux quest depends on Democrats' desperation

It’s a week until August, about a month before qualifying for state office begins, and do Louisiana Democrats know where their gubernatorial candidates are? A sacrificial lamb would be  better than no major candidate at all.

Which is what they’ll get if term-limited state Sen. Rob Marionneaux decides to run. He seems to be giving it until the end of the month, stating that he’ll pony up if, in his words, he can answer affirmatively on all of  “The belief [Gov.] Bobby Jindal could be beaten; That my family is secure in my doing this; The belief I could change the state.”

Going in reverse order, the last would not happen because Marionneaux neatly fits into the eroding state political culture of populism, that government needs vigorous redistribution of wealth from the few to the many because the many have more votes.

24.7.11

Blanco babbles as hypocritically, cluelessly as ever

For anybody who cares about good public policy in Louisiana, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s first major appearance and speech in some time, with her sidelined by health issues that seem to be on the mend, demonstrates how little she is missed from the state’s top policy-making job.

Blanco took to the annual state Democrat fundraiser to complain about cuts in state government, especially in higher education, asserting that her successor Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and new GOP majorities in each legislative chamber were “intent on destroying our state's financial base” and that these reductions produced “carnage … gutting of colleges and universities that are sending higher education into the dark ages.”

Such statements also go to show that besides Blanco having been unsuitable for serving as governor neither would she be a good weight-loss counselor.