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13.8.11

Issues spur, blanket primary retards, party switching

Yes, it is a milestone that registered Democrats in Louisiana no longer comprise a majority of registered voters, and that blacks now comprise a plurality of registered Democrats. But, from published comments about these phenomena (predicted in this space months ago), there appears to be little accurate understanding about why this has happened.

One of my colleagues, and reported also “several political observers,” asserted that the presence of the blanket primary (incorrectly termed an “open” primary in the report) what was helped bring about this state of affairs. In fact, more than anything the ability for voters in a first election to cast ballot for candidate where all run together in all state and local and most federal contests form almost four decades has blunted the conversion of Democrats because the system does not penalize voters registered as Democrats from having influence with Republican partisan decisions.

The most important decision a party can make, and the greatest place where registrants can influence a party’s fortunes, is in selection of a party’s nominees to offices.

11.8.11

Selective enforcement, aided by govt, oppresses

Law exists, among other reasons, to facilitate the treatment of equals equally and unequals unequally. When it does not do that, it ceases to act as law. That’s the heart of the complaint registered by a Bossier City family sued by their homeowners’ association for having a non-compliant sign in their front yard.

(Note that the home-owning couple in question is the aunt and uncle of my niece and nephew. Also, I also own property under a homeowners’ association, although a different one but which has similar kinds of restrictions.)

Timothy and Jodi Burr months ago put a banner of 18 square feet in their front yard in the Gardens of Southgate subdivision in Bossier City, supporting their son Cody, an active-duty Marine in the Middle East.

10.8.11

Corporate welfare law to cost public extra million

When the media are not trying to get their hands into taxpayers’ wallets by using government, they are refusing to step up and take responsibility for their actions that cost the people additional money.

As noted previously, state law requires that state and local governing authorities must choose a publication of certain longevity and frequency as an official journal to publish hard copy of certain documents, and use taxpayer dollars to compensate – even though there is no good reason preventing this notification from being done by Internet-only firms, or just having government do it, such as, for example, at the state level have the Public Service Commission put on its web site all of its minutes. Certainly members of the public would find it much easier to go to the PSC site and find these notices that having to discover out what is the official journal where they live and then scour editions of it to find this information.

Such a revised law could have prevented what appears to be a million-dollar mistake caused by the present law.

9.8.11

Tucker can't get it, disqualifying him from higher office

House Speaker Jim Tucker, wishing to extend his political shelf life has announced he’ll try for the most boring elected job in state government – which also has attracted the most suitors to date – of secretary of state. He hasn’t realized he lost that contest three years ago.

Tucker referred to that moment when he addressed the Legislature’s attempt, driven by him, to pay Louisiana’s part-time legislators a full-time salary (ironically, he as speaker was one of the few already drawing full-time pay). Passing both chambers, Gov. Bobby Jindal, after declarations he would let the Legislature determine its members’ salaries, vetoed it amid strong public outcry for him to do so.

He called that issue a “red herring” and that the only mistake involved making it effective immediately instead of with the next batch of legislators. Which only again demonstrates the poor judgment Tucker has and that he still seems unable to fathom, or at least admit, the fundamentally flawed nature of the entire idea.

8.8.11

Recycled, fresh faces both see chances to win seats

With qualifying less than a month away, perhaps Louisiana has in store for it a return of the living dead – lawmakers sent to their political graves by term limits, now resurfacing in attempts to get back into office. At least a little more fresh meat seems willing to join them, as a few incumbents (perhaps) voluntarily join them. And behind most decisions lay a political story.

A few incumbents actually are taking off because, although they would likely win, they just don’t want to do it any more. State Sen. Buddy Shaw is such an example, as he is 77 and he out-campaigned others, some half his age, to win last time. But Buddy has done his service and now can take a break.

Others leave (even as they do not publicly announce this) because they don’t know that they could win again, mainly because of redistricting.

7.8.11

LA education establishment discomfited by latest data

As the emphasis in Louisiana education continues migrating to no child left behind from no government employee left behind, reformers continue to get good news about their efforts – which is bad news to entrenched interests in the education establishment.

Recent data show public education in New Orleans, once considered a statewide if not national basket case, since reform began in the later 1990s not only has improved for lower-performing groups more quickly than in the rest of the state, but that the improvement has accelerated since institution of post-Hurricane Katrina reforms marked by increasing reliance on charter schools. These results adhere to field research that shows in Orleans charter schools outperforming traditional schools.

While this news no doubt comes reassuringly to the families whose children are receiving this education, it bodes ill for critics invested in the current command-and-control, government monopoly system of education. Some who have tried, unsuccessfully, to disparage the research demonstrating greater efficiency from the charter model in Orleans, while others who have questioned the completeness of the data find their arguments weakened by the comprehensiveness of data in the latest release.

With the data against those who argue for adequacy of the current system that places little emphasis on school and teacher accountability,