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6.9.12

Demoting old hands needed to achieve deisrable change


With the departure of another high-level executive from Louisiana State University’s hospital and medical division, that indicates the necessary change in culture is occurring to improve system performance and to have it operate more efficiently.

While the old hands being replaced, first Fred Cerise by the Board of Supervisors and then with his replacement Frank Opelka informing Cerise’s immediate subordinate Roxanne Townsend that he was replacing her choices to head up some system hospitals triggering her resignation, unfortunately experience goes with them that might be useful as the system begins its long-overdue transformation from state-supported provider to quasi-public status and hopefully beyond. Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco indicated as such when she opined about Cerise’s departure that “I think they made a terrible mistake firing Fred Cerise, a man with so much integrity and so much knowledge on how to serve people

No doubt – if you are invested in a government-run health care model for the indigent, as was Blanco and her allies and former appointees Cerise and Townsend. But that is a deviant model among the states, with no other state sharing the charity model foisted upon the state over 75 years ago, and for good reason, as it has produced low outcomes at high cost. And for that same reason it’s not the model that the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration wishes to follow.

5.9.12

Lame remarks need not deter LA from improving vote laws


While generally the comments made by former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial at his party’s national convention have no basis in reality, they illustrate why tighter voting registration requirements are vital to the health of American representative democracy, including in Louisiana.

Morial, who now heads the National Urban League, opined to Democrats that laws requiring certain, positive identification of potential voters were a plot by wild-eyed racists, presumably not Democrats, to bring back “the old Jim Crow.” Then in expressing approval of laws that allow for loopholes, he firmly came down in the camp of those who would subvert democracy because anything but laws mandating strict identification measures with government-supplied, if need be free to recipients, photo identifications cards allow for fraud.

The vanguard states for honesty at the polling place are Indiana and Georgia, which have these requirements. Even without that identification, one can vote provisionally but then shortly after the election must produce it for the vote to count. Other states like Louisiana generally require photo identification but have exceptions granted that easily may be used to cheat.

4.9.12

Changing law good response to lame duck sheriff damage

Scooping up the low-hanging fruit is easy. But new Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington will need to get a lot more ambitious if he is to promote long term cures for what ails the department.

Elected last fall to succeed a retiring Larry Deen, as parish executive offices work in Louisiana, Whittington had to wait over half a year to assume his new post. In the interim, Deen doled out some hefty promotions and pay raises that took a deteriorating fiscal condition born of spendthrift ways and pushed it into deficit spending.

For over a decade, Deen had been ramping up expenditures with an ever-increasing size of his agency as it performed more peripheral functions or others that should have been left to other law enforcement agencies, while its performance stagnated or declined. Eventually, revenues calculated at constant property tax levels weren’t enough so in 2010 he raised collections by announcing a roll forward of millages (sheriffs are the only unitary authority of all local governments so, unlike with other units, they may do this unilaterally).

3.9.12

Obama retracts middle finger, grits teeth and stops by LA


What first seems counterintuitive about the dueling major party presidential candidates’ recent trips to Louisiana becomes perfectly understandable once we remember who and what the parties, candidates, and ideologies involved are.

Following the custom born in the 20th Century, Pres. Barack Obama is visiting the state most of which recently was declared by him as a disaster area from Hurricane Isaac, at the invitation of Gov. Bobby Jindal, days after the storm departed the state even as its effects linger. But expanding upon the custom, days earlier Obama’s Republican candidate for the presidency former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took a brief tour also at Jindal’s invitation.

Indeed, Romney came right after his party’s national convention closed, cancelling a campaign swing through the very competitive state of Virginia to head to wringing-out Louisiana where he will win by a comfortable margin. Meanwhile, Obama said during and right after the natural catastrophe he watched sports on television, and only after word got out that Romney would show up did he commit to coming on by the state, after doing some campaigning in the competitive state of Iowa where he watched some football on TV and scarfed down pizza.

2.9.12

LA faces federal endorsement that puts power above law

Federal District Court Judge Susie Morgan, recently appointed to the bench by Pres. Barack Obama, followed through for her political allies by ignoring the most pertinent constitutional question concerning the succession process determining who will be the next chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Hopefully, more responsible jurisprudence will prevail in the future of this case that pits whether abuse of power or rule of law prevails in the state.

It involves Associate Justice Bernette Johnson, who has sat with the Court since 1994 but did not get elected to it until 2000, after two other members were elected. Constitutionally, the senior most justice in point of service gets to be chief justice, with the current holder of that Kitty Kimball retiring at the end of the year.

The original agreement that allowed Johnson, elected to an appeals court, to make decisions with the Supreme Court, was amended years later to reflect passage of an act of the Legislature (although it did not codify this in statute) that said the judge in this position was to get the “benefits” of Court service “as provided by law,” deemed by Johnson and other special interest allies, ideological fellow-travelers among elected officials, and the Obama Administration through this subsequent act’s explicit mention to include seniority for purposes of determining who sits as chief justice.