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13.11.14

Despite electoral result, Maness political future dim

Defeated Republican Senate candidate Rob Maness apparently on his terms endorsed Rep. Bill Cassidy for that office. Which leads to the question of whether he really got anything politically out of that as it relates to any elective future he might have.



Despite almost immediately after it became clear that he would not advance to the Dec. 6 runoff that will feature Republican Cassidy and Democrat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu he said he would endorse Cassidy in short order, it was not until six days later that Maness actually did so. Whether he held out the endorsement in exchange for being given a prominent place at or even putting on a “unity” event where he delivered it is unknown. However, that he did not endorse immediately suggests some kind of bargaining went on.



That was a wasting asset of sorts for Maness if he expected to have any future political career, for the longer he held out, the more Republicans would suspect his interests in running for office has little to do with party-building and assisting with implementation of the Republican agenda. The more quickly he bestowed his imprimatur, the more favorably the majority of Republican activists who doubted his commitment to the party’s fielding winning candidates – after all, his presence in this one cost Cassidy an outright win – would come around to embracing him as a future stalwart in office-seeking endeavors, if not becoming a part of the state GOP’s activist network.

12.11.14

UNO political science Ph.D. program worth keeping


We interrupt an important election season and therefore also a steadily-building backlog of local and state policy issues that deserve (and will get) discussion to bring you what may seem trivial to many, but which is near and dear to my heart: the University of New Orleans looks to want to move forward with the elimination of its doctoral degree in political science. On the whole, there are better alternatives that should be pursued.



It’s hard to blame UNO, battered as it has been by the aftermath of the hurricane disaster of 2005. Not only the considerable physical damage done to the campus that prevented holding traditionally-delivered classes for months and cost so much to repair that siphons money still, but also and worse were the demographic changes that sapped enrollment. UNO was designed explicitly to serve as an urban university geared towards non-traditional students, and when that market became somewhat hollowed by the disaster, enrollment tumbled and today is barely half of where it was a decade ago, exacerbated by the ongoing effort to right-size the overbuilt higher education sector in Louisiana, which shifted more revenue-raising to tuition rather than from taxpayers, making enrollment an even bigger factor in funding.



As a result, the school engaged in a self-study to determine which programs to retain or to restructure in order to bring costs more in line with identifiable revenue generating activities. That report has been issued, with the president Peter Fos to deliver the final recommendations to the University of Louisiana System in December. A couple of dozen programs are recommended to be reconfigured, and a few eliminated.

11.11.14

McAllister leaves as he represented, with buffoonery

Thus ends ignominiously Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District’s year-long infatuation with Rep. Vance McAllister, although he parted company with his constituents through one more demonstration of the insufferable ego that was his downfall.



In remarks given after it was painfully clear he would not return to Congress, finishing a distant fourth last week in his reelection bid behind Monroe Democrat Mayor Jamie Mayo and Republican Dr. Ralph Abraham, he immediately offered his services to both to instruct them in the ways of Washington, as well as to vet them in order to compete for his endorsement.



Which should carry about as much weight as North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s endorsement of the video game about his exploits “Glorious Leader.” If Abraham is not laughing at the hubris of the incumbent who carried 11 percent of the vote, this low total caused by his throwing away of a secure seat in getting caught playing tongue hockey with a married staffer not his wife and who then reneged on a promise not to run again, in saying Abraham should get his stamp of approval, Abraham should be guffawing at his advice that Washington was dysfunctional unless there were elected “real people with common sense.” Like the guy who as soon as he gets elected cheats on his wife, right?

10.11.14

Vote that removes Shreveporters' taxing discretion on tap

OK, the good news is Shreveport got through 15 ballot items in recent conducted election, including one that would have raised hotel and campground taxes by two percent of their value that got a richly-deserved rejection. The bad news is, a more serious and as unnecessary tax increase is coming up for deliberation in two years.



In this spring's legislative session, HB 1097 by state Rep. Barbara Norton originally would have made permanent by state law a quarter-cent sales and use tax that the city is allowed to charge above and beyond constitutional and statutory limits to the city’s rate. This tax hike initially came in 2003, when the city has concerns that it lacked resources to supplement funding for fire and police protection faced with a greater appreciation of threats from terrorism in the wake of the 9/11/2001 disasters. With no discussion the Shreveport City Council unanimously approved of a resolution supporting this bill.



R.S. 47:338.16 required that after the initial four-year period that it could be renewed by the citizenry for a period of six years, and thereafter for five-year terms. These renewals having occurred successfully and overwhelmingly twice (and in fact the city was so confident of the last election it appeared on the ballot less than a month prior to expiration), it’s now scheduled to expire at the end of 2017.