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Edwards finds he can't give orders as in Army

If he has any hope to drive Louisiana’s policy agenda, Gov. John Bel Edwards eventually has to figure out that he’s not in the Army any more.

The Democrat seemed to receive a surprise at the close of last week when his handpicked choice for the District 2 Public Service Commission full term, Damon Baldone, registered for that race as a Republican. Recently, when former commissioner Scott Angelle took a job working for the Pres. Donald Trump Administration, Edwards with praise appointed Baldone to serve in the interim.

Baldone sat a decade in the Legislature and, make no mistake, according to his Louisiana Legislature Log voting scores from 2004-11 he fit the profile of a Democrat, the label he claimed throughout his tenure. Where 0 marks a maximal liberal/populist set of preferences on a scale of 100, he had an average of 41, although his views seemed to moderate as the years passed. His first full term he averaged almost 34 but bumped up to 47.5 in his last term. His last year saw him with a 65, more than double the score of the lowest House of Representatives scorer from that year – Edwards.


Dynamics argue for CSA objects to stay in place

The dust has settled in New Orleans, with minor dustups flaring in Shreveport, Alexandria, Lafayette, and Lake Charles. And it seems who’s depicted and how many people live around there matters when it comes to controversy stoked over Confederate monuments.

New Orleans served as ground zero for the displacement of these historical objects, with the dispatching of a pair of items listed on the National Register of Historical Places and a couple of others. Shreveport has seen lengthy discussion of another Register object’s fate, with some decision – even if to punt on the issue – coming soon. Within the past couple of years, calls to remove statuary in Alexandria, Lafayette and Lake Charles went unheeded.

So, despite all the publicity surrounding the New Orleans uprootings, outside of there almost nothing has changed, with these objects still holding forth on public property. And from this we can understand why what happened in New Orleans did, with next to no replication elsewhere in Louisiana.


Caddo must retain courthouse monument to CSA

It was one thing to remove the (Third) Confederate (Battle) flag from the environs of the monument in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse. It’s another thing entirely to move the monument itself.

Earlier this month, after a round of hearings a citizens advisory committee probing the question of whether to evict the statuary commemorating “The Lost Cause” reached a strange pseudo-climax. After a document recommended its removal circulated prior to the meeting announcing that as its decision, the committee postponed the actual gathering because of the absence of one member even though it had a quorum to proceed.

This seemed to reflect a struggle among members as to what to recommend mirroring the fate of the written product. Apparently, mimicking the most contentious and significant U.S. Supreme Court decisions, multiple drafts, all with the possibility of catching majority assent to become the final ruling, circulated among members almost up to the point of the meeting’s convening.


Evidence supports STP fire district consolidation

The controversy that flares again over consolidation of St. Tammany Parish fire districts echoes another contentious issue in local government: whether school districts should fragment, as once discussed in Caddo Parish and continues on the agenda in East Baton Rouge Parish. Reviewing both debates points to proper resolution of the issue the parish faces.

St. Tammany has 13 different districts devoted to fire protection, including Covington’s department. A few years ago, consultants delivered a plan to merge the parish’s districts eventually into three. Recently revived, this brought up arguments relevant to an idea that floated around Caddo Parish a few years ago to separate the areas outside of Shreveport into a district, as well as reminding of the saga of the past several years where people in most of the unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge have attempted to create their own district, even going so far as trying to form a municipality to enhance that effort

Special districts such as these have differing aspects that argue for or against separation or consolidation. Much research has focused on school districts in light of the tremendous consolidation undergone by these occurring in less than a century, cutting the number of districts by nearly 90 percent. Those efforts produced a mixed bag.