Search This Blog

19.1.19

Perkins flubs new approach on garbage

Despite calling himself a modernizing, different kind of chief executive, Shreveport rookie politician Democrat Adrian Perkins flubbed his first big chance to demonstrate that.

Only weeks after taking office, Perkins announced his support for a garbage collection tax. Currently, the city provides the service free for payers of sewerage and water fees, amounts which have seen a large increase over the past several years to fund federal government-ordered updating and improvement. Almost all cities charge separately for basic trash pickup.

That operation has seen a decline in the last few years, first with a significant portion of it sidelined with Bossier City’s decision to decouple from Shreveport in this effort in favor of private provision. More recently, the city has had greater difficulty in keeping the scaled-down enterprise fully staffed because of relatively low wages, with the embarrassment that the departing workers fled to Bossier City’s provider. Worse, with Bossier City changing its providers to one that doesn’t use Shreveport’s landfill, that means a hit of over $1 million annually to city revenues.

17.1.19

Gaines' confused letter insults veterans

I suspect he’s trying to address my remarks, but it’s so hopelessly muddled it’s hard to tell.

A letter to the editor last week in the Baton Rouge Advocate by Democrat state Rep. Randal Gaines stumbled about in trying to defend the recent legal change allowing many felons to vote. I think he filed it as a response to recent my column about how Democrats had bamboozled Republicans into supporting that bad bill, which does nothing to encourage reform of or overall political participation by the felon population, but does give Democrats disproportionately the chance to harvest more votes in elections.

That Gaines, willfully or otherwise, remains ignorant of the literature that shows no link between greater civic involvement and having the right to vote among felons showed clearly in the letter, which falsely alleged that to oppose the law wouldn’t help to prevent recidivism. But he also introduced a new creative reason to make the law acceptable.

15.1.19

Edwards' new pal repeating his strategy

It’s a post-modernist’s delight when a politician can deliver not just one but two levels of hypocrisy.

“Post-modernism” is an academic fad that rejects generally the concept of universalism and more specifically those of objective reality, truth, and reason. The leftist craze to supplant the certainty of one’s biological sex with a self-defined “gender” exemplifies its application to current public policy.

However, it also applies to discourse, when a communicator makes certain charges while at the same time endorsing, if not emulating, the very behavior criticized in that discourse. A recent letter-to-the-editor by Louisiana’s head Democrat, party Chairwoman state Sen. Karen Peterson, illustrates this.

14.1.19

Seabaugh deferral sets speakership course

The withdrawal of state Rep. Alan Seabaugh from consideration for a federal judgeship has both local and statewide ramifications for Louisiana.

Last year, Republican Pres. Donald Trump nominated the GOP’s Seabaugh for a spot on Louisiana’s Western District Court. Perhaps more than any other job in government, lawyers covet such spots as they last for life (during good behavior, which rarely isn’t the case) and place a minimal amount of constraints on their behavior.

But Senate Democrats have tried to slow walk these appointments, infuriated that Trump winning in 2016 gave him the right to make nominations stopping the trend of his predecessor towards placing judges more likely to try to write the law than to adjudicate it. Seabaugh has held on for about a year, but with 2019 elections looming and supposedly months before his name would come up for approval, he had to make a choice. Last year he had cut back in stumping for more ideological legislation that he pursued in the past, in order not to really rock the boat as far as an anticipated confirmation process went. 

11.1.19

Reports highlight needed LA policy reforms

When Louisiana’s legislators start filing bills for the 2019 regular session, those interested in fiscal reform would do well to follow a three-part roadmap laid out by the Pelican Institute.

Its latest study reviews the state’s means of generating revenue. This follows papers dealing with intergovernmental relations and budgeting. Although a complete overhaul along the lines of these efforts would require amending the Constitution, and frankly in ways unlikely to gather the necessary legislative support to present these to voters (which is why the group favors a constitutional convention to carry it all out), statutory changes it suggests would make for improvement.

The tax reform it argues for would produce a flattened, broadened, and largely revenue-neutral code when compared to two different baselines. For individuals, establishing a flat income tax rate of four percent while raising the standard deduction and wiping out some big-ticket exemptions, such as for federal taxes paid and excess itemized deductions, as well as other smaller ones would keep revenues stable while actually shifting more burden onto a small number of higher-income filers. This scenario it offers as a fallback to adjusting deductions further to roll back tax increases made last year.

10.1.19

Landry going two for three helps Louisianans

As opposed to this week, Louisiana Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry had a good last week, with his office winning two cases that protect Louisianans.

Firstly, on behalf of the state Landry prevailed with a challenge to a law forbidding people aged 18 through 20 to dance nearly nude in places licensed to serve booze. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier originally had struck down the law in 2017, which lawmakers had passed to protect younger individuals from sex trafficking. Field research noted that stripping put them at elevated risk to this hazard.

Barbier ruled essentially that the state’s simple changes in law (to passages concerning outlets serving regular content alcoholic beverages, and the same wording in the section detailing service of low-content booze) were “overbroad,” or that the incidental restriction on alleged First Amendment freedoms be no greater than is essential to the furtherance of that interest. In particular, he noted spillover effects to other venues of expression, and recommended small changes to the law to eliminate what he saw as a problem.

8.1.19

Resolution aids speech, community wishes

All’s well that ends well for both drag queens and communities wishing to use government to promote healthy lifestyles for children.

Last year, controversy arose when the Lafayette Public Library scheduled a “Drag Queen Story Time.” Males dressed in drag would read to children as part of a program put on by the library.

When the advertising started, it became abundantly clear that the community didn’t want a government agency backing such an event. Run by board members appointed by local government officials, responding to constituents they pressured the library into revoking the invitation to perform at the main branch, which library officials described as unable to accommodate the anticipated crowd. A subsequent attempt to relocate it to occur on the scheduled date at a nearby community college failed when the institution said it could not guarantee adequate security.

7.1.19

Race hustling degrades historical lesson

It’s a great idea. Too bad race hustlers look set to ruin it.

One of the original child integrators of New Orleans public schools, Leona Tate, is drumming up support to memorialize and educate about that process. She has a plan, through her Leona Tate Foundation for Change, to refurbish the abandoned McDonogh 19 school that she helped to integrate into a museum about the history surrounding that which also will have senior citizen housing and a facility for a local group to conduct workshops.

Therein lies the problem. That group teaming up with Tate’s foundation to bring McDonogh 19 back into new service, termed the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, propagates the myth of “institutional racism,” or that all sectors of society – government, economic, cultural, etc. – have ingrained racism that favors the numerical majority with a “white privilege.”

3.1.19

Lafayette Parish schools didn't do homework

It’s every kid’s dream, but it could turn into adults’ nightmare.

The movement to disregard homework in grading students has won over Lafayette Parish schools. It has alerted teachers that they no longer may grade homework, although they can assign it. “Homework should be practice," according to Kathy Aloisio, director of elementary schools for the district.

Ditching it as an evaluative tool didn’t come from nowhere. In recent years, some research has questioned the usefulness of homework, and some jurisdictions have taken matters a step further than the LPSD by banning its assignment completely. A number of other Louisiana districts have considered excising homework grading and will observe results from that district.