The ego of Public Service
Commissioner Clyde Holloway might be
what brings about the nightmare scenario for state Republicans in the Fifth
Congressional District contest.
That features Rep. Vance McAllister, who invited disgrace
this April when discovered that he was committing marital infidelity with a
staffer/family friend. At first, he said he would not run for reelection under
those circumstances, saying he needed time to repair his family relations and
should concentrate on that. But, lo and behold, in record time he seemed to get
his mind right and his family reconciled and suddenly by the beginning of July
said he was rested, relaxed, and ready to go for another term.
In his never-ending quest to make
himself seen as a big boy contender for Louisiana governor next year, state
Rep. John Bel
Edwards is trying to create another issue that he believes he can exploit
for this purpose – at taxpayer expense.
Edwards’ latest ploy is to have
House of Representatives return to Baton Rouge out of session to go over
coming changes to health insurance plans overseen by the Office of Group
Benefits. These are for state employees and retirees (and some school boards’
employees), with changes already announced in benefits and an anticipated rate
increase after a decrease of nine percent over the past two years. He says this
information would aid House members “to protect our constituents from
astronomical cost increases.”
One effect of the rate decreases,
about which Edwards curiously never made a peep about in support of the Gov. Bobby
Jindal Administration’s decreasing substantially health care premiums for
OGB participants, was to empty largely the reserve fund for this purpose. This
was desirable in that the state was sitting
on idle balances far in excess of industry recommendations, but more
controversially the benefit changes also would slow the expenditure rate to
prevent the fund from going to zero and leave it with a balance in line with
The ending of qualification for
November’s Shreveport mayoral election finally has made static a field in flux.
A clear favorite stands out, although a wild card can bring unpredictability to
the almost-inevitable runoff.
As is typical in urban politics
when one political party becomes dominant, two distinct camps have emerged on
the local political scene representing different factions within it. Democrats
have claimed that in Shreveport, where they comprise 53.4 percent of the
electorate, which itself has a 52.7 percent black majority. Thus among black
Democrats are the “ins,” allied with term-limited Mayor Cedric Glover, and
the “outs,” those not allied with him, with whites having the incentive to ally
with one or the other group.
The latest major candidate entry shall
be discussed first, with city Councilman Sam Jenkins announcing
his bid only days ago. Months ago he was considered a frontrunner from his
alliance with Glover but then made a surprise announcement that he intended not
to run, citing tax liens that would be political liabilities. His tune now has
changed, even as apparently he still owes a number of debts to governments.
That he could have run again for the Council but chose this path despite the
inevitable questions that will come about his ability to serve as the city’s
chief executive given this personal financial record indicates that it’s
all-or-nothing time for him politically and he would not mind going out in a
blaze of glory.
A bad month for Sen. Mary Landrieu just got a bit worse in
the wake of qualifying
for her reelection attempt last week. Down in the aggregate in polls
entering the month, during it she
began falling behind in the money chase, self-inflicted “Air Mary” took off as a
campaign issue, and now with the official entries into the contest the hill to
climb back to office got steeper still.
In all, nine qualified, including
Democrat Landrieu and her main rival Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, the marginally competitive
Republican military retiree/corporate functionary Rob Maness, and six others. Five of them
will have no impact on the race. A libertarian will siphon a few votes from
Maness, who presents himself as a political outsider, a white male Republican
will do the same, two white male Democrats will hardly take from Landrieu, and
the same for a black female Democrat.
Her biggest concern comes from
the last-minute entry of the Rev. Raymond Brown, the gadfly leader of a New
Orleans-based (Landrieu’s stronghold) organization called National Action Now, which once had a disputed
relationship with the larger radical civil rights organization National Action Network. Brown
has a history of inserting himself into incidents involving presumed racial
conflict where the police are involved, most
recently (and not for the first time) in New Iberia. In the past Brown has
toyed with entering political contests, but committed to this one, at least for
It was trendy. It was political. It used lots of “free” money. But in
the final analysis, the decision by Bossier City to push compressed natural gas
and ethanol vehicle fuels is turning into a taxpayer ripoff.
In 2010 next to city hall, and then a year later south of Barksdale Air
Force Base, Bossier City built stations to provide these fuels to the few
vehicles that could use them. The stations cost $5
million to build, but federal government grants chopped a third off of that
price. Through 2012, 2 million gallons of these alternative fuels, netting
the city a negligible pittance of money, had been dispensed to city and private
But the real justification in the city’s eyes was it could fuel its own
vehicles with this. The E85 mix generally sells for not much less than regular
unleaded gasoline, but the CNG can be half of that. By converting some of its fleet,
and for free – about 100
of them new or existing for about
$600,000 in state money – then the per gallon savings could add up, not
only because of the lower cost, but also the CNG gets about a quarter times
more mileage per gallon.