Search This Blog


Article misleads on tuition/fees, enrollment changes

As the law of the instrument goes, give a small boy a hammer and he will find everything he encounters needs pounding. That vibe emanates from a recent article from the Lafayette Advertiser concerning Louisiana’s college enrollments, where the author fixates on one factor explaining variation in that level when in fact this one thing, tuition and fee levels, has less to do with enrollment variance than many others.

The piece begins by alleging “Eight years of state budget cuts have led to some student turn-offs to public higher education in Louisiana, and it's showing,” then further postulates cuts translated into higher tuition and fees, which then discouraged some students from attending. As evidence, it points to the number of attending students in academic year 2010 – a figure derived from what is called the “14th day registration,” or the number enrolled at an institution on the 14th day of the fall term – compared to 2015, a drop of around 10,000.

The obvious question appears immediately – if “eight years of state budget cuts” caused this, why do we view only five years of data; why not view AY 2008 to AY 2016 data? Not including the latter endpoint makes sense at this time because it’s impossible: the 14th day number for all institutions won’t come through for another month. Which then begs another question: why did this piece get written now, using nearly year-old data when waiting a month would have produced fresh data?


Work together to solve highway-induced flooding

They may have a point, but good luck in ever getting the state to pay off or change its ways, so compromise should be the order of the day.

Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey feels the state’s construction of Interstate 12 exacerbated flooding the town received in the middle of the month. Specifically, the retaining wall of the east-west highway running down the median appeared to trap water that pooled into the municipality. More aggravatingly for Ramsey, years ago he requested that the state’s Department of Transportation and Development provide more drainage underneath, which largely went ignored.

Present DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, who served as chief of staff of the agency almost a dozen years prior to taking the helm earlier this year, as much as admitted Ramsey’s proposition. Framing the argument in expectancy value terms, he said the decision to put in the barrier and drainage associated with I-12 did not factor in such a severe weather event because of its remoteness in happening. He hoped the department could work with those aggrieved by the outcome rather than have the controversy go to court, as Ramsey as threatened.


Censure inappropriate for recalcitrant candidates

Quite correctly the Louisiana Republican Party refused to censure Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne for their failure to support a Republican candidate for governor last year, even as Dardenne deserves approbation for the greater disservice he did the state’s people.

Last weekend the GOP’s State Central Committee met, with items for consideration including a vote of formal disapproval for Republican Angelle’s staying silent when Republican Sen. David Vitter made the runoff against eventual victor Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, and one for Republican Dardenne’s endorsing of Edwards. Angelle now runs for Congress while shortly after the election’s conclusion Dardenne took the top job in the Edwards Administration.

Angelle deserved no such condemnation. He gave no reason for his reticence, which clearly came from two sources even if he never publicly will admit this: his pique at voters’ rejection of him and a belief that Vitter should not have bested him but also he wanted to continue to have an elective political career. Thus, he would not endorse Vitter who in his mind he felt “unfairly” bested him (because Vitter had admitted commission of a “serious sin” believed to have been soliciting prostitution yet whose bare-knuckle style of politics kept him in power despite that embarrassing revelation), but he also would not endorse Edwards as a way to pay back an ungrateful electorate and to count coup on Vitter because to do so probably would anger his conservative base too much, leading him to forfeit any chance for him to run for Congress successfully.


GOP party leaders still stump for illegal restriction

Louisiana’s Republican Party wisely pulled back on a resolution that reputes to prevent felons from running for office using its label, but pledges made to try again continue to ignore what state and constitutional law have to say on the process.

This past weekend, the party’s State Central Committee rejected bringing to a vote such a measure amid concerns that it did not have the legal authority to do so. Members had fewer than 24 hours to review the proposal that emanated from the Executive Committee made up of party leaders, even as it wisely dropped ambiguous language prone to politicization that also would have prevented “racist” individuals from running as Republicans.

Party leaders maintained that a Louisiana political party did have the legal authority to limit use of its label in this fashion by candidates, alleging that both the state’s chief legal officer, Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, and the state’s chief elections officer, Sec. of State Tom Schedler, both Republicans, concurred. If so, whatever rationale purportedly lies behind this argument seems counter to statute.