Search This Blog


Bossier City finds competitor to most apathetic electorate

As far as 2017 local elections go in Louisiana, it looks as if Bossier City may have to hand over its crown for king of apathy to a region just west of Lafayette.

The city that has grown up around Barksdale Air Force Base in the shadow of Shreveport, pockmarked with casinos, has become infamous over the decades for its sclerotic government. In the last four regular elections dating back to 2005, for a total of eight offices – seven on the city council and the mayoralty – these 32 positions have drawn precisely 42 candidates, an average of just over one contested election per cycle.

This year held to form. Republican Mayor Lo Walker, who will turn 84 this year, qualified unopposed for a fourth term, despite a flurry of indications he would not skate (with injudicious past behavior likely keeping out one potential contender). Six of the seven members of the City Council escaped challenge, with only one of its less useful members from a panel of mediocrities having to work for reelection, District 1’s Scott Irwin, who also faced a challenger in 2013.


Expulsion only punishment for LA Senate miscreant

Should Democrat state Sen. Troy Brown stay or should he go from the chamber, after another no contest pleading to a misdemeanor use of violence on a woman? Answering this requires thoughtful understanding of the purpose and role of a legislator.

Past policy-makers had written into law a value judgment about such matters: legislators convicted of a felony cannot continue to serve. The severity of felonious behavior, it would seem, presupposes that the official (this applies to all state government officeholders, elected or not, although not judicial or not civil service) in question does not have the sufficient trustworthiness to govern in the interest of the people. Suspension from office occurs until the conviction reaches finality, i.e. exhaustion of appeals through the judicial system.

None of this applies to Brown, but the Constitution provides for removal of a state official through impeachment for “gross misconduct” while in office. While some senators have raised this possibility, other seem hesitant, such as state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey Colomb, who wants to rewrite the law to allow for “suspension.”


Associations to play big role in HD 8 election

Associations past and present will play an important role determining the victor of the Louisiana House of Representatives District 8 contest this spring.

On Mar. 25, voters in northern Bossier Parish will head to the polls for the special election to replace Republican Rep. Mike Johnson after his recent win. With just a shade under half of the district’s registrants signed up as Republicans, this may be the most conservative House seat in the state. A Democrat has not even tried to run since 1995.

But that doesn’t mean fellow travelers of that party have not made an attempt in the past two decades. In 2003, lawyer Ryan Gatti came up way short against former Rep. Jane Smith. A dozen years later, Gatti narrowly won the state Senate post from the area, in the process openly aiding Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards in his upset victory.


Mayoral politics intrudes on NO good govt measure

Defending a fast-and-easy system that permits transfer of taxpayer wealth to questionable organizations seems the first order of business in the nascent mayoral campaign of New Orleans City Councilor LaToya Cantrell.

At a recent City Council committee meeting, City Councilor Stacy Head made the reasonable suggestion that the city charge discounted rates to organizations claiming nonprofit status for city involvement with special events. Until now, the chronically cash-strapped city has waived all such fees, and still would waive it in some cases under the new fee structure.

That notion generated little controversy, but sparked heated argument when it came to what qualified groups as nonprofits. Head wanted to count groups only with Internal Revenue Service charitable status. Until recently, this procedure, which costs $400 to obtain, required a detailed application, typically dozens of pages long, spelling out clearly the governance structure, decision-making rules, and purposes to which donated funds would go.