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Cain deludes self concerning audit allegations

It’s entirely conceivable that former Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden Burl Cain thinks what he did was not wrong. If so, that only goes to show the kind of entitlement bubble in which these people live, blind to what folks without delusions see.

A recent report issued by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor faulted Cain on several accounts in the latter years of his tenure, where he retired abruptly early last year after critical reports appeared in the media that prompted the audit. It alleges he benefitted to the tune of about $20,000 in free materials and services, as well as enjoying an unspecified amount of free labor.

To which, Cain replied via talk radio, was much ado about nothing, at least concerning he and his family members. He said the supposed free labor – provided by Angola employees on his house off premises – occurred if state employees he contracted to failed to report they took time off from their state duties, absolving him of any responsibility. He argued that any unauthorized purchases to furnish his on-premises abode remained state property. And as far as family members employed by the Department of Corrections utilizing living quarters at Angola even though the state offered to or did subsidize their housing elsewhere, he claimed the space was vacant in any event, so what was the difference in where they were on any given day if the state committed to subsidizing them anyway?


Yenni becoming Jefferson Parish's version of Weiner

If you haven’t seen the movie Weiner, to get the gist of it just follow around Jefferson Parish Pres. Mike Yenni.

The film profiles the hapless former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress after it emerged he had sexted, pictures included, with various women not his wife. He then made a comeback attempt, running for mayor of New York City, which became derailed when more texts and pictures occurring after his resignation came to public light. The third time proved the charm upon revelation of a yet another batch months involving a minor before last year’s election – just before releasing the film – when his wife, Huma Abedin, served as a top aide to Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Abedin announced their separation and Weiner went into rehab.

Filmmakers happened to document the mayor’s race, starting out chronicling what they thought would turn out as an interesting story of redemption that mutated into farce. Throughout, Weiner seems offended whenever any interviewer, questioner, or fellow candidate brings up his behavior of the past and then-present, replying combatively and insisting the only relevant criteria on which to judge him are political issue preferences of the day.


Convention unnecessary to fix LA fiscal problems

Although some, principal among them Gov. John Bel Edwards, think a constitutional convention in order for Louisiana, conditions simply don’t warrant that.

Certainly, the fiscal straitjacket into which Louisiana has amended and legislated itself needs unbinding. Almost seven out of every eight dollars generated by the state by law or the Constitution go to a specified purpose (which includes self-generated revenues such as user fees and tuition at state institutions of higher learning). Most of the remainder ends up funding higher education, health care, or corrections. This hyper-inflexibility hampers budgeting and makes past a certain point addressing mid-year budget deficits almost impossible.

Those arguing for a convention believe this as the best way to sweep aside locked-in spending. By loosening dedications and protections of funds that receive these proceeds, better matching of money to need could happen, rather than enduring government-on-autopilot.


Judicial gymnastics won't change charter school funding

Even if the Louisiana Supreme Court decides to make another foray into rewriting the Constitution, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Legislature can insure funding for some Louisiana charter schools should encounter nothing more than a speed bump.

Recently, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that about a fifth of the state’s charter schools, categorized as “new Type 2,” could not draw appropriations from the Minimum Foundation Program. A 3-2 majority agreed with the plaintiffs, school districts and teacher unions, that any charter school granted that status by the state did not qualify as a “public” school, creating a novel category for them. Thus, any monies they would receive under the MFP formula instead would pass to the educational agency with jurisdiction over the school’s geographic location.

The withholding of funds from the schools and diversion of them to the relevant school district would have begun this week, but this court put a stay on the order. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the matter in the near future.