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Libraries shouldn't subsidize drag queen story time

What to do with drag queens hosted by public libraries?

Publicity over story times for children featuring transvestites provoked the citizenry in one large Louisiana city, while it largely elicited a yawn in the state’s largest city. In Lafayette, many in the public expressed concern over the concept, and opposition by Mayor-President Joel Robideaux led to the resignation of his appointee to the board that runs parish libraries. By contrast, similar events in New Orleans haven’t generated any real controversy.

A board of appointees from local government entities govern Lafayette’s libraries. It receives about $1.4 million in general fund money from the city and another $14 million from the parish, mostly from a dedicated property tax. In New Orleans, a dedicated property tax is forecast to pump over $18 million into its libraries, governed by a board of mayoral appointees.


Unneeded corporate welfare tempts tax redirection

It has become increasingly clear that change must come to the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s greased path to raising and spending money.

In recent years, a steady drumbeat of questions has risen over the ever-increasing pot of money that the organization, which runs the city’s Convention Center and Exhibition Hall, sits on. At the close of 2017, it had over $150 million lying around in cash equivalents and for many years running its revenues have exceeded its expenses by over $20 million annually.

That’s due to taxes which, if there’s any real need to collect these in the first place, should better go to other pressing priorities. Instead, with so much dough rolling in the Authority spends some on matters that have nothing to do with its functions such as nearby roads and public safety as a kind of peace offering to New Orleans, and banks the rest with an eye on tremendous pie-in-the-sky capital projects that stray further and further away from its actual footprint and/or mission.


Politics likely part of operator replacement

Yes, taxpayers must pony up more for north Louisiana charity hospital services. But because that largesse on a continuing basis comes from the federal level, that begs a very interesting political question.

Last month, this column mused about the financial ramifications of a pending deal on University Health hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe. For months, the state has sought a takeover of these from BRF, and last week the deal finally came to fruition. Beginning Oct. 1, a combination of the Louisiana State University System and Ochsner Health System would run both. The former runs and owns entirely Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center, and the latter operates Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center.

Legislators had gotten wind that the deal would throw more money to the new operators. This seemed odd, as the Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration previously had cut subsidies to operators, maintaining the existing deals – thrown together hastily as the state had to respond to a large federal government retrenchment in health care aid – paid too much.


Donna Edwards breaks LA first spouse mold

If in fact Louisiana politics are evolving into so-called “Washington-style” politics, it seems that has extended to “first spouse” as well.

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards makes an incessant talking point about allegedly more conflict developing between partisans in the Legislature. Of course, he defines “partisanship” in a nonstandard way, coming when you disagree with him on something, but he is correct in that Louisiana is evolving away from a more personalistic style of politics to one more driven by issue preferences that has marked politics in the nation’s capital for much of the national government’s existence.

But it seems another “Washington” aspect has crept into Louisiana’s political scene, that being the unprecedented political activism of First Lady Donna Edwards. Until her family moved into the Governor’s Mansion, gubernatorial spouses, if ever seen and heard, didn’t involve themselves in issuing political statements over any controversial issue.