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Funding, privatization would fix NO water woes

Failing infrastructure. Common system breakdowns. Design and implementation mistakes. Inability to maintain a workforce. Gross overbilling. Gross underbilling. Failure to enforce customer payment. Administrative follies. It all should add up to privatization for the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. The only problem is ….

By now, the city’s public water provider and drainer has become a joke. Widespread publicity over a number of issues has revealed an extraordinary range of incompetence:


Edwards draws first, perhaps significant, foe

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards drew his first opponent today – certainly not the last, but probably not the winner despite some deep pockets.

Republican Businessman Eddie Rispone filed ethics reports that will allow him to raise money for next year’s contest. Not that he’ll need to haul in some bucks anytime soon, as he says he already has $5 million bankrolled for the effort.

Rispone has helped substantially Republican and conservative causes throughout the years, and recently founded a heretofore low-key effort to counter the Alinskyite Together Baton Rouge, but this represents his first foray for elected office. He eventually will further explain his reasons for running, but for now simply notes that “we can do better” than Edwards.


Regents must force LSU off declining path

In ratifying unanimously Louisiana State University Baton Rouge’s decision to lower admission standards, the LSU Board of Supervisors showed both tone deafness and disingenuousness.

Last year, LSU surreptitiously altered the state-mandated requirement that, with few exceptions, entering freshmen score at least a 22 on the American College test or its equivalent, arguing that Board of Regents standards permitted dropping that as a hard and fast rule. The Regents set policy but the Supervisors manage LSU System schools.

LSU argues that “holistic” admissions, through the use of other criteria that in its mind justifies admission of students scoring below 22 without any special circumstances, will preserve academic quality. It notes that a number of universities (although most much more highly selective in admissions) have headed in this direction and says the experiment of last year produced a class at or near all-time highest average test scores and grade point averages.


Kenner can enhance park, encourage homeless

While Kenner has abandoned plans to introduce an anti-loitering law, it and other Louisiana municipalities can pursue other means to reduce problems created by vagrancy.

The city council had considered passing an ordinance that would have prohibited “remaining in essentially one location for no obvious reason, to linger, to saunter, to dawdle, to stand around ... or to otherwise spend time idly” in any public place. The effort came in response to complaints about individuals, presumably homeless, lingering around areas of a city park including full-blown camping, who also trundle over to the nearby parish library to use the bathrooms.

However, anti-loitering laws have a high constitutional burden to overcome, compounded by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the related area of panhandling, at least concerning outdoor public spaces. Laws against loitering in indoor public spaces, such as the library under an existing Jefferson Parish statute, have faced a much lower constitutional burden of proof. Simply, such laws typically criminalize way too much potential behavior to withstand constitutional challenge.