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Elections in 2018 bring LA winners and losers

As always, elections bring winners and losers. Relative to struggles for power between different interests, who triumphed and who saw their political fortunes in retreat in Louisiana after this round?

School reform: For several years, those wishing to expand from monopolistic government schools have slowly expanded a majority in East Baton Rouge Parish, while the conflict has flip-flopped between sides in Jefferson Parish, with backers of unions and a more closed system most recently having prevailed.

Tuesday handed victories to reformers. In Baton Rouge, they extended their school board majorities with education administrator Tramelle Howard dumping Kenyetta Nelson-Smith from District 3 and education consultant Dadrius Lanus nearly avoided a runoff against Vereta Lee for District 62 but almost certainly will win the runoff.


Shreveport poised for major immediate break

A couple of high-profile Shreveport incumbents didn’t have a good election day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean new faces and ideas will come on board city government.

One does certainly look headed out the door. Democrat Mayor Ollie Tyler drew a measly 24 percent of the vote, making the runoff but behind Democrat lawyer Adrian Perkins, This constitutes a massive repudiation of Tyler, made more stinging in that voters elevated past her vote total someone half her age with zero political experience and next-to-none at all outside of the military and school. More would rather have a blank slate than her.

These numbers – over three-quarters of the electorate rejecting her and a newcomer leading her by five points in the general election – give her little chance to win the runoff. Only if she absolutely scares voters by pointing out Perkins’ inexperience and less becoming aspects of his commitment to Shreveport, such as he hardly has lived there his adult life and when he voted for himself that marked the first time he ever had voted, can she make voters that already rejected her reject him – but that doesn’t mean they’ll then change their minds about her.


Curfews, parental accountability to reduce crime

An idea from Caddo Parish deserves replication across Louisiana to deal with juvenile crime.

In response to a recent murder allegedly committed by juveniles, the district attorney’s office said, if possible, it would prosecute their parents as well. That response follows a pledge by District Attorney James Stewart, who last year announced his willingness to enforce local curfew ordinances.

Stewart practices what he preaches. Three months after his pronouncement, he followed through with an arrest and subsequent conviction of a mother of two pre-teens accused of a string of crimes. He also has gone after parents who miss court dates dealing with children’s excessive truancy.


Peacock feeling capital projects pressure

Could a Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards power play be getting to taxpayer stalwart Republican state Sen. Barrow Peacock?

Peacock appeared on KEEL radio’s morning show last week to discuss an option for funding the Inner City Connector Interstate 49 route in Shreveport. Earlier last month, the interchange between I-49 and I-220 officially opened, joining the I-49/I-20 interchange about four miles south that opened nearly two decades ago, leaving just the space between – the Connector – undone to complete I-49 in Louisiana.

Related to the opening, Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson had spoken on the program. In that interview, he cast doubt on finishing the Connector any time soon. Although one reason had to do with ongoing federal studies, Wilson also said a tight funding environment had pushed the item back in the queue.