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Officials whiff opposing Viet refugee policy change

You always can count on politicians to create a crisis where there isn’t one and to paint stripes on a horse and call it a zebra, exemplified recently by reaction to a Republican Pres. Donald Trump Administration policy change.

National media began circulating stories earlier this month about how the Trump Administration was going to start deporting some non-citizen Vietnamese who had lived in America for 23 or more years. Some had immigrated almost 45 years ago when the Vietnam War ended as refugees from the victorious North Vietnamese communists.

The new Vietnam hasn’t wanted these people back, given their anti-communist sentiments that could challenge the government’s oppressive political rule. And there’s another motivation as well: the Trump Administration wants to deport those who have committed crimes, so Vietnam would have to integrate criminals ideologically opposed to their government.


Needless cancer scaring reprehensible politics

Take bad science, charge it with loopy ideology, and you have off-the-wall remonstrations made by a Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council member, backed by her interest group allies.

Democrat Chauna Banks has continued a running campaign to close a landfill with allegations that it causes cancer. An environmental alarmism groups, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, has joined her cause.

Banks claims that everybody in a neighborhood near Ronaldson Field, St. Irma Lee, in “recent” years who has died has done so from cancer. She also asserts that landfills like that pose unusual cancer risks to nearby residents. She opposes renewal of the landfill’s permit, due next year.


LA indigent defense must help itself first

No year would be complete without attention drawn to Louisiana’s shaky model of indigent defense funding. Which leads to a reminder about how public defenders have to help themselves before they can expect taxpayers to render further assistance.

Last year at this time, the state’s Public Defender Jay Dixon gave notice to the rapid increase in diversion programs not just for minor, but many, traffic cases. Because court fees assessed in districts account for much of the local government contribution, which itself comprises about five-eighths of all public defense revenues, any loss of revenues this way can significantly impact defenders.

This year, Dixon repeated the message that local ticket-writing that leads to court actions has continued its decline, to a legislative task force looking at statutory dedications like the court fee. While some of the 42 districts (overseen by 39 offices, as in three instances two districts run combined) still have stable local revenues sources, more and more have started to dip into reserves that, Dixon warned, will dry up for some in the next couple of years.


Clarity on LA Bond Commission role needed

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell brought up an issue that deserves a fuller answer for Louisianans.

Last week, a request went to the State Bond Commission to schedule a tax election in New Orleans. It came from the City Council, which passed over Cantrell’s objections a measure increasing property taxes to fund senior services, intending to pass through proceeds to the city’s Council on Aging.

Cantrell has opposed the move because she sees such a dedication as too limiting of policy option. She prefers integration of that service provision with a broader social services agenda that could require a tax increase, but not one separately for that discrete task and directed to an entity outside of city government.