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Ailing LA towns need added scrutiny, action

Ailing municipalities in Louisiana have caught the eye of the Legislative Auditor, but need to grab greater attention from policy-makers.

Recently, the Auditor began publicizing a list of 18 such cities, towns, and villages. It doesn’t include a half-dozen that already have had or will have the state take over their functions precisely because of an inability to pay bills or to provide services. This posting reflects the increasing number of entities that have run into trouble.

While municipalities that make the unfortunate grade fell prey to a number of factors that put them in fiscal peril, almost all of these are self-inflicted. The only one that isn’t, more than trivial depopulation, among these two dozen applies in only half of the cases.


More precise analysis needed for LA elections

Even as Louisiana’s 2019 state elections fade temporally, imprecise analysis continues to obscure its larger electoral patterns and consequences.

A previous post dispensed with the notion that Louisiana followed a supposed national trend of suburbs indiscriminately lending support to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ narrow reelection. That view presupposed that some suburbanites converted their voting preferences.

However, as previously noted, whatever new support Edwards picked up came disproportionately from the changing demographic composition of some state suburbs, almost exclusively Jefferson Parish. Compared to other less mature suburb parishes, Jefferson had substantially higher minority population while its median household income tracked more to the state average than the higher number seen in most other suburban parishes.


Senate choosing Cortez blow to Edwards

The slim hopes of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to advance his agenda in a second term became even more microscopic if one media outlet’s story is accurate.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that enough votes have lined up behind Louisiana state Sen. Page Cortez to make him Senate president for the next four years. No other independent source has confirmed this yet, nor has Cortez himself.

If this comes to fruition, it will mark the first instance in decades of the chamber electing its leader without gubernatorial interference. It did, midway through Republican former Gov. Buddy Roemer’s term, replace Roemer’s backed leader with one of its own choosing supported by Democrat former Gov. Edwin Edwards who would defeat Roemer two years later.


Kennedy needs comment clarification again

So, did Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy finally step off the ledge this time?

Last week, Kennedy provoked commentary on two national media appearances. In the first, he said that the Ukraine may have sponsored hacking of former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton campaign computers. In the second, he said he had misunderstood the question to be one of general election interference, that he never meant to say Ukraine backed hacking, and that he would stand by a characterization that the Ukraine did try to interfere in that 2016 election.

This clarification brought partisan attacks from the media, both nationally and in the state, long on assertion but short on factual basis. In essence, meticulously compiled investigative journalism reports which never have been refuted (although recently one of the original reporting media outlet tried to downplay the information by relying heavily on semantics) support Kennedy’s stance.