In Louisiana’s final elections of the year, northwest Louisiana voters largely hewed to fiscal restraint, while their New Orleans counterparts cautioned people seeking quality local governance to look elsewhere.
Bossier City’s District 1 City Council contest delivered a second ally to Republican Mayor Tommy Chandler with Republican Brian Hammons’ runoff win. He almost avoided a runoff against no party Mike Lombardino, and garnered endorsements from area GOP bigwigs – most notably from known consistent conservatives – which now puts Chandler a Council vote away from having enough panel backers to uphold vetoes, and Hammons taking the seat slows further the big-spending tendencies of the Council majority.
Hundreds of miles away, a decision made by voters in St. Tammany Parish also impacted Bossier City. Down south, voters overwhelmingly rejected changing their rejection of casino gambling in that parish a quarter century ago, thus keeping the former DiamondJacks boat high and dry up north. It shut down operations almost two years ago and its owners have said they won’t reopen it there, and they lobbied hard to send it south. But many political and social elites in St. Tammany opposed altering the parish status, and the people ratified that rejection at about the same proportion as they had originally.
Across the Red River, voters rejected four of five ballot propositions for Shreveport that would have raised taxes 13.75 mils had all passed. The only one that didn’t address peripheral desires, such as recreation and technology and/or didn’t have some spending likely to come from federal largesse hurled at states and local governments over the past year, at 3.75 mils for new public safety infrastructure, was the only that passed, pushing the total property tax burden for city residents to about 150 mils.
And into the lead statewide, for New Orleans voters jettisoned almost a mil by turning down renewal of an item that collects roughly $4 million a year for housing concerns. With levies formerly split between going into a fund that subsidizes home ownership, rents, blight remediation, and rehabilitation and into one that promoted economic development, the reinstatement would go only to the former. Enough voters likely worried that the city would pursue making housing more affordable by increased wealth redistribution instead of reduced regulatory burdens, leading to the narrow defeat.
If that explained it, this was the only rational decision Orleans voters made. For other offices, they went crazy. Leftist Democrat Councilor Jay Banks found himself displaced by far leftist Lesli Harris, and leftist but honest Democrat Cyndi Nguyen got ousted by leftist but corrupt – years ago having been kicked off the Council and into prison for taking bribes in office – Democrat Oliver Thomas.
Most incomprehensibly, the electorate dumped Democrat Sheriff Marlin Gusman in favor of the severely woke Democrat Susan Hutson to give the city a hat trick of “progressivism” in public safety: a mayor who controls the police department, the chief prosecutor, and the sheriff. No other city has to suffer under such a triple whammy burden, although the significance of Hutson’s win dulls somewhat as the Orleans sheriff, unlike her counterparts across the state, has duties limited to prisoner supervision, court security, and serving court orders.
Still, the message these results sent, combined with the resulting victors from the general election, couldn’t do a better job of discouraging anybody from living within city boundaries than if these politicians hung signs around the burg’s perimeters proclaiming “All ye who enter abandon hope.” With this crew, if you think you’ve seen stupid policy-making in New Orleans to date, you ain’t seen nothing yet.