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28.1.21

Trump gone, Edwards now can follow science

You can start paying attention to the science now, Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards: Republican former Pres. Donald Trump doesn’t live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue anymore.

For months, the evidence has mounted regarding the impact of lockdown policies typically touted by Democrats in governors’ mansions, Edwards included, showing their marginal effectiveness in stemming the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic doesn’t compensate for their costs in human suffering. A couple of recent research efforts reinforces that point. (These National Bureau of Economic Research papers are preliminary, without completed peer reviews.)

University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan measured the impact in terms of excess “deaths of despair,” which likely has claimed by now at least a couple of hundred Louisianans, caused by policies that restrict or shutter businesses. He discovered that these restrictions isolate people, wherein those with more fragile psyches became more likely to abuse substances and commit suicide and may account for a 10 to 60 percent increase in excess deaths nationally.

27.1.21

Caddo Commission sliding towards dysfunction

Days of dysfunction have returned to the Caddo Parish Commission, with some commissioners more eager to launch filibusters than to govern.

Over a quarter of a century ago, the Commission became hijacked over personal issues centered around the performance and policy choices made by the parish’s then-administrator. This led to lengthy meetings where members would launch soliloquies both about various issues of the day, some having nothing to do with the body’s responsibilities, and personalities involved. Elections in 1995 swept out or forced into retirement some involved, and others who remained quieted down afterwards.

That tendency has made a comeback, as last week’s meeting exemplifies. Two weeks earlier, half of the commissioners – all black Democrats – refused to adopt a resolution proclaiming National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (set nationally for Jan. 9), with one explaining some law enforcement actions of the prior year made it impossible for him to vote for blanket laudatory language. Earlier in the meeting, several last-minute resolutions consisting of current leftist talking points never made it to debate, with Republican Commissioner Todd Hopkins consistently preventing these from making it onto the agenda (late agenda additions require unanimous consent).

26.1.21

PSC tilt tops congressional races for intrigue

Of the three regional elections occurring in Louisiana this spring, the least of the bunch should prove the most fascinating.

The pair of special elections for Congress will have little to no drama. In the Second District, the departure of Democrat former Rep. Cedric Richmond attracted 15 contestants, including several repeat performers. And it actually provides, unusually, faint hope for Republicans.

Featured are past candidates Democrat state Sen. Troy Carter and Karen Peterson, who differ not much in their extreme liberal ideology (over the past five years he has averaged 29 and she just over 16 on their Louisiana Legislature Log ratings), but Carter comes off as less strident, more congenial, and does have Richmond’s backing, making him the favorite. But a scenario exists where Republican Claston Bernard, who is black as is Carter and Peterson, could win in the majority-black district.

25.1.21

Perkins tips reelection gambit: sprint to left

Shreveport Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins, signaling his reelection strategy, has dropped any pretense that he won’t campaign and thereby govern ideologically from the hard left – as well as that he has any clue about economics.

Perkins in the main won in 2018 because he could present himself as a blank slate to voters. Having hardly spent any time in Shreveport as an adult, he magically appeared in town months before the election – just as he finished up law school, having spent his entire career either in school or in the armed forces – babbling about newness and change. With insecurity common in the Shreveport electorate, it was enough to convince many blacks, enough white Democrats, and some Republicans wearing rose-colored glasses to hand him the keys to the city.

Two years later, after a series of missteps and a disastrous U.S. Senate run, Perkins recently announced he wanted to keep the job after all, even as the city continued to hemorrhage residents without any resolution to economic development and other problems. Days later, he demonstrated his weakness by yanking a tax-increasing bond proposal he had floated less than a week earlier after it became clear he couldn’t muster a City Council majority to put it on the ballot.

24.1.21

Bossier City finally seeing electoral choices

It’s been two decades since Louisiana’s sixth largest municipality Bossier City has seen this much electoral competition, but will it end the same by sweeping a significant portion of incumbents out of office, or even go farther, in the most significant partisan contests not special elections in the state in 2021?

In the aftermath of those municipal elections, three City Council members left their jobs as a result of voter dissatisfaction principally over the decision to build and where the now Brookshire Grocery Arena. But current councilors independent Jeff Darby and Democrat Bubba Williams stayed on, and still in office from then are the two victorious at-large councilors Republicans Tim Larkin and David Montgomery. Joining them in a special election a year later was Republican Scott Irwin.

The revolt didn’t trouble Democrat Mayor George Dement, who won his record fourth and final term. That kept city Chief Administrative Officer Lo Walker in business, who as a Republican succeeded Dement in 2005 and has won reelection ever since.