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LA needs regular local option gaming votes

Three years later, it’s déjà vu all over again as the now-closed DiamondJacks Casino currently interred in Bossier City looks to bust a move south, which should open debate on Louisiana’s legal approach to gaming.

Back then, its owner wanted to move the sick man of Louisiana’s floating casinos to the banks of the mighty Amite River in Tangipahoa Parish. In 1996, local option elections in 17 parishes assented to riverboat gambling, although the law already restricted the siting of such vessels to venues with existing boats plus a few others. Although Tangipahoa Parish (barely) assented to riverboat presence, the law hadn’t included the Amite. That initial hurdle the Legislature didn’t cross in 2018, and the uprooting withered.

Now it’s back. With DiamondJacks having closed it doors last year, the owner now wants to head to Slidell. The whole idea previously had been having a boat in that neck of the woods would suck in crowds that presently head to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and its multiple options, even though the journey would be no shorter for many out to the boondocks. Its current manifestation plays to that capture of gamblers and likely would have greater success, locating the boat more centrally to the gambling population in an area with greater infrastructure.


Bad choices propel NO to more lawlessness

Only one Louisiana city, New Orleans, faced any citizen unrest in 2020. Regrettably, the policy response to that and the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic created self-inflicted wounds that significantly increased the amount of homicides in the city, and have set the stage for more of the same in the future.

While a report for the Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice didn’t include New Orleans data, analyses of these from many other larger American cities noted that “homicides, aggravated assaults, and gun assaults rose significantly beginning in late May and June of 2020.” Observing that homicides surged by 42 percent during the summer and 34 percent during the fall, as well aggravated assaults went up by 15 percent in the summer and 13 percent in the fall of 2020, while gun assaults increased by 15 percent and 16 percent.

Even as warmer months with their longer days often produce more crime, the surge in 2020 was particularly notable in that it spiked in the late spring. As researchers noted, in part this could have come from lockdown policies that discouraged provision of social services and conflict resolution attempts, but these largely had been lifted before the spike.


Biden-Edwards energy agenda destructive to LA

There are governors who see the stupidity and destructiveness in executive orders about energy promulgated by Democrat Pres. Joe Biden and act to mitigate their ill-effects. Then there’s Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.

In his first week in office, Biden halted energy leasing activity for 60 days on federal lands, both onshore and offshore, calling for review of policy. He could hardly have made it last longer; federal law requires quarterly lease sales. But getting permits to drill is another thing, and although stockpiled permits will permit exploration to continue on federal lands for some time, deliberate slow-walking of that process such as bans like this can hinder production.

About a quarter of all fossil fuel energy production, which grew substantially under Republican former Pres. Donald Trump and thereby allowed the U.S. to become energy-independent for the first time in decades, occurs on federal land. And another Biden executive order dumbs down the process of justifying new regulations, which for decades have required comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, that could expedite regulations on energy production based more on subjective whimsy than objective economic factors. There’s even talk that the Biden Administration would try through regulatory action make the ban permanent, although that remains dubious legally.


Taliaferro challenge shows Perkins weakness

The announcement by Republican Caddo Parish Commissioner Jim Taliaferro that he has thrown his hat into Shreveport’s mayoral ring speaks both to a strategy and the weakness of Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins.

Incumbents don’t need to worry much when a political unknown announces a bid against them even when just under two years out. But it’s another matter entirely, and a bad sign, when an experienced politician declares his intention with the election so far away. Regarding Taliaferro, the seriousness of his challenge comes not so much from his elected position – he’s been on the Commission just over a year, the sum total of his experience in elective office – but that he ran for mayor in 2018 and finished third with over a fifth of the vote.

Taliaferro acted quickly because of the growing perception that Perkins, politically speaking, is a walking corpse. Unknown and unvetted in 2018, he could become a blank slate for the gullible to read into him whatever they wanted. With that illusion gone and his leftist credentials on full display, he has no hope of reconstructing the fusionist coalition that not only powered him to office with a nontrivial portion of Republican votes, but whose presence in his column denied Taliaferro the chance to advance to the runoff.


Marvin owes answers to Bossier, Webster

Taxpayers saw over $20,000 flushed down the bayou by an injudicious, if not illegal, decision by Republican 26th District Attorney Schuyler Marvin or somebody in his office. Will he reimburse his employers, with or without prodding by the Bossier and Webster Parish Police Juries?

Last year, a 2013 Toyota Sequoia was found damaged and half-submerged in Red Chute Bayou, accompanied by floating beer cans. Within hours, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s deputies traced the operator to Lyn Lawrence, a lawyer who practices out of Bossier City. But the vehicle was registered to Schuyler’s office.

Following ethical precepts, Marvin passed over investigation and potential prosecution across the Red River to Democrat 1st District Attorney James Stewart. Earlier this month, Lawrence pled no contest to a charge of failure to report an accident, netting the 26th District a $100 fine and court costs.