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BC incumbents cut police, see more crime

One challenger in Saturday’s city elections in Bossier City wants the public to know that city emperors running for reelection have no clothes on the issue of public safety and crime. And the data back him.

If you can get past the imagery of Republican incumbent Mayor Lo Walker without a stitch on – he’s 87 years old – consider that he and other incumbents running to keep their jobs, including at-large councilors Tim Larkin and David Montgomery and District 1 councilor Scott Irwin, all Republicans, to varying degrees tout the city’s supposedly low crime rate due to their policies. Some publicize endorsements netted from the parish’s chief law enforcement office and another political insider, GOP Sheriff Julian Whittington.

Chris Smith begs to differ. The Republican challenger to Larkin and Montgomery, through flyers and social media, points out some facts inconvenient to that argument. Using data from city financial information and crime data reported to the federal government, he points out that in 2008 the city had 241 police department employees or one for every 259 residents, while in 2019 the number had fallen to 197, or one for every 350 residents. It’s a point Walker challenger Republican Tommy Chandler also makes.


Reluctant Edwards must make LSU do right

Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards did his best Pontius Pilate routine, while a bipartisan group of Louisiana legislators weren’t so dismissive about a history of botched sexual misconduct investigations at Louisiana State University, centered around student-athletes.

Yesterday, a select legislative committee reviewed a report about all of this LSU hastily authorized after adverse media accounts began flowing late last year. The lengthy document details an institution possessing policies unclear about dealing with these matter, if not having the effect of producing a conflict of interest or discouraging plaintiffs with valid concerns; having employees routinely not following that policy even when reasonably clear; receiving repeated reports urging the system to clean up these deficiencies; and permitting occurrence of a number of incidents, with several included for expository purposes illustrating the breakdowns that resulted, that pointed out a number of culpable individuals who in some cases for years acted in ways that they should have known better subverted the goals of minimizing harassment and physical harm as much as possible.

Even if a day late and a dollar short, the system has responded by a pledge to follow the 18 recommendations provided. Beyond institutional error, the report also addressed penalties attached to human mistakes by not addressing these, declaring that discipline was best left to LSU to determine.


Forum shows two GOP BESE contenders in command

The race for Louisiana’s District 4 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education post remains in flux, with only days to go to the election, as to which Republican will win.

Practically speaking, that means the winner will be either businesswoman Shelly McFarland or lawyer Mike Melerine. Others include independent former state Sen. John Milkovich, Republican teacher Cody Whitaker, and Democrat university professor Cassie Williams. They met at an online forum put on by the Bossier Parish School Board.

Fundraising numbers, from about a month ago, can tell much especially concerning low-information contests. Only McFarland and Melerine have raised any substantial money, with him having a small advantage, and in their own funds added more than they have had donated. Additionally, Melerine has picked up several northwest Louisiana elected officials’ endorsements, some of whom also made donations to his campaign. McFarland has scored some dollars from GOP luminaries as well, but from individuals considered more old line than the newer figures behind Melerine.


GOP must corral Edwards on bloated largesse

The stubborn refusal of Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to follow the science, mirroring other political leaders of his party pursuing ideological goals, is about to receive its payoff. Now, it’s up to the heretofore milquetoast leaders of the Republican Legislature to minimize the damage.

This week, Democrat Pres. Joe Biden looks set to put Americans another $1.9 trillion in hock on a spending bill he alleges necessary to combat immediate economic dislocations from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, but which in reality spends a minority of dollars on anything remotely connected to that task, of which most won’t be spent for at least a year, unnecessarily so as the American economy is hardly doing any worse than it was a year, and with any ongoing damage largely self-inflicted. By policy-makers like Edwards, who needlessly keep in place economic restrictions proven overbroad and largely ineffective.

But that’s in order to get the payoff, as in the spending bill in its current form states will receive $350 billion dollars, or more than everything allocated in all measures combined over the last year (“allocated,” because much has yet to be spent; witness the state’s plan to dole out $161 in federal rental assistance just now a year after the pandemic took hold). If proportionally doled out, that means Louisiana would receive over $5 billion – over half the entire general fund revenues for a single year.


On vaccine, Edwards ignores faith's demands

Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards isn’t content with only acting as the state’s top elected official. He also aims to be its Catholic spiritual adviser, even if he has to put his fellow Catholics in a bind on the matter of licit vaccine use.

The same week Edwards announced that the state would receive the newest federal government-approved Wuhan coronavirus vaccine, a one-shot variety from Johnson & Johnson, and that the state would distribute free doses of it over the weekend, among other dioceses across America the Archdiocese of New Orleans, through Archbishop Gregory Aymond, declared this vaccine “morally compromised.” Aymond and others declared it as such because its development relied upon cell lines collected from aborted fetuses several decades ago.

Ongoing debate within the Church’s hierarchy and its commentators explores whether it crossed an ethical line to use such material derived from those cells, but the relevant Church institutions in this case, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, have declared that such vaccines illicit unless they are the only reasonable option in an environment where acquiring or transmitting the virus poses a real threat to the lives of others. Falling into this category are several being used throughout the world although just this one of the three authorized in the U.S. (all of which were tested on the same cell line) was derived that way.