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28.11.22

Legislature must excise favoritism scholarships

Bad enough that in general academia increasingly has become immersed in politics replacing scholarship and learning. Worse, in Louisiana politics still drives too much even basic decisions in the realm of academia, a condition that should be eliminated recently illuminated by another example of unethical behavior.

The politicized nature of Louisiana higher education is well known, with Louisiana State University alone the scene of attempts to suppress free speech of students, of faculty members, and giving athletics the run of the place. But politicians and their appointees also intervene in the more mundane aspects of administration in order to convert power into favoritism, with former LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Chancellor Larry Hollier having been revealed as a crass practitioner of this.

An internal investigation last year revealed Hollier intervened to help arrange scholarships for each of his grandsons and thousands of dollars in awards for his grandson’s girlfriend. Hollier denied giving them any assistance and remains a faculty member with a salary in the half million-dollar range after having served in the top spot from 2005-21. He left that abruptly amid charges he pushed for improper pay bumps for his inner circle, underpaid women, and violated the university’s policies while hiring and firing people, as another report indicated.

27.11.22

Fiscal crisis looms for high-tax Bossier schools

Over the past four years, things deteriorated for the high-tax, burgeoning-deficit, above average-performing Bossier Parish School District. That recent elections returned largely the same cast of School Board members calls into question whether the situation will improve any time soon.

Only two new faces will grace the Board when it convenes in the near future, although one of the remaining ten joined only last year and was the only one to face a reelection challenge, and another newcomer slid in unopposed. In essence, nine incumbents sailed back into office without opposition despite some uninspiring data concerning their policy-making.

On the performance side, in academic year 2018 Bossier schools ranked 21st out of 70 in the state with a district performance score of 82.8 (state average: 76.1) or graded “B.” Last AY, the district jumped to 11th out of 64 (Lafourche, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, and Terrebonne didn’t report; four ranked ahead of Bossier in AY 2018) with a score of 86.4 (state average: 77.1). Both in an absolute sense and relative sense, there was minor improvement.

24.11.22

Thanksgiving Day, 2022

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Sunday through Thursday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Thursday, Nov. 24 being Thanksgiving Day, I invite you to explore this link.

23.11.22

GOP leaders need to get serious on Greene matter

Barring a dramatic reversal, it has become increasingly clear that the select Louisiana House of Representatives committee to investigate state police and Governor’s Office responsibility regarding the death of a black motorist and their subsequent actions appertaining to that is a sham designed to promote political careers rather than accountability.

The Special Committee to Inquire into the Circumstances and Investigation of the Death of Ronald Greene has been meeting off and on for nearly half a year, with the most recent such empaneling last week. Greene died at the hands of the Louisiana State Police in May, 2019 and any state investigation since has been slow-walked, if not attempted shunting away, by officials all the way up to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, who knew far more about the matter than he let on for about two years and as late as 14 months ago still kept backing in public a discredited theory that Greene’s death didn’t come from brutal treatment by the LSP.

The sum of total of this has featured (1) very few revelations not already disseminated by the media, (2) plenty of venting about the inexcusable treatment of Greene and subsequent stonewalling by the LSP and executive branch, and (3) intransigent obfuscation and evasion by LSP and executive branch officials called upon to deliver answers. The latest gathering was just more of the same, with the LSP head Col. Lamar Davis (who was not in charge when Greene met his demise) being tight-lipped about LSP culpability about the incident and instead focusing on procedural changes since, and Greene’s mother again excoriating the LSP.

22.11.22

Vote to keep LA elections, govt employment pure

For many Louisianans, the only reason to vote on Dec. 10 comes in the form of constitutional amendments, where deciding their merit is more complicated than first appears.

Amendment #1 – would prohibit allowing non-citizens to vote in elections in the state. None can in state or local elections currently in Louisiana, but a handful of cities across the country allow it. This would make the prohibition ironclad.

Typically, constitutional provisions should exist only when essential to operating a representative democracy; otherwise, statute is their rightful place (if that). Many such in the Louisiana Constitution aren’t, but this one is. There’s nothing more fundamental to the health of a republic than to ensure voting integrity, where even one counted vote not properly cast by an American citizen and resident of that jurisdiction is an intolerable injury to all Americans. It’s best to rule out the possibility of future mischievous majoritarian branches permitting noncitizens to vote in elections at any level without the people’s approval. YES.

21.11.22

Kennedy hint may make Democrats' lives worse

While waiting on Republican Sen. John Kennedy to make up his mind, a review is in order of where the Louisiana’s governor’s race and others below stand for next year.

Last week, both he and GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy stated they were giving serious consideration to running for governor. The timing wasn’t accidental: both had hoped to be in the Senate majority party and the greater power that brings, but elections days before didn’t turn out that way. Even though the GOP has a very strong chance of becoming the majority in two years, two years is an eternity in politics, so suddenly without warning both made this announcement.

Almost always such a pronouncement serves as a prelude to jumping into a race, and Cassidy certainly needs a lifeline to stay in politics past 2026 at this point. Right after his 2020 reelection, he began to make a series of puzzling decisions that perhaps have made him unelectable statewide, starting with laying out a solid case not to vote to convict Republican former Pres. Donald Trump on spurious impeachment charges then inexplicably recanting, followed by votes favoring detrimental legislation.

20.11.22

Bossier jurors must address fiscal time bomb

It’s a race against time for Bossier Parish Police Jurors: find ways to obscure enough the inevitable negative fiscal impact from years of careless water and sewerage policy so as not to impair their reelection chances next year while actually doing something to solve the problem.

Raising impact fees, as the Jury initiated last week for commercial customers, is but a drop in the bucket compared to the massive funds injection necessary to pay for years of careless capital budgeting. Back in the mid-aughts, the parish created what today is termed the Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 (which extends west from Princeton), adding a later spinoff No. 2 (serving around the Linton Road and Linton Cutoff area), to address state complaints about service quality from the patchwork of nongovernment operators serving outside of municipalities. Since then, the parish has built out infrastructure to tie together and extend services from operator after operator it has acquired, with the latest being Village Water System and potentially Benton’s in the future.

That has created a ticking time bomb. For years, the parish essentially subsidized system operation using tax dollars even of those not system users, by its own admission around $10 million through 2019, and financial records suggest subsidization of around $1.7 million in 2020 but a narrow gain in 2021 have occurred since. This may have stabilized operating deficits for now, but that’s not the whole picture.

17.11.22

Arceneaux must attack to have winning chance

Especially when encountering Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver’s dog whistles, Republican Shreveport mayoral candidate Tom Arceneaux doesn’t seem to have the wherewithal to pursue intensely enough that office successfully.

The two survivors of the general election who will meet in the December runoff participated in a forum this week and answered questions cautiously throughout. Tarver had every reason to, being the perceived frontrunner with the numbers on his side.

Arceneaux didn’t. A candidate in that situation – a white Republican running against a black Democrat in a city with a majority of Democrats more than double Republican registrants and with a black majority electorate – must come out swinging to change the dynamics. Negative campaigning may grate, draw frowns from the chattering classes, and appear clich├ęd – but it works.

16.11.22

Numbers point to expected Tarver mayoral win

Race and partisanship, plus an unpopular incumbent, determined the Shreveport mayor’s general election – and the same dynamics point to the winner in the runoff, an analysis of precinct demographics and voting results from the election shows.

That contest featured five significant candidates: white Republican former city councilor Tom Arceneaux, Hispanic no party Caddo Parish Commissioner Mario Chavez, black Democrat City Councilor LeVette Fuller, black Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins, and black Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver. Arceneaux, with 28 percent, and Tarver, with 24 percent, advanced to the runoff; Chavez finished third with 18 percent, Perkins a bit behind him, followed by Fuller with 10 percent.

Using the statistical technique multiple linear regression with voter percentage for each candidate as the dependent variable and percentages of white Democrats, black Democrats, and Republicans as independent variables by precinct reveals the strength and direction, and whether significant, of support for each candidate by these important blocs, by isolating each factor with others held constant. Proportion of other race and party initially were analyzed, given Chavez’s race and non-affiliation, but in all analyses including of his proportions proved insignificant in statistical explanatory power.

15.11.22

On voting, Bossier head goes from pan to fire

The Gospel tells us why it’s important that the Bossier Parish Police Jury, Parish Administrator Butch Ford, and parish Registrar of Voters Stephanie Agee follow the law: “Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones.”

On Oct. 19, this space posted a piece about how the Jury didn’t appear in compliance with R.S. 33:1236.1 that dictates that the equivalent of a parish administrator must be a registered voter in that parish, when early this year it hired Joe Edward “Butch” Ford, Jr. for the position. At the time of publication, and since 1985, Ford had been registered to vote in Caddo Parish, Precinct 115.

On Oct. 21, Secretary of State records show Ford registered in Ward 04 Precinct 09 of Bossier Parish. As such, insofar as that statute and the Jury’s obligation to follow it goes it now is compliance with the law, 10 months late.

14.11.22

Black majority cities deny white non-Democrats

The passage of time with several examples this election cycle has demonstrated just how exceptionally Monroe independent Mayor Friday Ellis2020 victory transpired.

Ellis, who is white, grabbed the city’s top spot that summer by fending off black incumbent Democrat Jamie Mayo, who had held the office for nearly 20 years. He won despite the fact that 55 percent of voters registered as Democrats, 63 percent were black, and his main supporters (including his wife, a Republican on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) were Republicans.

The roadmap he laid out – in a majority black electorate present an agenda of competence as opposed to an incumbent increasingly detached from voters’ basic concerns but run without a major party label to attract non-Democrats and blacks hesitant to vote for a labeled Republican – gave hope to conservative candidates to win in Louisiana municipalities with these characteristics. At the same time, the nature of his victory made clear circumstances would have to be just right to pull it off.

11.11.22

Veterans' Day, 2022

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Sunday through Thursday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Friday, Nov. 11 being Veterans' Day, I invite you to explore the links connected to this page.

10.11.22

In NWLA elections, party matters most, usually

It may not hold true everywhere, but in northwest Louisiana’s two most populous parishes for local elections party now matters the most, but it and race as decisive factors in elections can be eclipsed by candidate quality.

Caddo and Bossier Parish school board elections along with Shreveport city council contests provide a wealth of examples confirming this. The 12 Bossier Parish School Board districts featured just two elections, but perhaps these most graphically demonstrated the strength of party identification.

District 11 served up a repeat of last year’s special election, pitting now incumbent Republican Robert Bertrand against independent Miki Royer. Last year, Bertrand took home 73 percent of the 932 cast, wahen Royer ran as a Democrat. Perhaps drawing a lesson from that, she shed her partisan label this year, but it didn’t help much even as the electorate increase by over 800 she only inched up to 34 percent in a district where almost 40 percent of the electorate registered as Republican.

9.11.22

State races confirm decline of white LA Democrats

The evidence that the white populist liberals who have controlled Louisiana Democrats from going on a century have run their course presented by the party’s candidates in federal electoral contests this week only was reinforced by the electoral showings of their state office candidates.

A few races, regular for Public Service Commission and special for state Senate, not only reinforced the minority party status of Louisiana Democrats but also heralded a continuing change in leadership away from traditional powerbrokers made up of white officeholders in government and party and their donors and contributors drawn from the ranks of courthouse hangers-on, trial lawyers, unions, and other special interests. In the U.S. Senate race, their diminished power showed when not only did Republican Sen. John Kennedy pull more than 60 percent of the vote, also their preferred Democrat contender finished third, well behind upstart/outsider Democrat Gary Chambers who improved on his third place finish in last year’s Second Congressional District contest.

Democrats only won in that majority-minority U.S. House district, returning Rep. Troy Carter, with Republican incumbents easily winning all others (one faced no competition). But that’s the only thing that went right for the party establishment.

As it turned out for the state contests, perhaps only one went as expected, where GOP Public Service Commissioner Mike Francis easily fended off a challenge from a field without a Democrat whose competitors hardly campaigned. The other PSC race in the body’s only majority-minority district laid bare intraparty rivalry among Democrats. Although black, Public Service Commissioner Lambert Bossiere III and his family have firm ties with party mandarins and while on the PSC he has fronted efforts to privilege renewable energy efforts that faction supports.

This it seems was not enough for climate alarmists who threw multiple black challengers out there. Altogether, they held Bossiere below an absolute majority to force a December runoff with their preferred candidate, leftist interest group administrator Davante Lewis, who squeaked past the others to join him. Bossiere well outspent the pack and should have enough in the tank to triumph, but his inability to win outright shows that more radical outsiders have gained traction on the establishment.

The New Orleans-based (with a slight slice of Jefferson Parish) Senate District 5 pitted two of the most leftist Democrats in the Louisiana House of Representatives against each other. In fact, only one major difference existed between black Royce Duplessis and white Mandie Landry: their skin color. As it is, the party activists that Landry hangs around with are more often with the establishment than those with whom Duplessis consorts.

The district had a large majority of Democrats and a slight white majority but only a plurality. Yet Duplessis won by capturing almost all black voters in heavily-black precincts while hanging tough in clear majority white ones, often matching Landry’s totals or coming close to those. He took advantage of wokeness and the white guilt it spawns in those of that race with that attitude, a campaign playbook for this kind of district that calls for reinforcing black solidarity while knowing leftist whites are more likely to vote for a black candidate than blacks will vote for a white. It’s a recipe that will put black Democrats in power at the expense of establishment whites.

Yet the most telling and discouraging result for the establishment came in the Senate District 17 race between Democrat state Rep. Jeremy LaCombe and GOP businessman Caleb Kleinpeter. The sprawling district north and west of Baton Rouge has a plurality of Democrats and about 35 percent black registration and is the kind Democrats must win in order to prevent supermajority rule by legislative Republicans, if not have a majority themselves. Its previous occupant had entered as a Democrat but then switched to the GOP.

With his 2019 district win and subsequent House experience, many observers considered LaCombe the favorite and perhaps able to win without a runoff. He also raised $300,000 and spent over half, perhaps holding a bit back for an expected December election, which was $100,00 more raised and $50,000 more spent than Kleinpeter.

But when the ballots were counted, he didn’t even make a runoff as Kleinpeter took the outright majority. Not only does this essentially lock in Kleinpeter, who articulates much more conservatism than his predecessor, for as many as 13 years to the seat, but it also brings into question whether LaCombe can survive against a Republican in a reelection attempt next year in a district with a lower proportion of blacks. (It’s quite possible his vote to uphold a gubernatorial veto in 2021 of a bill to prevent males from competing in all-female sports played a significant role in his defeat then, and perhaps will next year.)

He may become a statistic most closely associated with the decline of establishment Democrats: the almost total disappearance of whites of that label elected to the state’s majoritarian institutions or at the federal level. None of eight are in Congress, only two out of 20 are on the executive branch side, and the party has just two of 39 in the Senate and seven of 105 in the House. After the dust settles next year, all those state totals probably will be halved or more.

As national Democrats go further off the deep end and state Democrat activists loyally follow, even as the party continues its decline the influence of blacks in it will surge while that of whites is on a trajectory to all but disappear.

8.11.22

Federal LA results blow to Democrat leaders

Federal elections on Nov. 8 in Louisiana yielded mostly predictable results, which meant the crisis among the state’s Democrats intensified dramatically.

None of the federal level races were expected to be competitive, and that’s what transpired. Four of the five congressional districts at issue (in the Fourth District Democrats didn’t even bother to field a candidate against Republican Rep. Mike Johnson, and nobody else contested it) had solid GOP voting majorities going in, with the remaining Second District dominated by Democrats who didn’t send up any competition against the Sixth District’s Republican Rep. Garret Graves.

Thus, out of the three others, two drew a couple of weak Democrats and the First District’s GOP Rep. Steve Scalise drew just one. There turned out the Democrat who did the best of the bunch, best known for pushing a bizarre narrative that in order to kill babies you had to have one by cutting a campaign commercial that faked real-time coverage of her giving birth. She drew just 25 percent, although in the Fifth District Democrats combined there did a bit better while GOP Rep. Julia Letlow cruised to a win.

7.11.22

Ignore distorted criminal justice change claims

Don’t drink the Flavor Aid when it comes to criminal justice changes made in Louisiana five years ago, which when properly analyzed haven’t demonstrated significant savings or made Louisiana any safer, if not the reverse.

Back then, initial efforts commenced to decrease incarceration levels in the state by reducing punishments and not imprisoning more nonviolent offenders. Supposed savings in part would go to measures to reduce recidivism and assisting juvenile offender programs, and the main gatekeeper and partial beneficiary of the shift in dollars, the Department of Corrections, issued a report alleging over the span $152.6 million in savings attributed to the changes.

It concluded this from the declining number and length of incarcerations, with nonviolent criminals dropping by over half from 2016-21 although violent criminals ticked up by almost 10 percent, resulting in just over a 10 percent reduction in state prisoners and around 35 percent in local jails. Statutorily shorter sentences and increased use of probation decreased time spent imprisoned except for nonviolent sex offenders.

6.11.22

No accident Democrat apparatus pushing Wilson

As their power hangs in the balance, establishment, mostly white, Democrats in Louisiana have learned from their recent mistakes and seek a preemptive strike to shore up their eroding position by floating, with media cooperation, a preferred blue checkmark gubernatorial candidate for next year.

Make no mistake, the party powerbrokers are pushing Department of Transportation and Development Sec. Shawn Wilson to run in 2023, with the initial sortie through sympathetic leftist media figures. It began with the host of the only left-wing talk show in the state whose audience cracks four digits, Talk Louisiana’s Jim Engster, which allowed passing the baton to LAPolitics newsletter producer Jeremy Alford, and subsequently picked up by Tyler Bridges at the Baton Rouge Advocate, all in the past couple of weeks.

Party leaders in elected and party office have a quandary about next year’s contest. The lightning permitting the insertion of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards into office they know unlikely will strike twice so they could pursue an appeasement strategy by tacitly supporting a more moderate Republican candidate that gives them a decent chance of victory and at least some influence over policy over the next four years after.

3.11.22

LA early voting clues only to Democrat in-fights

Early voting in Louisiana tells a tale of disproportionately fewer black voters participating, presaging the total vote – but not that it will make much difference in most final outcomes.

When considering these early totals for the period that ended earlier this week, the state hit an all-time high for midterm elections (early voting became available in 2008) at just over 12 percent. Some notable aspects stand out.

First of all, when looking at statewide numbers historically, contrary to popular folklore asserting that blacks vote disproportionately early compared to whites, in Louisiana at least there has been no difference with race. The ratio of white/black turnout percentages of their total registrations voting early from 2008-2020 average was 1.14. The same computation for total voting (early plus election day) over that period was virtually identical, so both races voted in roughly the same proportions early to election day. However, this masks a trend that perhaps fueled the popular perception; even as blacks voted early at a higher proportion from 2008-14, since then whites have. So, a continuation of this more recent trend wouldn’t be a big surprise.

2.11.22

Blanket system not conducive to party harmony

It almost certainly will fall on deaf ears, it almost certainly won’t work, and it almost certainly won’t matter, but the most consequential outcome from the two most prominent Republican candidates for Louisiana governor in 2019 calling for the party to rally around one candidate for 2023 will be to highlight the infirmity of the state’s blanket primary system of elections, especially from the perspective of the majority party.

This week, both Eddie Rispone, who narrowly lost to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards in the 2019 runoff, and former Rep. Ralph Abraham, who narrowly trailed Rispone after the general election, called on the Republican State Central Committee to issue an endorsement of GOP Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, the only formally announced candidate for 2023. The state’s system – technically not featuring a primary election because this doesn’t award a nomination into the general election but is the general election itself – has all candidates regardless of label run together without a formal nomination process that stamps an official party candidate.

The two other announced, but not formally so, Republican candidates for the top job, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Treas. John Schroder, predictably thought little of the idea that they should step aside voluntarily. That’s no surprise: as snagging a runoff spot they think gives them a better-then-even chance of winning and especially against a Democrat if a quality candidate emerges from that party, why voluntarily surrender before a shot is fired?

1.11.22

Echoes of establishment/reform tilt in SD 31

The contest 50 weeks away for Louisiana’s Senate District 31 has shaped up to turn back the clock 16 years in pitting a known conservative against an opponent with questions about his true beliefs.

In 2007, upon the term limitation of Shreveport Republican Max Malone for Senate District 37, GOP former state Rep. Buddy Shaw from Shreveport, who had retired after two terms in 2003,  looked to succeed him in the district that spanned southern Caddo and Bossier Parishes. He faced a formidable foe in Republican state Rep. Billy Montgomery of Haughton who was term-limited like Malone after serving in his post for 20 years. Three other quality candidates competed (including future holder of the seat Republican Barrow Peacock) but when the dust settled those two headed to the runoff.

Caddo Parish registrants outnumbered Bossier’s 53 to 47 percent, but Montgomery piled up a huge spending advantage. In this election, relying heavily on print and electronic outreach, he would spend nearly $300,000 to make it into the runoff and over $500,000 total – at the time the most ever for a legislative contest. (That would be topped by just over $10,000 12 years later in neighboring District 36 when GOP state Sen. Ryan Gatti failed to secure reelection, although in his case a much higher proportion was self-financed.)

31.10.22

Legislature can defeat Edwards' sue/settle deal

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards strikes again on behalf of trial lawyer allies and additionally for climate alarmism, but the Legislature can moot the deleterious impact upon the citizenry.

Last week, the state’s Department of Natural Resources intervened to sign a settlement on behalf of four parish governments, out of a dozen, who had refused to ratify this that would have Freeport McMoRan pay $100 million to these entities for alleged environmental degradation as a result of their past activities. Roughly 200 other firms face over 40 similar actions.

The terms commit the company to pay out $15 million in 2024 and $4.25 million in each of the next two years, and in that span and over the succeeding 17 years the balance can come from sale of environmental credits, which fund environmental restoration and can be sold to others to offset the obligation. However, for any of this to go into effect, a regulatory agency must be created by the Legislature to control disbursement. If that doesn’t happen by 2024, only the first year of payment remains and that may end up in the pocket of private land owners. Continued inaction eventually scuttles every other aspect.

30.10.22

BC must reject broke BPSB's dubious deal

It looks as if one zombie was killed off, but another seems poised to start terrorizing taxpayers in Bossier City and Bossier Parish.

The City Council will pass budget ordinances this week, minus a contemplated $55,000 to hire a presumed specialist in civil service procedures working out of the city attorney’s office. At two points in time, the Council had on the agenda hiring an individual – the father of city Chief Administrative Officer Amanda Nottingham – but wisely pulled back. This expenditure never made any sense, as surely the intricacies of civil service law weren’t beyond City Attorney Charles Jacobs and his staff that would require intervention by a retired senior police official for a few months to sort out.

The excuse had been that former Police Chief Chris Estess – a veteran of nearly 35 years in the department – was too unknowledgeable about that area of policy and needed help. But with Estess shown the door and the request now dropped, are we to assume new chief Daniel Haugen – a two-decade veteran and husband of city Comptroller Molly Haugen – is up to speed on all that, hence no more need for an extra temporary hire?

27.10.22

Not worst, but bad news coming for LA Democrats

Early voting in Louisiana has commenced and data from the most recent poll of the Senate contest shows the biggest question about it is whether existing elite Democrats can hang onto power in their own party and whether the party stays relevant.

Public Policy Polling, aligned with leftist interests and somewhat notorious for its willingness to push voters but also much less expensive, conducted one in early October. To nobody’s surprise, incumbent Republican Sen. John Kennedy lapped the field, whose 53 percent indicates unsurprisingly he would win without a runoff.

That was the case even with the push question included, which asked about willingness to vote for him upon realizing he voted against the Democrats’ massive special interest-fueled spending bill from this summer. Rather embarrassingly for the pollster, respondents said overall they would become more likely to support Kennedy knowing that. (This can’t be good news for the state’s other GOP senator, Bill Cassidy, who voted for it.)

26.10.22

Perkins tax gambit fails to absolve his failure

Shreveport Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins has been trying to post a lot of wins lately in his bid to retain his job, but his reading of tax accountability and roads responsibility won’t be one of these.

Over the past month, Perkins has trotted out a series of alleged policy-making victories as he makes the case to win reelection. He boasted about a drop in crime over the past several months, even as it remains higher than when he assumed office and won’t drop at all over his term unless the recent trend continues. He crowed about building a whole new ballpark at the Fairgrounds and bringing in a minor league baseball team, even as it remained entirely uncertain whether that ever could happen or what the city would pay and the city still must deal with a half-demolished hunk of an old stadium. He bragged that he launched, in conjunction with the library system, free wireless Internet provision in some parts of town although without a plan to continue funding its operation as its capital costs came from one-time money. Plus, the city filed suit against its former consent decree contractor, claiming improprieties to claw back hundreds of millions of dollars that it probably won’t see again even as three or four times that amount remains to be spent in meeting a timetable unlikely to be attained.

Of course, in that span he suffered some losses he rather would have avoided. Chiefly, a former employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit contending that he was fired, backed by Perkins, because he revealed financial irregularities with payroll and Perkins’ travel expenses. That came on the heels of a Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s report confirming the legal problems behind the travel expenses.

25.10.22

Sensible sales decision escapes BC on other items

The only thing worse than a governing authority making an unpopular decision is subsequently butchering its implementation, as Bossier City discovered with its new $12 parking fee at the city-owned, money-losing Brookshire Grocery Arena. Which should teach it a lesson in intruding into matters better handled by the private sector it finally tentatively seems ready to learn after decades.

With little publicity, at the beginning of the month the city revealed the new fee, to be collected in a cashless form using smartphone applications. It went into effect for an Oct. 7 concert, and social media lit up afterwards with horror stories about how the system didn’t work. Complaints about incredible lag times if being able to connect at all, double charging some, or not charging others filled posts and comments, which also extended to general justifiable griping such as poor air conditioning performance and restrooms barren of supplies. No doubt a portion of these filtered to city councilors.

Citizens justifiably were outraged, as not only do they own the building awash in red ink, but now they have to pay for parking next to their own white elephant. Since 2010, a budget year which ended with the Arena Special Revenue Fund that tracks the profitability of the arena having a balance of -$261,284, through last year the facility has lost $6,413,517, requiring $6,953,663 in transfers from other city revenues to leave a balance of $278,863. And, this doesn’t count the tens of millions of dollars spent since then for maintenance.

24.10.22

Edwards politicized kid jab flip-flop exposed

On the issue of Wuhan coronavirus vaccinations for students, Louisiana’s Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards keeps finding his ideology putting him into politically embarrassing situations.

Last year, Edwards went gung ho on making Louisiana only one of two states that would force schoolchildren to receive such a vaccination, unless parents opted out. His Department of Health promulgated a rule to take effect this fall to do that, then after a House of Representatives panel vetoed that he overruled it. His action fit the politicized nature that marked his policy-making in this area that sought to leverage the issue as a method to increase command and control by government over the citizenry.

However, the evidence against such unwise policy, clear then, became even more so as the calendar changed to this year. The “vaccine” isn’t one but merely a prophylactic that more often than not prevents virus contraction or reduces its impact; it doesn’t prevent transmission, and as the virus involves increasingly doesn’t even work as a prophylactic. And, as almost no children of school age contracting it suffered more than minor symptoms, much less died from it, there was little reason to make vaccination a default condition for attending classes. Worse, there still is medical uncertainty about whether the vaccines, the first ever based upon messenger RNA, have serious long-term side effects, most specifically heart conditions concerning male youths, posing questions that may take decades to resolve that makes discretion the better part of valor.

23.10.22

Right call to bounce adviser willing to pursue ESG

There’s good reason for Louisiana Republican Treasurer John Schroder and the State Bond Commission he heads to have ended a dozen-year relationship with a firm that advises the SBC: because they found one more knowledgeable therefore likely to make better decisions.

Current adviser Lamont Financial Services found itself ousted last week when the SBC voted to award the contract to Public Resources Advisory Group (PRAG), which has similar deals with 18 other states. The adviser makes recommendations for financing deals looking for the lowest interest rates on state debt.

Although Lamont’s longtime liaison with the state plans to retire, what probably contributed more the switch was remarks made by its founder Bob Lamb about the role of “environmental/social/governance” criteria in making decisions. ESG is a somewhat nebulous concept but typically means making investing decisions on the basis of these nonpecuniary objectives. Increasingly a number of investment funds have included these criteria that brings up controversy because political viewpoints define these. This could mean, for example, a fund won’t invest in a certain industry because of its area of business, or a certain business because of labor practices, or a certain country because of its system of government over ideological displeasure with these.

Schroder has declared that he will not do business with entities that practice viewpoint discrimination, specifically mentioning banks that won’t lend to businesses related to firearms and funds that use ESG criteria, which connotes viewpoint discrimination, and has hinted that the state may end sharing of information with credit rating agencies that use ESG as part of their process. Another SBC member, GOP Atty. Gen Jeff Landry, has issued an opinion how ESG criteria likely runs afoul of state law in a number of areas.

But when queried about ESG exclusion, Lamb sounded skeptical, arguing that by automatically excluding those kinds of vendors the state may miss out on better deals. For its part, the senior managing director of PRAG, Wendell Gaertner, during the vetting expressed that ESG should receive no special emphasis.

As it is, the data support the idea to disregard ESG when it comes to investing. A Harvard Business Review article earlier this year summarizes the most recent research into whether investment by ESG principles has any impact on returns, with an answer that if it does likely it would be negative

Specifically, funds with articulated ESG objectives generally fare more poorly in financial terms than the universe of funds. And while investors might wish to sacrifice returns to achieve the political results, in fact funds specifically chasing ESG often don’t even attain those goals compared to funds without specific criteria, with one study revealing on labor and environmental rules that they have worse compliance than funds that don’t have such criteria. Even more interestingly, when explicitly ESG funds added companies in which to invest, those additions didn’t improve compliance by those firms.

Indeed, public relations appears as a major motivator to specific ESG pledges. ESG scores of company signatories to the United Nations’ Principles of Responsible Investment didn’t improve once a firm signed on and their financial returns were lower and risk higher than non-signers. Some evidence shows that companies publicly embrace ESG as a tactic to explain away poor financial performance, using it as an excuse.

In sum, the authors speculate that prudent managers take a variety of factors into their decision-making, ESG included, and that following an ESG strategy distorts that by overemphasizing it to the detriment of return. Thus, “[t]he conclusion to be drawn from this evidence seems pretty clear: funds investing in companies that publicly embrace ESG sacrifice financial returns without gaining much, if anything, in terms of actually furthering ESG interests.”

Schroder and the SBC got it right. They owe citizens the best fiduciary stewardship of their money, and advice that treats ESG objectives on par with returns disserves the public on that account, the evidence shows.

20.10.22

Shreveport mayor forums do little to move needle

While largely low key, the Triple Crown of Shreveport mayoral forums this week couldn’t provide much in the way of information for voters, but it did give the candidates a chance to test out and shoot down some of each other’s main talking points.

Over three straight nights, local television stations presented topical forums, covering policies dealing with crime, economic development, and infrastructure. The format of answers less than a minute gave little opportunity for the candidates selected to participate – Republican former City Councilor Tom Arceneaux, no party Caddo Parish Commissioner Mario Chavez, Democrat Councilor LeVette Fuller, Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins, and Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver who opted out of the final one on infrastructure – to speak in more than broad platitudes, but, even so, on occasion succeeded in drawing contrasts to each other.

The embattled incumbent Perkins expectedly aggrandized his record, alleging that under his watch crime was down and the city’s fiscal health improved, pointing to most recent statistics that indicated increased city revenues and lower crime rates. He also took credit for some individual successes, such as pay raises for city employees, the expected buildout of an Amazon fulfillment center, and a supposedly incoming new baseball field with team to go with it in place of the half-demolished Fairgrounds Field, currently still standing only because of a court order halting any further destruction over health concerns.

19.10.22

Bossier jurors indifferent to following law

It seems Bossier Parish can’t stay away from controversy regarding the qualifications of its parish administrator – and its Police Jury apparently doesn’t care whether it follows the law.

Earlier this year, longtime parish engineer Joe Edward “Butch” Ford, Jr. was named to replace retiring longtime parish administrator Bill Altimus. However, earlier this week during their weekly Internet narrowcast Bossier Watch hosts Rex Moncrief and Duke Lowrie, in response to an anonymized e-mail message, brought up that Ford apparently isn’t a registered voter in the parish and therefore wouldn’t be eligible to serve in that position.

The parish doesn’t have a home rule charter and thus state statute defines its government. R.S. 33:1236.1 empowers parishes to appoint a “manager” – which would equate to a parish administrator – and assistant, but both must be registered voters in the parish.

18.10.22

LA should resist wasteful carbon capture aid

Climate alarmists have become so panicky that they’ve started to sabotage their own efforts in Louisiana – and if they were intellectually honest, they would have started a lot earlier to put more extensively the brakes on the extremely high cost, low return, government-directed move away from fossil fuel usage

Their house organ Louisiana Illuminator recently ran a piece about the drawbacks of carbon capture and sequestration, at least in terms of its use of other resources, specifically water used by utilities. It points out the huge volume necessary that would severely strain, if not overwhelm, available water sources across the state in a quest to suck out carbon from energy producers largely using fossil fuels.

Naturally enough, the article doesn’t delve into the cost issue, which would be catastrophically high: CCS technology in a standalone air capture situation such as described costs up to $120 a ton, many times the cost of producing the electricity. This then, if the entire state Public Service Commission followed the lead of its more scientifically-ignorant members, ordinarily would come out of ratepayers’ pockets.

17.10.22

Another wake-up call to fix scoring jolts BESE

Louisiana graduating high school students’ miserable performance on the ACT college readiness test not only throws a crimp into the state’s higher education master plan, it also screams even more loudly to reform a school accountability picture that at present deceives.

Last week, the ACT organization released last year’s results. As does five other states, Louisiana requires all high school students to take the exam, while another eight states have regulations that lead to over 90 percent of such students to do the same. Theoretically, the fewer students that take it, the higher the average of those who do, because lower achievers are disproportionately disinterested in pursuing post-secondary education and don’t sit for the test.

The state finished fifth-worst overall, the same within the cohort of 14 of 90 percent-plus takers. This was the fifth yearly decline in a row, so, even if the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic likely had a negative impact exogenous to typical educating, the erosion began well before that and demonstrates a genuine trend, although that fall has been seen at the national level as well. Louisiana’s 18.1 composite score was 1.7 below the national average and 0.55 below its cohort.

16.10.22

Lax rules nets BC councilor big taxpayer bucks

If you live in Bossier Parish, make yourself at home at Republican Bossier City Councilor David Montgomery’s residence, his office building very near where the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway will terminate, or at his four acres off Swan Lake Road. After all, you and your fellow citizens paid for them by putting nearly $2.8 million in his pocket since 2008.

Montgomery by far has received more money for doing business – selling insurance – with political subdivisions than any other current member of the City Council, personal disclosure forms filed with the state reveal. New members Republicans Chris Smith and Brian Hammons from 2020 haven’t received a cent, nor have the grayer beards of Democrat Bubba Williams since 2008 and Republican Jeff Free from 2012. Williams, like Montgomery and no party Jeff Darby, all of whom had served on the Council prior to 2008, has no public information about his finances reported before then because that was when the state instituted new ethics laws mandating this recording.

Only newcomer Republican Vince Maggio, who since 2020 has made through his grocery store about $12,000 in lottery sales commissions, and Darby, whose total received through contracts by his counseling firm over the years (last in 2018) with state corrections comes up just over a half million dollars, have any income from political subdivisions other that salaries and per diem payments for their public service. Notably, these came from the state, with Maggio’s an automatic byproduct and Darby’s competing with other providers statewide. (For his part, GOP Mayor Tommy Chandler reported no income from other political subdivisions in 2020-21.)

13.10.22

Reports suggest Arceneaux-Tarver runoff on tap

If campaign finance reports reflect at least somewhat strength in the electorate, Shreveport’s mayoral race looks to be coalescing around a runoff between Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver and former city councilor Republican Tom Arceneaux.

Reports with activity through the end of September showed these two candidates plus no party Caddo Parish Commissioner Mario Chavez had raised and spent the most money throughout the campaign and had the most on hand entering the home stretch, with Tarver leading in all. Notably, Tarver began campaigning long after the other two, although he could draw upon his Senate campaign resources.

However, a noticeable gap exists in money on hand, crucial to making across the finish line in the top two places as inevitably no candidate will receive an absolute majority. While both Arceneaux and Tarver had over $200,000 left – and Tarver nearly double that – Chavez had fewer than $45,000. More disturbingly for his campaign, since Tarver announced his candidacy in late July Chavez attracted only about 20 donations comprising not even five percent of his total raised.

12.10.22

Landry group fighting unrealistic energy policy

While climate alarmists seek to hurtle into renewable energy use by advancing their agenda through unwise regulatory reform – fought by Louisiana Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry – even if the federal government gained power over siting power transmission lines the expansion turns out to be an exercise in impracticality, keenly felt by Louisiana-based power providers if not an object of fakery by them.

As the Democrat Congress raced towards producing even a stopgap budget for next year due at the end of last month, the party’s least-liberal member, West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, tried to attach an energy-related bill to the effort. Its most controversial part would have given the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the power to force states to accept transmission lines.

At present, states, who can delegate this authority to their local governments, have sole authority to permit such lines. Advocates of solar and wind energy consider this an impediment to expanding these sources’ footprint, as lower-cost generation of this kind of power tends to concentrate regionally, and in recent years hundreds of state and local actions have denied this access.

11.10.22

Audit on Perkins shows him stupid or plays dumb

The timing could not have been worse for Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins, fighting a tough reelection battle, to have voters hear from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor a review of his shady practices from the moment he entered office.

This week, the LLA released an audit covering two questions about Perkins’ behavior in office as it related to fiscal regulations. It mentioned the one-off effort came from numerous complaints apparently from inside and outside of city government about the switch in insurance carriers for excess workers’ compensation and property and also about payments for Perkins’ travel expenses.

Public knowledge abounded about the property insurer claim – a Perkins ally ended up brokering a change that eventually cost the city much more than by sticking with the previous agent, although the City Council belatedly approved it despite selection not following city policy – but few at the time knew Perkins in late 2018 also on his own authority (and apparently before his inauguration) dumped the workers’ compensation insurer, also in place since 2006, and, again abjuring city policy, didn’t follow purchasing regulations nor received Council approval. Perkins claims he asked the city to use a local vendor and have a competitive selection process, but interviewees said he ordered them to use a specific agent.

10.10.22

Statewide contests look to produce GOP schism

The entry of Republican state Rep. John Stefanski into the Louisiana attorney general’s race next year may reflect a battle for control over power in the state’s Republican Party between prominent politicians aligned with its conservative and moderate wings.

Stefanski becomes the third candidate to announce having a go at the post current GOP Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry shortly thereafter confirmed he was vacating after his term is up when he declared formally his intention to run for governor. One of Landry’s top deputies, Solicitor General Liz Murrill, a Republican, long ago declared as did no party Third District Attorney John Belton.

Murrill is a close political ally of Landry’s with each considered staunch conservatives, and as such Stefanski’s move puts him at loggerheads with Landry. Yet less well publicized are professional and policy ties that Stefanski has with Landry opponent GOP Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.

9.10.22

Bureaucrats subverting BC citizens park access

We have learned over the past month that “quality of life” provided by the spendthrifts in Bossier City government means not just paying for operating and maintaining a tennis facility almost none of its citizens utilize, for parking at its money-losing arena, but also for diamond sports facilities that the city won’t let them use in favor of outsiders and special interests.

Last week, the City Council initially considered apportioning $3 million in debt to build additional parking at its Tinsley Athletic Complex, which has an extensive collection of fields for several sports, most prominently football/soccer fields and baseball/softball diamonds. The head of the Bossier City Department of Parks and Recreation Clay Bohannon and Louis Cook, its head of maintenance, told the Council that on weekends and nights, especially Saturdays and Mondays, the place was jam-packed. This is part came in response to around $14 million of taxpayer dollars spent on adding several fields at the end of last year.

This led to a series of questions by Republican Councilors Brian Hammons and Chris Smith as to why, with all the land office business racked up during weekends and nights, the department disallowed field rentals during weekend days, a common complaint they received from citizens. In it, the councilors kept offering suggestions while the bureaucrats did their level best, often in arrogant and condescending tones, to shoot these down and insist what they did now was the only reasonable course of action.

6.10.22

Gubernatorial campaign moves already on display

The game is afoot for governor, Republican Treas. John Schroder let the attentive public know after GOP Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry formally entered the race.

Schroder, who at the beginning of the year said he would be in with a formal announcement some time in the future, yesterday proclaimed that in the more than 30 state trust funds over which he has control he would drop investment firm BlackRock products over the next three months. He said he would divest around $800 million worth because of the company’s outspoken support of investment goals that include discriminating against corporations in the fossil fuel sector, noting that introducing politicized investment objectives interferes with a fiduciary responsibility to maximize the value of state deposits on behalf of its citizens.

The announcement was very welcome, if not long overdue. Almost a year ago West Virginia made the same move, adding that BlackRock’s problematic Chinese holdings contributed to the decision, and like Louisiana is a part of a coalition of states that pledged to investigate investment firms that practiced viewpoint discrimination. That move came about a month after the pledge, with its subject matter Schroder saying back then he would review and take action.

5.10.22

Favorite Landry's entry puts race into full swing

He fell a few months short of the coyness record, but the favorite for assuming Louisiana’s governorship in 2024 finally made it official, refreshing the contest’s dynamics.

Republican Atty. Gen Jeff Landry today joined fellow GOP members Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Treas. John Schroder in the field in what already has turned as the highest-profile clash of statewide elected officials in the state’s history: never have three of the five currently elected top officers of the state contested for the state’s top job. Ever since winning reelection in 2019, widespread speculation had Landry running, who did nothing to discourage that, and with one of his chief deputies declaring months ago for his job, his entrance was inevitable. However, he didn’t come close to Republican former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s marathon of waiting until a mere three months prior to the election, months after Democrat former Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced she wouldn’t run for reelection, to make it official.

No matter, as in the case of Jindal grass hasn’t grown under Landry’s feet either in the interim. As of year’s beginning, he had raised more money than either of the other two, both directly and indirectly and likely has distanced himself further since. Moreover, compared to the other two Landry has had much greater opportunity to place himself in the public consciousness by virtue of his position. Here and there an issue has come up for Nungesser and Schroder that they could leverage to publicize their credentials for higher office, but Landry has capitalized on an avalanche of these, chiefly because he had the bad political fortune but good electoral fortune of having Democrat John Bel Edwards in office during his entire tenure, piled on by Democrat Pres. Joe Biden assuming office in 2021. Both have engaged in policy-making, often overstepping their bounds, inimical to Landry’s solid conservatism that has given him plenty of opportunities as the state’s chief legal officer to dispute judicially, and that often has led to victory.

4.10.22

We don't need to care about no LA Senate debate

The Council for a Better Louisiana’s head hit the nail on the head about why it’s unlikely there will be any televised candidate forum — often imprecisely called a “debate” — for this fall’s Louisiana Senate race. And it doesn’t matter.

CABL has tried to sponsor one — the way it works legally is some organization puts one together and then news outlets can “cover” it as a news event — with the three candidates likely to receive more than a couple percentage points of the vote: incumbent Republican Sen. John Kennedy, Democrat community organizer and past congressional candidate Gary Chambers, and Democrat pilot Luke Mixon. It even had a date set, Oct. 20.

However, it won’t happen because Kennedy’s campaign won’t commit exactly then. That’s completely understandable from a strategic standpoint. A heavy favorite in part because of high popular approval, someone in Kennedy’s position has everything to lose and nothing to gain by participation, while his opponents operate under the reverse dynamic. Even allowing them to appear on the same stage elevates their status comparatively, which an overwhelming favorite wouldn’t want to encourage.

3.10.22

Reject most LA Nov. 8 constitutional amendments

Louisianans face a mixed bag of constitutional amendments coming up on Nov. 8 that mostly deserve rejection.

Amendment #1 – would allow an increase to 65 percent from 35 percent in most cases the proportion of money in equities that seven trust funds worth $3.4 billion at present may invest. The state historically has engaged sober-minded firms to advise here, so this change should increase the overall levels of these over time without undue risk. YES.

Amendment #2 – would expand the property tax exemption for totally disabled veterans and to those partially disabled and surviving spouses. Disabled veterans already enjoy the most generous exemption in a system riddled with all kinds whose exceptions erode more and more local government tax bases. This is an issue that local voters should decide and not have imposed on a statewide basis. NO.

2.10.22

BC quality-of-life: pay for parking at your arena

Of the many questions Bossier City councilors have failed to ask during its budgeting process, certainly now the most public has become the decision to charge $12 event parking at the money-losing Brookshire Grocery Arena and the disposition of those dollars.

This week, the Council will have introduced its 2023 budget ordinances, due for final passage two weeks after that. The salient theme has been a significant increase in group insurance costs without, excepting the Department of Parks and Recreation and legally-mandated increases for public safety personnel with at least three years on the job, allowing for a salary increase for city employees it might afford otherwise if not so indebted.

From the city’s end, the introduced ordinances offered, in all but a few instances, two to three percent reductions in group insurance from numbers floated at the budget workshop in early September. However, these savings didn’t translate into salary boosts with that instead spread to other kinds of spending.

29.9.22

LA college reform, not more spending, needed

It’s good to review occasionally the condition of Louisiana’s higher education funding, as the interest group Public Affairs Research Council did recently, especially trenchant with the ambitious master plan adopted by the Board of Regents three years ago. But to understand best policy, you have to ask the right questions.

The PAR note on financing trends observes how means of finance have changed since 2005. Back then, almost 60 percent came from the state general fund and dedications, while only about a third tuition and fees supplied. Last year, the proportions basically had shifted. Meanwhile, only in the past couple of years has financing in total dollars surpassed the previous high mark in 2008.

This doesn’t bode well for the master plan, which seeks to increase over a third the proportion of Louisianans with a college degree in 2018 by 2030, if it’s assumed more money must be thrown at the problem to achieve the goal. In its summation, PAR also repeats some of the usual talking points without proper context that seem to indict the state’s contribution, that it “struggles” with funding higher education, that its appropriations per student ranks among the lowest in the country and southern region, and that to offset the reset since 2008 tuition has gone up by about three-quarters.

28.9.22

Processing tax swap for personal income tax fails

Like herpes, the bad idea of an oil processing tax, shilled forever by Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, just keeps coming back.

Campbell kept his mouth shut about it, the idea of levying a tax on each barrel of oil refined, for the last six years. He recently brought it back as discussion has taken place among some lawmakers to eliminate Louisiana’s state individual income tax, with his suggestion of swapping the two (not a new idea of his).

Currently, the state levies a severance tax on oil taken from the ground (including its territorial waters), which presumably is refined in the state. But that comprises only (in 2021) 34.7 million annually, compared to the 873.6 million processed (Campbell spouts the ratio of 49:1 total to state oil processed, but the actual figure is more like 25:1). So, assuming today’s West Texas Intermediate crude price of about $82 a barrel, around 0.073 percent a barrel will get you to the $4.3 billion hole that would be created – discounting dynamic effects that would spur the economy to increase tax collections in other forms – by lopping off the individual income tax.

27.9.22

LPSC must prevent deal from gouging ratepayers

For many Louisiana ratepayers, their cost of electricity could go unnecessarily higher unless the Public Service Commission stays vigilant and doesn’t lapse into following political fashion.

Last week, the body gave final approval to Entergy Louisiana, which outside of its separate New Orleans entity provides electricity for almost all of the state except for its western-most parts, to incorporate up to 475 MW of power from four solar producers, one of which it will own and three from which it will buy. This alone, set to come online fully in mid-2023, will triple existing solar and wind generation capacity within the state, which at present accounts for just about two percent of total generation, the lowest among the 50 states.

That paucity isn’t a bad thing. In part, it allows the state to have relatively low residential rates with high consumption, although overall consumption is driven by industry. Although geography can cause significant individual fluctuations, overall renewable forms of energy cost much more to produce for a variety of reasons, including transmission, its non-dispatchable form, and necessity of dispatchable backup. Over time, as the portfolio of energy tilts more in the direction of greater portion of renewable energy, the more extra ratepayers must shell out as compared to use of fossil fuels.

26.9.22

End of kid jab mandate points to needed reform

With no fanfare, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Department of Health formally repealed its needless and counterproductive Wuhan coronavirus vaccination requirement for school children, ending a controversy that it never should have started.

Even this was botched. It appeared in the September Louisiana Register that details changes to administrative law, weeks after school had started which subjected children as young as toddlers to the burden. That’s because it was put in the works in May, just after an attempt by the Republican-led Legislature to cancel it, and the excuse Edwards then gave for choosing that timing – that the state kept waiting on full authorization for its use from the federal government – if really the main reason would have been timed better to allow the rule to become final prior to the beginning of classes.

But, because of that publicity, likely almost every school district in the state didn’t press the issue last month – except Orleans Parish, which, along with a very few and Democrat-run districts nationwide, stubbornly kept it in place. Fortunately, state law also allows families to opt out their children, which will blunt the impact of the directive.