Search This Blog

29.12.22

Perkins, Tarver deliver opposite legacies

They entered Shreveport politics connected, and basically they’ll leave that way — one among the most influential ever, the other a blip on the radar who made next to no impact and seems unlikely to do much in politics again.

The Shreveport mayor’s race knocked out the careers both of Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins — who’ll surrender his post this weekend — and Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver. The latter does have a year to go in his term-limited Senate office, but for all intents and purposes a nearly half-century run (interrupted for eight years) ended with his defeat earlier this month to Republican Tom Arceneaux — his first election loss ever.

City politics were indelibly defined by Tarver’s service at the parish, city, and legislative levels. He was in the phalanx of the first black politicians elected to local office, at a time where blacks didn’t have much economic power yet even less political power.

28.12.22

Legislature must tap brakes on LA CCS mania

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards finds it necessary to defend his enthusiasm for carbon capture and sequestration projects, which means Louisianans need to defend themselves from his pro-CCS policy.

Last week, the process drew near the end on one of three large CCS projects currently announced in its seeking state permission with hearings about pumping carbon collected from air emissions into a well drilled under Lake Maurepas. The desire for CCS spawns from the speculative and unverified belief that too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere somehow will raise worldwide temperatures enough as to trigger catastrophic anthropogenic global warning.

This alarmist faith, in the minds of its acolytes (although some reject CCS because they irrationally hate the use of fossil fuels), justifies the ruinous expenses associated with CCS, even as altogether projects in use or planned would rein in about a fifth of their goal of over 1.25 trillion metric tons a year by 2050 as part of a net zero emissions strategy in concert with other tactics. It would require enormous government subsidization to make the effort anywhere near cost effective.

27.12.22

Other LA actions discourage work, need reversal

Besides presence of Medicaid expansion/health insurance subsidies and unemployment insurance benefit amounts, other factors also explain why Louisiana has a low unemployment rate yet low labor force participation rate.

As previously noted, payoffs from those two benefits can convey a significant sum to families to discourage work; in Louisiana, maximum unemployment benefits plus half eligible subsidies for a two-parent family of four can amount to more than the annual salary of a retail associate or firefighter. However, a couple of other instances of policy-making in the state also contribute to discouraging work.

One comes from its embrace, eschewed by a majority of states, of a state-level earned income tax credit. Although lauded even by some conservative policy-makers, the data show that while it rewards for work, it doesn’t encourage people to go to work (as well as for those who work discourages them from working more or more productively). Thus, if a family has one able-bodied adult working, the EITC may discourage others from doing so because additional income can reduce or even disqualify reception of it. The bright side is Louisiana’s low rate (temporarily 5.25 percent but on track soon to revert to its normal level one-third lower) minimizes the deleterious impact.

26.12.22

LA low unemployment misleads; policy to blame

If you hear Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration figures crowing about record-low unemployment, it’s to hide the fact that his policies also have helped to create near record-high working-age able-bodied adult idleness.

This month, the state continued a streak of declining unemployment rates, at 3.3 percent in November. Tellingly, however, is that this didn’t approach the most Louisianans ever in jobs, even as the state has its highest population ever.

That’s because the workforce participation rate stayed at its lowest level in 45 years (absent the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic-influenced low of a couple of years ago). Only 58.3 percent of working-age able-bodied adults in the state work, well below the national average which itself remains near historic lows.

25.12.22

Christmas Day, 2022

This column publishes every Monday through Friday 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 Monday through Friday 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 Sunday, Dec. 25 being Christmas Day, I invite you to explore this link.

22.12.22

Lawmakers must close local govt records loophole

What is characterized as a slip-up at a recent Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting illustrates a yawning gap in Louisiana’s public records laws that the Legislature needs to fix next year.

If you weren’t in the Jury’s chambers of the Bossier Parish courthouse for its meeting this week, you’re out of luck in knowing any details about some vital issues. At it, the fiscal year 2023 budget was dealt with, as well fee changes and restructuring its utility arm the Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1, and also the outcome from the Jury placing a new member on the parish’s Library Board of Control, which over the past couple of years has seen citizen members depopulated in favor of jurors.

Perhaps the most important meeting of the year citizens only can find out about if they wait around about a month to have posted in print and online the official minutes, which contain ordinance texts and vote results, but no real detail about discussions. If they want any details, they will have to resort to copious and burdensome public records requests.

21.12.22

LA might produce another reapportionment case

Possibly, Louisiana could find itself at the forefront of two attempts to redefine electoral reapportionment over the coming year.

This year, the state faced a challenge to its reapportionment of congressional districts. Although the state’s black population comprises nearly a third of the total, the state drew only one of six districts with a black majority. Given the dispersion of black population statewide, trying to carve two majority-minority districts, with extremely slim majorities only possible, would rupture established reapportionment jurisprudence, particularly the ability of a jurisdiction to keep communities of interest together.

Nevertheless, deep-pocketed special interests sued the state, arguing an extremely race-conscious, results-determined view that, contrary to established jurisprudence, race must take precedence over all other traditional criteria or, more specifically, wherever an M/M district could be drawn to ensure the proportion of such districts was close to if not exceeded the racial minority population that a jurisdiction had to do that. A few other such cases in different states also were launched by largely the same special interests.

20.12.22

Bank, don't spend, LA's stagflation largesse

It’s another chance for Louisiana to show some fiscal sanity, an opportunity it often misses and only partially took advantage of last year.

Although the country is wracked by stagflation caused by massive government borrowing and spending by Washington Democrats, state and local governments benefit from direct payments and by pushing larger tax collections off that into their pockets as well. That has added up to a budget surplus for Louisiana for the past fiscal year concluded and promise of surplus for this one, the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference ruled last week. It predicts the final FY 2022 numbers will come in $727 million extra and forecasts an increase of about $900 million over the last estimate for FY 2023.

The former figure is spoken for constitutionally by a half-dozen nonrecurring potential uses, but the latter is wide open for exploitation into making new recurring commitments. Faced with a similar situation last year, lawmakers blew part of it on new but mostly unneeded new commitments such as educator pay raises. That occurred recklessly as the state not only faces some daunting long-term commitments but also a major, if perhaps temporary, revenue reduction starting in 2025 with the temporary 0.45 percent sales tax increase of 2018 rolling off the books that will send lower sales tax collections by an estimated almost $300 million.

19.12.22

Safe seat LA Democrats must go woke or broke

For Louisiana Democrats and safe seat elections, it truly has become go woke or go broke.

Going “woke,” or subscribing to far leftist conspiracy theories that many current government policies propagate systemic racism, oppress the poor, discriminate against people who want to be treated according to a sex identity category that differs from their actual biology, doom the planet to catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, etc. spells electoral disaster statewide and in most district elections. In statewide contests and a large majority of districts, a center-right electorate easily spots and defeats candidates who subscribe to and articulate these fantasies and instead almost always elect Republicans.

That has become increasingly true as state and local elections have become nationalized, a trend strengthened by closer association with party labels to candidate ideology and greater ease in the ability of national political agents to intervene in these contests. But in some districts, mostly majority-black and in all of which Democrats can win, nationalization has spurred on woke candidates.

18.12.22

Few gain, most lose from more BC tennis courts

The reasons why Bossier City wants to bill taxpayers $1.5 million for six tennis courts (plus parking) are Republican City Councilor David Montgomery wants a little more glory, Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clay Bohanan wants a little more control, and Bossier Tennis Center contractor Todd Killen wants a little more money.

This week, the City Council takes up the request, expanding the center by half. The Council conducted a workshop on the matter last week where it heard mostly from proponents from city government and from Killen, who three months ago had his operating contract renewed to the tune of $36,000 annually for three years.

Which, going by the last three years of statements submitted to councilors, doesn’t bring home much for him. Strictly by these numbers, in the 2019-21 period, all he made including the subsidy was $13,184.05 on $528,656.06 in revenues. In fact, he made have lost money over this interval because the 2020 statement uses curious math, registering prior to accounting fees income of just $1,782.84 and then an accounting charge of $17,000 (much higher than the other two years) but which on the statement instead of subtracting as a cost was shown as additional income. Back that out and he lost in reality $20,815.95.

15.12.22

Bossier spending way up; public doesn't know why

Bossier Parish contemplates spending for fiscal year 2023 that will leap by a fifth. If only citizens knew why without going to a lot of inconvenience related to the opaque way the Police Jury does business.

Next week, the Jury will consider final adoption of the budget, going from $103 million in FY 2022 to $128 million this year. Major areas of increased spending include judicial functions, up $2.5 million to $6.2 million; public works, up $12.5 million to nearly $55 million; and culture and recreation, up over $6 million to nearly $17 million. Revenues hardly have kept pace, actually falling over $2 million from last year to almost $91 million. And that’s with state and other funds (from the federal government in special one-time payments such as in the name of the pandemic and Democrat-imposed spending bills) down about that much year-over-year. The parish has to dip into reserves as a result, leaving $61 million left.

This accounting isn’t precise. The Jury posts on its website the budget after its adoption, in broad categories for the general fund and for each special fund. But it doesn’t list figures from the previous year, either budgeted or actually spent. So, the actually spent figures may differ, and substantially, but if you want to know for sure, you’ll either have to trawl through every meeting’s minutes to see if the Jury made adjustments or make a public records request and hope a document with a running tally exists.

14.12.22

North LA racially polarized voting perhaps waning

A couple of interesting theories about the nature of politics emerged from Shreveport’s recently-concluded mayor’s race, especially in context of other north Louisiana major cities. These deserve further scrutiny.

Banging around the rumor mill is that Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver lost, despite his many decades in elected offices and longstanding alliances in a majority-black electorate against white Republican Tom Arceneaux, because he didn’t try hard enough, His real goal, so goes the argument, was to deny Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins reelection, and once he had done so with Perkins failing to make the runoff, he checked out, explaining his lackluster performance.

It's an intuitively simple explanation as to why Arceneaux won in fairly convincing fashion a contest by the numbers he had no business winning. It also has a lot of problems, beginning with Tarver treating the contest from start to finish very seriously.

13.12.22

Edwards one loser after Shreveport elections

Shreveport city elections provided a bumper crop of winners and losers, besides the obvious mayoral victor Republican Tom Arceneaux and other vanquished non-Republicans in the contest, specifically Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver.

WINNER: Local black elected Democrats other than Tarver allies. In politics in Shreveport’s black community, Tarver is the last of the pioneers and over the years increasingly has polarized this arena. While leftist at its foundation and built upon the idea of black empowerment, Tarver has embraced the system rather than trying to reshape it – he’s not woke by any stretch of the imagination – utilizing his power and skills to make gains for the black community as he sees it.

Over time, a majority of black elected city and parish officials in the have swung away from alliances with him, because they take a more militantly ideologically stance and/or because they prefer not to hitch their fortunes to his constellation. A Tarver win would have put them on the outside of city governance with little influence in it, but with his defeat they can cooperate selectively with the Arceneaux administration while shunting Tarver and his allies to the background.

12.12.22

Race less relevant in north LA mayor elections

It began in Monroe in 2020 and by the end of 2022 all four of north Louisiana’s major cities will have white mayors, mostly new and not Democrats among cities mostly with black Democrat-majority electorates, challenging existing notions about what candidates can win where.

This remarkable development north of Interstates 10/12 started with the election of independent Friday Ellis in Monroe, knocking off longtime black incumbent Democrat Mayor Jamie Mayo. Then, Monroe’s electorate contained 63 percent Democrats and 55 percent black Democrats.

In 2021, in Bossier City Republican Tommy Chandler beat GOP Mayor Lo Walker, who had been in office or served as city chief administrative officer for 32 years, Then, the electorate was about 80 percent white and over half Republican.

11.12.22

Arceneaux cracked black solidarity to triumph

In understanding the Shreveport mayor’s election, the 2006 contest wasn’t the proper benchmark to explain Republican Tom Arceneaux’s upset victory over Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver, it was Monroe’s 2020 race, thereby providing a model for potential future GOP wins.

Despite a black majority electorate and a majority of Democrats in it, Arceneaux not only defeated Tarver, he won going away with 56 percent of the vote. It marks the first time since 2006 the city had a white mayor and only its third Republican ever, the first since 1998.

That 2006 election provided a cautionary lesson why this triumph seemed so unlikely. Back then, in the general election Republican Jerry Jones plus two other Republicans gained 45 percent of the vote, leaving black Democrat Cedric Glover at 32 percent, and white Democrat Liz Swaine got 13 percent. That math should have given Jones a close victory in an electorate then barely majority white.

8.12.22

LA hasn't plague of locusts, but of pessimism

Louisiana doesn’t suffer from the plague of locusts realignment theory, but from a plague of pessimism that poses a challenge its Republican majority must address.

Looking back at a midterm election that broke decades-old reliable modelling of partisan outcomes, one hypothesis to explain focuses on the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic’s tendency to have some individuals, argued disproportionately likely to vote for Democrats, move from areas with surplus Democrats to those with a relative paucity, in order to escape restrictions typically imposed more heavily in states run by Democrats.

A corollary to this not so event-specific is that policies, such as higher taxation and more wasteful spending and transfer payments, in Democrat-run states increasingly burden individuals, particularly those producing more economic benefits for society, so to escape these some people – including especially those who ironically backed politicians that delivered those very policies they now seek to avoid the consequences of – move to places without such policies. More bluntly, that subset are locusts who degraded their former environment now taking wing to more pristine ones to do the same if they can help it. After all, they and their families always can move on while the less advantaged stuck there have to suffer their damage.

7.12.22

Attack ad volley won't alter Tarver path to win

Unsurprisingly and inevitably, first one then the other shoe dropped in Shreveport’s mayor race, muddying up a contest the candidates had kept clean while leaving its trajectory essentially unchanged.

Last week, a radio ad began circulating on stations with larger proportions of black listeners that highlighted Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver’s past marital difficulties. It claimed his first two spouses accused him of abuse, and that one shot him “to save her own life.” That may be conjecture; what we do know publicly is nearly 35 years ago after returning from a legislative session Tarver entered his residence where his second wife was and a short while later exited with gunshot wounds. No charges ever were filed but a divorce was not long after, followed by his marriage to his third and present wife.

Upon this surfacing, Tarver alleged runoff opponent Republican Tom Arceneaux had leverage over their appearance. Apparently, a group called Watchdog PAC LLC had produced it, which Tarver said also had produced attack ads on behalf of vanquished candidate Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins prior to the general election. Contrary to statute that requires any entity spending at least $500 in an election cycle that, among other things, opposed a candidate to register with the state and to produce donation and expenditure reports, while a similarly-named political action committee run by a longtime Republican political operative registered with the state through 2017, this group isn’t currently registered.

6.12.22

Clearer still, Edwards virus policy cost lives

If only Louisiana’s political culture had been different and Democrat John Bel Edwards not been governor, a significant portion of Louisianans might be alive today who perished in the first almost two years of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

The first point is being made even as I write and you read this. In communist China, its typically servile population has taken to the streets to protest government attempts to impose harsh lockdowns in a futile attempt to bring the zero Covid fantasy to life. Although official government reporting of virus statistics is highly suspect on this issue, a recent wave of infections prompted the reaction, which unlike in the past the populace seems willing to challenge.

At one time, early in the pandemic Louisiana had restrictions almost as virile. Edwards and most state governors issued orders that didn’t entirely stop movement and commercial relations, but did substantially restrict activities in public for what was considered nonessential for a few weeks, justifying this by arguing it would allow public health authorities time to get ahead of the virus to stamp it out.

5.12.22

Lower income taxation may bring sports winners

As a recent blockbuster baseball deal showed, Louisiana legislators in the midst of studying an overhaul of the state’s tax system might want to consider rearranging things to boost sports performances that in turn could increase state and local tax revenues.

The Texas Rangers last week landed baseball’s best pitcher (when healthy) Jacob deGrom in free agency with a five-year, $185 million deal. When reviewing details of the deal, a major consideration why the Rangers outbid other clubs for his services was no state income tax in Texas. If the Lone Star State had the same tax system as the Bayou State, that deal to deGrom would have been worth (without any manipulations for tax avoidance) almost $4 million fewer (major leaguers nationwide are taxed half on their home state/country, the other half on the various state/country tax laws where they visit to play road games).

Legislators have met this fall to gather information on tax system reform, with many in the body articulating that a rate reduction, if not abolishment, of individual income taxation should be up to the plate. Among its neighbors, Texas and Tennessee have no state income tax, Mississippi has cut its recently and its governor wants elimination of it next year, and Arkansas and Oklahoma have joined Louisiana in recent reductions.

4.12.22

BC no bid fixation to grift taxpayers again

This week, the Bossier City Council seems poised to offer up another sweetheart deal to public works contractor Manchac Consulting Group and to deliver the sucker punch to taxpayers telegraphed weeks ago when it renewed a deal for a facility hardly any citizens use.

With the backing of Republican Mayor Tommy Chandler, the Council will consider dipping into its anything-goes debt-fueled slush fund to spend $1.5 million on new tennis courts at the city’s Bossier Tennis Center. Fewer than three months ago it approved a no-bid three-year contract renewal at $36,000 annually for a company run by longtime center tennis professional Todd Killen to operate it, which obligates him to make a few kinds of service provision but lets him rake off whatever revenues he otherwise can gather, without his having to make any capital expenses.

At the time, in particular GOP Councilor Chris Smith voiced concern about that kind of arrangement, musing that rethinking the deal, or even city ownership of the facility, might make sense especially because the bargain didn’t set aside some of the revenues an operator could keep for future capital expenses. He was ignored, and now those chickens are coming home to roost.

1.12.22

Edwards pandemic policies cost youngest readers

The wages of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ overly-oppressive Wuhan coronavirus pandemic policy continue to accumulate, this time at the expense of the youngest children.

This week, the Louisiana Department of Education released its annual Reading Report, which evaluates reading ability for children in kindergarten through third grade. While the older children made gains, the youngest showed a decline. Superintendent Cade Brumley fingered a pandemic policy that effectively caused closure of early learning centers and face covering mandates that may have delayed speech development and language acquisition.

Both conditions Edwards needlessly foisted onto families. Actually, very early in the pandemic while schools exited in-person instruction in the last two months of the spring, 2020 semester, many centers remained open. The problems began when Edwards didn’t lift commercial restrictions and then imposed masking that summer and kept these in place far too long, becoming one of the last states to ditch such policies two years later even as considerably earlier the relative lack of efficacy of restrictive policies had become apparent.

30.11.22

DeSoto jurors must scrap unconstitutional plan

For those hollering about Louisiana’s reapportionment over the past several months, the shoe now is on the other foot in DeSoto Parish.

This week, aggrieved residents notified the parish’s Police Jury that unless it reconsidered its reapportionment within two weeks they would file an injunction to prevent its reapportionment, decided at its Apr. 18 meeting, from going forward. They alleged the jurors drew districts that substantially didn’t have equal populations, violating a 10 percent deviation standard (the highest and lowest being over 17 percent apart) which intentionally awarded more representation to the parish’s largest municipality at the expense of the parish’s northern part.

As a result, the Jury will address the topic at its meeting next week. It very well should, for the citizens have an excellent case, starting with the obvious 10+ percent spread. That isn’t an absolute standard, but to go beyond that limit requires some compelling reasons that don’t appear to apply.

29.11.22

Dueling endorsements maintain Tarver advantage

Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver, in a runoff for Shreveport mayor, should hope that his latest association with a politician named Edwards works out better than it did a quarter of a century ago.

Tuesday, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards appeared at a news conference to endorse Tarver for the city’s top job, with the election coming on Dec. 10. Tarver pretty consistently has backed Edwards’ agenda, perhaps most controversially when he voted to uphold a veto Edwards cast against a bill that would have promoted competition fairness in women’s sports by not allowing biological males to compete in those, but which the year later passed into law with Tarver’s support and Edwards’ refusal to sign.

Tarver’s last experience with Prisoner #03128-095, formerly known as Democrat Gov. Edwin Edwards, for him turned out less satisfactorily. That Edwards earned his new moniker at the same trial that exonerated Tarver on similar corruption charges, after which Tarver didn’t run for reelection, sitting out for eight years before regaining office in 2011.

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' numbers 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.

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.