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LA statewide candidacies continue clarifying

Statewide elections next year have become more interesting in Louisiana with developments over the past ten days.

Republican former Rep. John Fleming made it official earlier this month by formally announcing a run for lieutenant governor. Although he said he would wait on a formal announcement from incumbent Republican Billy Nungesser that he wouldn’t run for reelection in pursuit of the state’s top office, Fleming committed fully less than a month after Nungesser told attendees at a function related to his job that he fully intended to shoot for the state’s top spot.

Fleming brings much to the table to make his a formidable candidacy: his most recent government work including a stint at the White House, past congressional service, having run a credible statewide campaign (for Senate, where he didn’t make the runoff), his ability to self-finance, and his desire for the job unclouded by its use as a stepping stone for something else that should appeal to voters uncomfortable with a steady stream of candidates over the years who asked to be elected to the least political/policy-oriented statewide office but who clearly wanted to use it to audition for very politicized/policy-oriented executive offices. And it made sense for him to start the fundraising and publicity now regardless of Nungesser’s intentions.


Chambers ready to beat old guard at own game

Read comments made by Democrat Gary Chambers about his bid for Louisiana’s U.S. Senate seat this fall and you might think him crazy. Indeed, crazy – like a fox, which has the powers-that-be among state Democrats sweating.

On a radio program, Chambers recently revealed how he would win the contest against overwhelming favorite Republican Sen. John Kennedy. He said in the incumbent’s 2016 election that black voters didn’t have a candidate they could believe in, including from the top down in the presidential contest, and so not enough showed up that would have defeated Kennedy.

That analysis seems suspect. If Chambers is saying that the ideal candidate to suck in black voters – as well as other racial minorities and trendy leftist whites – in large numbers to the polls is somebody who proclaims a far-left agenda such as himself, then two years ago black Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, whose agenda didn’t differ all that much from Chambers’ minus the hooting up on camera, should have defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy. Instead, Perkins couldn’t muster even a fifth of the vote, and almost half as many as that voted for black perennial Democrat candidate Derrick Edwards who spent next to nothing on the contest but who snagged the endorsement of the state’s then-only black member of Congress.


Excuse-making top Edwards official must go

Give credit to Democrat state Rep. Jason Hughes for not shutting up and not toeing the party line: his call for Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to fire Department of Child and Family Services Sec. Marketa Garner Walters, or for her to resign, rings true.

Walters has gotten into hot water over persistent problems with child welfare services supposed to place children at risk in protective environments increasingly failing to do so. Legislators finally had enough and have launched hearings on the matter, where in the first Hughes said Walters needed to clear out.

To all of this, Walters pulled out the dog-ate-homework excuse of politicians wishing to avoid responsibility: blaming her predecessor. In response, Hughes didn’t let her off the hook, pointing out that might work as an explanation after just six months in office, but Walters now has been in her post over six years and things seemed to have become worse.


Correct overreaction with tougher juvenile law

You can try to avoid the real solution to a public policy problem to please a political agenda, or you can face reality and actually get the job done – something neither Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards nor Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc seem willing to do.

Public concern has grown over the incidence and severity of juvenile crime in Louisiana over the past year. LeBlanc, who has shown a chameleon-like ability to adapt his rhetoric to please a tough-on-crime boss like Republican former Gov. Bobby Jindal and then the touchy-feely Edwards, sees it as a problem but pulls up short in identifying an important consideration in its genesis. “A failed education system, poverty levels, parenting is nonexistent, and I think the two years of COVID has some impact on that,” he recently explained as to the causes he saw.

Well, Louisiana’s education system is near the bottom of the states, but it has slowly improved. The relative poverty of its people hasn’t recently changed dramatically for better or worse. Parenting ability is hard to quantify, but seems unlikely that its quality has taken a nosedive in the short-term. The pandemic did have a negative impact on crime, but actually less so for juveniles than adults where, except for homicides, nationally juvenile crime actually was flat in the first year of the pandemic (crime statistics generally lag a couple of years).


BC's no-bid, big-govt attitude strikes again

It’s only $36,000, but the debate over Bossier City paying a tennis pro to oversee programming of that recreational offering strikes at the heart of the city’s big-spending ways and serves as a microcosm for any municipality on acceptable deployment of taxpayer dollars.

Last week, the City Council took up the matter of renewing a contract with the individual, Todd Killen, who has coordinated these programs for the past six years at the Bossier Tennis Center, who otherwise coaches on the side. While the city picks up operating and maintenance costs of the facility in in its northern part, the list of provided services required is long, including giving lessons, conducting clinics, running tournaments and leagues, and offering repairs and merchandise, all together necessitating the hiring of employees.

If that sounds overwhelming, consider the leeway granted for the contractor to make money. The contract allows him to retain all revenue derived from tennis instruction, the sale of merchandise and apparel, food and beverages (if any, except vending machines), court fees, memberships, racket stringing fees, league fees, tournament fees and equipment rental. That Killen wants to renew for up to three years indicates he doesn’t think he’ll take a bath on this arrangement.