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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)