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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.