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Politicized LA coastal report needs reworking

Hopefully at the conclusion of the public comment period that ends Mar. 25, the Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration will take seriously submissions and make the corrections appertaining to these that point out the anti-science aspects within the proposed Coastal Master Plan that risk of misspending billions of dollars.

Every five years (six actually in this case) Louisiana has committed to modifying the course it charts to shape the state’s coastline. In this task among other things, the state wants to put in place physical alterations that designed to preserve the coast that will ameliorate its disappearance, flooding, and adverse cultural and commercial impacts. The plan anticipates spending $50 billion split between restoration and risk reduction over the next half-century.

Unfortunately, politics has intruded upon the effort, with junk science accepted into the document’s core assumptions that postulates catastrophic anthropogenic global warming will cause environmental alterations that trigger massive changes to Earth’s geoforms. Following politically fashionable trendiness, the last, 2017 effort suffered from this primarily in its wild overestimation of eustatic sea level rise that in the course of its formation went, when compared to the actual data, from a high and improbable standard to one essentially unreasonable.


Short leash on Arceneaux won't fix big problems

The possibilities of and limits to what Republican Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux can do quickly have become apparent – and voters this weekend may make his life more difficult still.

Arceneaux succeeded Democrat Adrian Perkins, who from the very start when he didn’t appear distracted or disinterested in governing wanted to hook up allies and/or pursue a quasi-progressive agenda at the expense of mundane but needed city tasks, behavior that produced a steady stream of drama. By contrast, Arceneaux already has made the trains run on time and stressed accomplishing the basics without latching onto pie-in-the-sky ideas.

In his first three months in office he appropriately handled a suspicious police shooting that has led to charges against the former officer, who recently resigned. He demurred over a project to bring professional baseball back to Shreveport that Perkins had hyped in the final days of his failed reelection bid. He junked another Perkins tout, a real-time crime center, as it appears it didn’t operate by statute because of security concerns, and will reevaluate the idea. He began the process of reviewing city policy about use of parks for private functions, which for years has allowed a for-profit festival to take place in one that he seemed to know little about. And he expeditiously set in motion getting city pools open on time later in the spring; last year, under Perkins the city initially yanked the contract from the long-time operator because it appeared not to have enough racial diversity in its management only to restore that under public criticism after the initial winner backed out over the controversy, which caused a late start.


Wins, not switches, to help LA GOP conservatives

Historically, Republicans now have supermajority status in the entire Legislature, thanks to the defection of state Rep. Francis Thompson from Democrats. Exercising that in fact rather than name, however, is another story.

Perhaps it’s fitting that Thompson created a House supermajority since he’s the only member of the House ever to have served in one prior. That was in 2003 when Democrats had that status, when he had been a legislator already for 28 years after starting at a time only four Republicans sat in the chamber.

While Thompson described his switch as a product of Democrats moving away from his core beliefs, it’s easy to forget that two decades ago today’s supermajority-maker once was a confirmed big-spending good-old-boy leader of that legislative party. Inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame in 2005, in the years immediately following that Thompson continued to pursue government-as-economic-engine policy, such as propping up a government-run sugar mill subsidized by taxpayers and wanting to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on creating reservoirs emulating Poverty Point (in his district and in the process of getting it built would eventually land his family in legal trouble), as well as supporting squandering taxpayer dollars in subsidizing milk production, ethanol production, and state institutions warehousing people with disabilities when less expensive and restrictive options for them exist. The Thompson of 15 years ago was no fiscal conservative.


Bossier City needs to reject Port's all wet deal

Even as the Bossier City Council conducted a workshop over a controversial financial deal with the Port of Caddo-Bossier that resulted in some changes to the proposed deal, too many questions have been answered unsatisfactorily or left unanswered for the city to accede to the imprudent arrangement.

In essence, the Port wants to borrow $35 million to build a water distribution and wastewater treatment plant on its property as a means of attracting future tenants. It wants to hook this to Bossier City’s utilities and have the city run the facility. The terms create a rate structure where the city surrenders from it half of all revenue after expenses (both operating and capital) to the Port up to an equivalent of the bond payments’ cumulative amount, whereafter it keeps the entirety, but regardless it must pay the entire amount. It also may use the facility to distribute water and treat wastewater for its own purposes.

Understanding the recklessness of the deal is best done by asking discrete questions:


Ardoin's toughest test may topple him this time

The only Republican incumbent statewide officer driven to a runoff election in 2019, Sec. of State Kyle Ardoin will be hard-pressed to avoid that fate again this year – if he can win reelection at all.

Two GOP challengers recently made formal their entrances into the contest, both echoing similar themes that Ardoin could run elections better. Brandon Trosclair, whose previous electoral experience consists of making the runoff in a 2019 House contest, complains that electoral integrity is left wanting under Ardoin that would solve largely by reverting to more intensive ballot-counting and less reliance on outside parties for elections administration.

While the conservative Heritage Foundation ranks Louisiana highly in elections administration, sixth among the states, it also faults it mainly in accuracy of voter lists, voter identification loopholes, and the state not having a law explicitly banning private money influencing election administration. However, Ardoin’s office can’t do much about a lot of that, with it subject to state law and the whims of local registrar of voters, although around the margins verification could be improved.