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Judiciary needs to scuttle Edwards power play

Democrat 19th Judicial District Attorney Hillar Moore III did the right thing in pursuing legal action to clarify powers invested in the Louisiana Pardon Board and Committee on Parole, subject to a power play by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards reaching from the political grave.

Earlier this year, Edwards admitted to what had been long suspected that he opposed capital punishment. This sent out a dog whistle to others of that ilk in the legal profession, who then helped line up clemency requests from all but one Louisiana inmate sentenced for execution in order to get an unprecedently-quick resolution hopefully in favor of a positive recommendation, which then would allow Edwards to issue the commutation prior to his leaving office earlier this year.

The Board, comprised of Edwards appointees to the coveted positions that are the only in state government where panel appointees draw a salary (up to $50,000 annually, but at least changes in the last decade now mandate that they have experience in areas related to criminal justice), initially shot down the request after perusing an opinion issued by Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry’s office. Analyzing the Louisiana Administrative Code and the policy statements for the Board drawn from it, plus the relevant Administrative Procedure Act procedures that brought these into force, it concluded that the Board could not bypass the requirement that a year at least had to separate clemency appeals to have a hearing. The one exception would be when an execution is imminent.


Bossier Jury transparency belated, inadequate

It’s the electronic equivalent of laying down asphalt on parish roads right before an election: after three years of assurances this was around the corner, Bossier Parish finally is getting around to creating facilities to broadcast professionally its jury meetings – a day late and a dollar short of needed transparency.

For years, to broadcast proceedings the nine-figure annual revenue Bossier Parish has done so by slapping down on a table a device that tries to capture the entire panorama of twelve jurors by video and streaming it by Facebook Live. With little technical improvement, the arrangement continues until this day. Audio often is terrible that requires guesswork as to who speaks and there’s no opportunity to view presentations or vote tabulations.

As a result, at the start of the Jury’s meeting last week local web site operator Wes Merriott of Sobo Live made it an offer. Perhaps more known for his biting remarks during public commentary periods of the Bossier City Council, Merriott at the Jury’s interval for public comments offered his technical services to improve the live stream capacity at no charge.


Attacks on Landry hit new level of desperation

For the increasingly-desperate opponents of Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry to keep him from triumphing in the governor’s race, it’s pinning their hopes on making a thousand cuts – even if the “wounds” aren’t real.

Just over a month prior to the general election, Landry continues to have a commanding lead in the contest, much to the chagrin of other candidates and their backers. Party regulars among Democrats behind Democrat former cabinet member Shawn Wilson and the party’s white populist rump pinning their fading hopes on independent trial lawyer Hunter Lundy see Landry as the most dangerous to their agendas, while other Republicans and their supporters see these candidates’ chances of getting into a runoff with Wilson and therefore an easy win going up the road.

So, to varying degrees, they have formed an unofficial conspiracy to try to stop Landry. Their problem is his agenda is popular and his background, often successfully through the powers of his office providing a conservative foil to Democrats Pres. Joe Biden and Gov. John Bel Edwards, has inspired confidence among many voters that he best can start the process of ejecting liberalism from Louisiana governance.


Gubernatorial debate few viewed reveals little

Missing its most important ingredient, the televised Louisiana gubernatorial debate sponsored by media outlets and interest groups provided few useful glimpses into the contest.

Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, the inarguable front runner, didn’t participate over concerns the Urban League as a sponsor which has demonstrated outright hostility to some actions he has taken in his job. Five others lined up: Democrat former cabinet member Shawn Wilson who is the only candidate within shouting distance on Landry in the polls, independent lawyer Hunter Lundy, and Republicans state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, Treas. John Schroder, and former gubernatorial assistant Stephen Waguespack.

Without Landry, it’s pointless to compare and contrast candidate issue preferences uttered. Instead, winners and losers in certain aspects will be described.


Critiqued BC Council looks to squelch commentary

Stuck pigs on the Bossier City Council squeal, a recent leaked audio clip reveals, that forecasts as a reactive attempt, its origins likely illegal, to restrict public input and comment on Council matters.

Over the past six weeks a majority faction on the Council has taken a public relations beating. Over a series of votes five of its members – Republicans David Montgomery, Jeff Free, and Vince Maggio, and Democrat Bubba Williams and no party Jeff Darby – have on as many as four occasions voted in a manner to obstruct the placing of term limits into the city charter, with two of those votes violating the charter itself. The amendment would set a three term, lifetime and retroactive limit that would prevent all but Maggio from running again in 2025.

Even if limits don’t make it into the charter in time to apply to that election – that majority bloc at the last Council meeting voted to ask Bossier Parish Registrar Stephanie Agee to step outside the law to decertify the voters’ petition that the charter forces the Council to call for an election on it, and also voted to pursue other legal action trying to derail the petition, both over questions about the petition’s format – extensive political damage detrimental to their continuing their political careers has happened. Probing and sometimes sharp-tongued citizen commentary when the items dealing with the petition and related issue of term limits have come up, illuminating hypocrisy and bad faith in the bloc’s actions that raises unflattering public awareness, not to mention producing visuals that beg to appear in negative campaign advertising down the road.