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Calcasieu P3 toll bridge idea needs canceling

A threatened de facto tax increase mainly on denizens in the Lake Charles area now seems set to wither away by the time incoming governor Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry takes command.

That was the proposal by the outgoing Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to have tolls finance $1.3 billion of a projected $2.1 billion to construct a new Interstate 10 bridge across the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles, as well as perform some widening around its bases. The remainder of the money the state planned to leverage with a mix of state and federal dollars, primarily complemented by a $40 million a year revenue stream from the switchover of vehicle taxes from the general fund to transportation.

The plan announced this summer raised hackles immediately. The economics behind it weren’t all that bad, in that users rather than general taxpayers statewide would foot the bill, and likely it could have been completed at lower cost through a public-private partnership relying on tolls to keep the state’s maintenance costs close to zero for a half-century.


Potemkin group to try subverting BC petitioners

The race is on, as the Bossier City Council this week launched its Potemkin attempt to run down citizens who threaten to end the political careers of a majority of its members.

The Council unanimously voted to establish the second charter review committee in this city’s history. Mind you, a year ago this was the furthest thing from the minds of graybeards Republicans Jeff Free and David Montgomery, Democrat Bubba Williams, and no party Jeff Darby. But then a group of citizens loosely organized as the Bossier Term Limits Coalition, with the support of Republican rookie councilors Chris Smith and Brian Hammons and republican Mayor Tommy Chandler, came together to gather enough signatures to amend the city charter by slapping a lifetime three-term limit retroactively on city officials, with an affirmative vote by the electorate. None of the graybeards could run in the Mar. 29, 2025 city elections if this passed by the Dec. 7, 2024 election, as it almost certainly would.

By a series of legal maneuvers and open defiance four times of the charter, the graybeards plus Republican rookie Vince Maggio so far have kept the matter off the ballot, hoping to extend that for more than the upcoming year by tying up the matter in the courts. Undaunted, the Coalition has launched another as well as a separate petition amending the charter to drop the petitioning requirement from a third to a fifth of registered voters participating in the last city-wide election that would make even easier outflanking the Council.


Likely rerun Caddo sheriff contest tossup

With a rerun of the 2023 Caddo Parish sheriff’s election now a virtual certainty, the question turns to whom seems the likely winner between Democrat former Shreveport chief administrative officer and police chief Henry Whitehorn and Republican former city councilor John Nickelson.

Today, retired and ad hoc judge Joseph Bleich ruled a new election would have to take place, which fulfilled as big a legal slam dunk as there ever was. The law is quite clear that if illegal votes were cast in a contest in numbers beyond the margin between one or more sets of candidates that, barring the highly unlikely chance that such votes for whom could be identified and their excision would change the outcome, a new election would be ordered, a circumstance that featured in this election which Bleich vetted thoroughly in his ruling.

Given that Whitehorn emerged after the election and machine recount with a single vote lead, the Nickelson campaign’s legal team thoroughly documented irregularities, finding at least 11 suspicious enough, that convinced Bleich to order a new election. In large part, this was the fault of the Caddo Parish Registrar’s Office, who disregarded procedures that could have removed those votes from being cast or counted. Still, with a single vote margin, it would have been difficult to avoid any slipup that could have triggered a new contest.


Data betray claim 2023 not conservative mandate

As Louisiana leftists continue to move through their stages of grief over this year’s statewide election, they pursue yet another narrative that fails under the cold hard light of data.

So far, liberals among Democrats, within the media, and in academia have tried to comfort themselves over their blowout losses that leave perhaps the most conservative governor, Legislature, and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in history about to take over. They do this by telling themselves they delivered their message poorly – when in reality it’s the message itself at fault – and by bolstering themselves over the illusion that outgoing Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards had notable lasting accomplishments – only if you believe during his years in office fewer jobs, fewer people choosing to work, many fewer residents, tepid personal income growth well behind most states, pandemic policy that cost more lives than preserved, and government growing at three times the rate of inflation are good things.

The other narrative is that the victory of Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry to replace Edwards, as well as legislative gains, is somehow less legitimate because overall turnout was the lowest since 2011 (slightly lower in the general election, slightly higher in the runoff). You have journalists and academicians propagating that “apathy” suggests there isn’t a groundswell to follow diametrically different options than with which Edwards tried to outflank the GOP-run Legislature.


Bossier needs rethink of school clinic policy

What appears to be the signature initiative of Bossier Parish’s new school superintendent threatens to bring controversy if not implemented correctly and for the right reason.

Last week, the Bossier Parish School Board unanimously awarded the job to assistant superintendent for administration and personnel Jason Rowland. Oddly, he was the only applicant in contrast to the last several occasions when the district hired a superintendent, perhaps because the district over this span only promoted from within and this discouraged outside candidates and in-home potential candidates who considered Rowland’s ascension as inevitable.

In the months leading up to his promotion Rowland worked on establishing school-based health clinics, both permanent and rotating, on the belief that this would discourage absenteeism. Indeed, since the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and lingering beyond that, nationally truancy (defined as a student missing at least 10 percent of class days) has doubled to about one in five.