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Bad News for Louisiana

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State second to last in percentage of adults with college degrees

 

There was bad news for the Bayou State as it was ranked 49th in percentage of adults with college degrees, eclipsed only by West Virginia.

The study was conducted and released by the Lumina Foundation, a private Indianapolis-based organization dedicated to increasing the number of Americans with two- and four-year degrees.

The report revealed that only 27.9% of Louisiana adults 25 to 64 years of age held degrees in 2011, the latest year for which data is available.

West Virginia nudged out Louisiana for last place by 0.1 percentage point, coming in at 27.8%.

Here are the degree-attainment rates for Louisiana adults by population groups:

Asian – 46.17%; White – 32.74%; Hispanic –  22.16%; Black – 18.38%; Native American – 14/68%.

Here are other statistics for Louisiana:

Less than ninth grade education – 4.31%.

Ninth to 12th grade, no diploma – 10.92%.

High school graduate – 34.17%.

Some college, no degree – 22.73%.

Associate degree – 5.85%.

Bachelor’s degree – 15.02%.

Graduate or professional degree – 6.99%.

Percentage of adults with at least an associate degree by parish (Top 10):

East Baton Rouge Parish – 39.55%.

Lincoln Parish – 39.22%

St. Tammany Parish – 38.60%.

Orleans Parish – 38.20%

Lafayette Parish – 33.83%.

Bossier Parish – 32.77%.

Jefferson Parish – 30.92%.

Ascension Parish – 30.20%.

St. Charles Parish – 29.67%.

Caddo Parish – 29.49%.

Other area parishes: DeSoto – 20.29%; Red River – 20.16%; Webster – 18.89%; Claiborne – 14.11%.

The worst states: West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nevada, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Indiana.

The best states: Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and North Dakota.

 

Foster Campbell to hold meetings

Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell will hold public meetings in Caddo and Bossier parishes on Wednesday, June 19 to answer questions from local residents about their utilities.

“I invite citizens to attend and discuss any concerns they may have about their electricity, natural gas, and other utility services,” Campbell said.

Campbell will hold town meetings at:

*1 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, 400 Edwards Street.

*3 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at the Bossier City Municipal Complex, City Council chambers, 620  Benton Road, Bossier City.

Campbell is serving his second six-year term on the five-member Public Service Commission as the Commissioner for District 5, which includes all or part of 24 parishes across north Louisiana from the Texas to the Mississippi border.

For more info, e-mail to foster.campbell@la.gov or call 676-7464.

 

War!

There is a power war taking place in the city of Shreveport, and the battlefield is the city council chambers at Government Plaza.

Mayor Cedric Glover has about a year and a half left on his second term as the city’s chief executive, but if recent developments are any indication, it could be a rocky ride to the finish line.  His term expires in November 2014.

At issue are four ordinances, introduced by City Councilman Oliver Jenkins, R-District C, and passed by the full council in May.  The ordinances prevent financial advisers who work on bond sales associated with riverfront development, airport enterprise,  water and sewerage, and general funds from being paid unless their contract had prior council approval.

Glover vetoed the four ordinances, insisting that they restrict the authority granted his office under the current Shreveport City Charter, which has been in effect since 1978.  He contends that the mayor has always had the right to engage in professional services contracts, such as with financial advisers, without city council approval.

But at its meeting on June 11, the city council overrode the mayor’s vetoes by 5-2 votes.  Voting to override were Council Members Jeff Everson, D-District B; Oliver Jenkins; Michael Corbin, R-District  D; Ron Webb, R-District E; and Joe Shyne, D-District F.

Voting with the mayor to sustain his vetoes were Council Members Sam Jenkins, D-District G; and Rose Wilson McCulloch, D-District A.  They cited concerns that the council could be interfering with authority the mayor is granted under the City Charter.

The reason for the ordinances is the result of an ongoing investigation of financial adviser Calvin Grigsby of Grigsby & Associates, who handled for the city the refinancing of hotel and convention center bond issues, as well as the 2011 general obligation bond package to address road and street, utility, and  recreation issues.

Last year, the council hired the Lafayette-based  law firm of Laborde & Neuner to audit payments made to Grigsby and his firm over the nearly five-year period he has provided financial services and advice to the city.

Oliver Jenkins said that the audit found $677,000  in questionable bills from Grigsby.  That prompted the council to take a closer look, and Jenkins noted that it found a lot of discrepancies.

He decided that something had to be done to stop the current course of action on financial advisers, so he introduced the ordinances restricting the mayor’s autonomy in awarding such contracts.

Where all of this goes from here remains to be  seen.  To be sure, the citizens of Shreveport have not heard the last of this power struggle between the mayor and the city council.

There is already a court battle over the mayor’s refusal to accept a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Red River Waterway Commission to establish a dog park.

The city council approved the $280,000 award from the Commission, but Glover vetoed its action, which the council later overrode.  However, Glover still refused to sign the agreement, and the Shreveport Dog Park Alliance filed a lawsuit, with support from the council.

The court ruled in favor of the Alliance, and Glover is appealing the decision.  But the city council is balking at using taxpayer money for Glover’s appeal.

 

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.