Opinion: Close, but no cigar

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A recount of the votes on the proposition for an additional 2% hotel occupancy tax to be levied in Caddo and Bossier parishes still came up short of passage.

The early results showed the measure failing by 208 votes, and a recount revealed it lost by 195 votes out of 98,139 votes cast. The measure passed in Caddo with 52% of the vote, but failed in Bossier where only 45% supported it..

It would have raised $2.2 million annually.  The Independence Bowl would have received 37.5% of the proceeds, the Ark-La-Tex Regional Air Service Alliance (RASA) 37.5%, and the Caddo-Bossier Sports Commission 25%.

Proponents of the tax thought that adding RASA and the Sports Commission to benefit from the proceeds would help sell it to the voters.  It did in Caddo, but not in Bossier.

Bossier Parish voting stats

lou BurnettIn Bossier Parish, there were the U.S. Senate race and School Board races, but no municipal election in Bossier City.  Here’s the breakdown:

*Of 70,536 voters, 34,250 or 48.6% voted.

*Of 52,876 white voters, 27,549 or 52.1% voted.

*Of 14,255 black voters, 5,617 or 39.4% voted.

*Of 3,405 other race voters, 1,084 or 31.8% voted.

*Of 22,018 Democrats, 10,541 or 47.9% voted.

*Of 29,408 Republicans, 17,359 or 59% voted.

*Of 19,110 Other Party, 6,350 or 33.2% voted.

Early voting begins Saturday

Early voting for the December 6 runoff election begins this Saturday.  Registered voters can vote between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day at the Registrar of Voters office in your parish.  Here is the schedule:

Starts Saturday, Nov. 22.  Closed Nov. 23.

Open Monday, Nov. 24 through Wednesday, Nov. 26.  Closed Nov. 27 and Nov. 28 for state holidays.

Final day, Saturday, Nov. 29.

Voters should bring proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or governmental I.D.  In some parishes, voters should expect a 30-minute to one hour wait.

Caddo Registrar of Voters Ernie Roberson reminds voters that everyone can vote on the U.S. Senate race, but only registered voters within the city can vote for Shreveport mayor and Shreveport city marshal.

Law Enforcement Meeting in Bossier City

The Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement (LCLE), a statewide organization whose mission is to promote public safety by progressive leadership and coordination within the criminal justice community and to continue to improve the operations of the criminal justice community, will host its quarterly statewide meeting in Bossier City.

The event is scheduled for November 19-20 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2015 Old Minden Road.

LCLE meeting co-hosts are Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin, Caddo District Attorney Charles Scott, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator, and Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington.

The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau assisted with logistical support in securing the venue for the statewide meeting.

The LCLE meeting will bring together government officials, non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, business and social service representatives, and law enforcement agencies and officers who are involved in crime prevention at the local, state, and federal levels.

The public, especially representatives of faith-based programs and community organizations seeking grant funding, are invited to attend and learn about the various grant programs.

For more information, contact Lee Clemons at 318-965-3793 or Bill Davis at 318-965-2203 or visit the website lcle.la.gov.

Hail Marys and a carrot

Much of the drama evaporated from the Louisiana U.S. Senate race after Republicans gained control of the Senate in elections held on November 4.

But that’s not to say there isn’t a bitter fight taking place between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and her challenger, Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.

In the primary, Landrieu led Cassidy 42% to 41% with Tea Party Republican Rob Maness getting 14%.  Maness has endorsed Cassidy.

Landrieu has tossed a couple of Hail Marys in an effort to hold onto her seat for a fourth term in what is regarded as an uphill battle for her.

She has convinced the Senate Democratic leadership to allow a vote on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, a move she hopes will bolster her re-election chances.  She also voted against Sen Harry Reid, D-Nev., to be Senate Minority Leader in the next session of Congress, but he was elected leader anyway.

Meanwhile, Cassidy is holding out a carrot to bolster his election fate.  He has gotten the Republican Leadership to guarantee him a seat on the Senate  Energy Committee, which Landrieu chairs until the end of this session and on which she would be the ranking Democrat if re-elected.

In addition, Cassidy has spearheaded a favorable U.S. House vote on the pipeline, which now awaits Senate action.  Whether President Obama would veto the measure if passed by both Houses of Congress is unknown.

Cassidy is not taking for granted what most politicos expect is a sure victory in the runoff.  He has been bombarding the airways with political ads beginning the day after the election.

On the other hand, Landrieu has been scrapping for funds, but has not been able to match Cassidy’s output.  She saw a cutback in funding for ads from Democratic PACs immediately after the election, but since then, some have agreed to help.

Political writers note, however, that the Landrieus are known for winning elections they are not supposed to.  No matter the outcome, they say, Mary Landrieu will not go down without a fight.

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