Togetherness

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Bossier/Webster, Caddo DAs to hold joint Christmas Party Dec. 13

For the first time in history, the district attorneys from Caddo and Bossier/Webster are getting together to host a social event.

Caddo District Attorney Charles Rex Scott and Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin are jointly hosting a Christmas Party.

The event will be held at the Old Shreveport Downtown Airport, G&C Hanger #130, on Friday, December 13 from 7-11 p.m. Food and refreshments will be served, and music will by provided The Boomers.

Both Scott and Schuyler told the Fax-Net that this event demonstrates the respect and cooperation each law enforcement agency has for the other as they represent a three-parish area.

Scott is serving his first six-year term as district attorney after a long career as a Caddo District Judge. Marvin is in his second term.

Both are up for re-election in 2014.

 

A new city?

Just in case you haven’t heard, there is a very interesting movement taking place in East Baton Rouge Parish.

lou BurnettWhat began as an effort by residents of the Village of St. George, an unincorporated portion of East Baton Rouge Parish, to establish an independent school district, has turned into a push to establish its own city.

Leaders of the movement are petitioning 107,262 residents in an unincorporated section of the parish to form a local governing body, which could create Louisiana’s fifth largest municipality.

But not everyone in the parish, which includes Baton Rouge, the state capital, is happy about the unusual effort. Some people are suggesting that the real goal of the organizers is to put some distance between affluent whites and the majority-black city of Baton Rouge.

That accusation has drawn national attention to the movement. The city of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish have a consolidated government with a joint city-parish legislative body.

Residents of unincorporated areas, such as the majority-white, affluent area of St. George, provide substantial revenues to the East Baton Rouge General Fund, which funds public services for all parish residents.

Mayor-President Kip Holden has described the group’s efforts as divisive and ultimately fruitless. He is concerned, of course, over the fact that, if successful, the loss of revenue to the city-parish government would be about $85 million annually, hurting funding for police, special education, and child welfare programs.

The new city would be about 70% white, 23% black, and 4% Asian, and it would be one of the wealthiest cities in the Pelican State.

Demographic data reveals that the city of Baton Rouge is 55% black, about 40% white, and 3% Asian. The average household income in Baton Rouge is $58,000; in St. George it would be about $90,000.

Opponents of the St. George movement contend that the negative national attention will hurt Baton Rouge’s reputation nationally and hinder its efforts to recruit new businesses as well as attract and retain young, educated professionals.

Proponents of the movement disagree, saying their new city will be a place where people want to live and that it will have the potential to create a recruiting mecca for new businesses.

They also claim that the new city would stop the out-migration of middle-class families, who are moving to Ascension and Livingston parishes so their kids can attend better schools.

Under state law, a petition to incorporate must have the signatures of 25% of the registered voters within the boundaries of the proposed municipality. Organizers say they are half-way there.

The petition is then submitted to the Registrar of Voters for certification. Upon certification, the petition is submitted to the governor, who must call a special election in which only registered voters within the proposed boundaries are eligible to vote.

 

Political plow

The Louisiana Republican Party has turned into a political plow, trying to clear the road for the GOP’s effort to capture the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

The plow is meeting with some success in its efforts to help Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, who is the party’s anointed candidate to face Landrieu, who is seeking a fourth, six-year term.

First, it convinced Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh of Shreveport to end his brief entry into the race. But other state legislators were making noises about Cassidy’s conservative credentials, claiming he is not conservative enough to defeat Landrieu.

Among them are sate Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville, and black state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, a recent convert to the GOP.

So the state GOP cranked up its political plow and headed in the direction of those two state legislators. Apparently, the plow was successful in removing those perceived roadblocks.

Both potential candidates for the U.S. Senate seat now say they will not run and will support Cassidy, who must have suddenly become conservative enough.

But the plow is still stuck in the political mud in its efforts to get Republican Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel from Madisonville, to get out of the race.

 

What’s up in Texas?

Politics has taken an unusual turn in Texas, which has the governor and many state legislators red-faced in the Red State, which is suddenly taking on a blue tint.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry has publicly turned down accepting any provisions of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. He has consistently refused to participate in the Medicaid expansion.

That was just fine with the Republican-controlled state legislature – until they went back to their districts where they were peppered with criticism from constituents who wanted to take advantage of the ACA Medicaid expansion.

There is a serious statewide “Turn Texas Blue” movement that has Republican leaders and legislators concerned about the party’s political future in the state.

Consequently, GOP legislators have forced Perry to the negotiating table on December 12 and will insist that he agree to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

If Perry balks, Republican legislators say they have the final say-so and, with help from Democrats, will go over the governor’s head to allow their constituents to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion.

 

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