Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
The sky is falling, the sky is falling. At least the Louisiana fiscal sky is in a tailspin, or so says Governor John Bel Edwards and a number of legislative leaders. The hue and cry is for one billion dollars in new taxes along with significant fee increases. Even the local papers are chiming in with headlines like “The fiscal threat is real to colleges” and about to “get real.” What a poor taxpayer to think?
I don’t normally write a sports column, but a few words would seem appropriate after Alabama’s startling victory this past Monday night in the College Football Championship game. Simply put, love him or hate him, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the best college coach in football today, and maybe the best college coach ever.
There has been a lot of bad news out of LSU, Louisiana’s flagship university in recent weeks. Not just on the football field where the Tigers have completed a mediocre season, even though they have the highest salaried group of coaches in the nation. Campus shortcomings have raised a number of troubling questions about poor administrative decisions being made.
In Louisiana, a number of Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish officials were aghast a few years ago over a proposal to sell the Causeway Bridge that goes to the North Shore across Lake Pontchartrain. When the state’s largest paper, the Times Picayune, mixed the idea editorially, one elected official after the other fell all over themselves running away from even any talk of such an atrocity.
Republicans across the nation are cheering over the results of the Alabama senate race. No, you didn’t read this wrong. Sure, Democrats are celebrating over the election victory of one of their own for the first time in 25 years. But it should be no surprise to learn that key Republicans are also pleased with the outcome.
The reason for GOP rejoicing is that they have thrown off the albatross of Roy Moore from around their necks. Republicans will no longer have to answer, month after month, every question from the press that begins with: “Now about Roy Moore?”
A hue and cry is mounting around the country that voting machines used on Election Day are eminently hackable. Congress is investigating charges by the Office of Homeland Security that Russia attempted to hack into voting machines in 21 different states. So is the integrity of our election system being undermined? Are computer hackers able to change election results? What gives?
It’s getting close to redistricting time for legislators, both in Louisiana and throughout the country. By federal law, all election districts must be reapportioned every 10 years to reflect the latest census figures. But should legislators, who have a vested interest in how the redistricting lines are drawn, actually be the ones to do the drawing, anyway?
Mass shootings continue across the nation where no part of the country is insolated from a “wild west” mentality. The recent loss of life has been staggering. Those slaughtered range from one-year old kids to 77-year-old adults.
Twenty-six years ago this week, perhaps the most consequential and controversial election in the nation’s history took place here in the Bayou State. Edwin Edwards and David Duke squared off in a run-off election for Governor. Not only were voters across the nation fascinated by what was taking place down in the deepest of the deep Southern states. There was worldwide interest in a showdown between a controversial former Governor and the former head of the Ku Klux Klan.
Remember the 1970 song by Chicago: “Does anybody know what time it is, does anybody really care?” Well, it’s close to Election Day in Louisiana, and it would seem by early voting and general lack of interest that Louisianans are not holding their breath to cast their ballot. Why the lack of attention to an event that affects the future of the state? There are a number of reasons.