Saturday, December 06, 2014

Late election day round-up

I love voting. In fact, if I were writing one of those stupid Movoto listicles of Top Reasons to Live In Louisiana, voting would definitely be in the top five. Right there along with food, music, humidity, the general feeling that we're all going to be murdered/poisoned/swept away into the ocean probably sooner than later. It's exhilarating.

Voting is great. In Louisiana we vote often. 2014 opened with a citywide election in New Orleans and is closing with a statewide race. Next year we will vote on Governors.  It doesn't matter whether or not you like any of the candidates. In fact, that might actually be better.  After all, it's fun enough to open up Twitter and type, "Hey @BillCassidy, fuck you for looking like Beavis and saying we shouldn't retire til we're 70. You also look like the Chicken Lady"


chicken bill

But it's even more fun when you get to have your "Fuck you" officially recorded by the Secretary of State's office from where it is then communicated out through the mass media and presented to the candidates themselves. And they definitely notice. We get to do this all the time here.  According to this flier, the animals would vote if they could.

If these animals could vote

I don't know why more people don't jump at every opportunity.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler said he expects about 1.2 million — or 40 percent — of the state’s 2.9 million registered voters to cast ballots.

“Based on early voting statistics and historical data, I believe turnout will reach 40 to 42 percent for tomorrow’s general election,” Schedler said.

The Nov. 4 open primary vote saw 1.47 million votes cast or about 51.5 percent of registered voters. Though Landrieu led the field, 56 percent of the votes cast went to a Republican candidate.

But last month, Louisiana was part of national election and was poised to play a role in which party would control the U.S. Senate. Decisive GOP wins mean that when the new Congress is sworn in next month, Republicans will control both houses. With that, the rest of the country pretty much lost interest in what happens here.
So it's apparently a slow day out there.  Ask them if they'll let you vote twice. 

Seriously, if you're going out to vote today, there's not a whole lot on your ballot.

Locally there's this school millage continuance. People don't seem to understand it well.
The confusion of people even fairly familiar with the unique situation of New Orleans public schools further illustrates the complex system of dozens of independently run charter schools and the handful of traditional schools — and who has control of them.

This is important because whoever controls the buildings is responsible for ongoing maintenance and the condition of the facilities where students are educated. Few would dispute that students stand a better chance at a quality education when not learning under leaking roofs, moldy ceilings, peeling paint and in classrooms with unreliable heat and air conditioning. The city has a bad reputation for educating students in such decrepit facilities, but it’s often unclear who should be held accountable for making improvements and held liable when something goes wrong.
The short version is, it allows money that had been used to pay off a bond issue to keep being collected for facilities maintenance.  But what that also means is that it authorizes the RSD to collect and control money it did not previously collect and control  at a time when, really, the RSD should be going away.  So what you're really looking at there is more of a fight over territory than it is a "think of the children" matter.

On some ballots, you will find a Public Service Commissioner's race. This one is also confusing because 1) Despite what Eric Skrmetta's ads say, President Obama is not running for PSC.  2) Despite what lazy people in the media say, Skrmetta's opponent, Forest Wright, is a businessman invested in solar energy and not "an environmentalist." 3) Somebody working for Wright in a tangential fashion was mysteriously firebombed at his home recently.  The case has not appeared in the press since.  One imagines it will be solved at some point.. or not!

Bill Cassidy (probably) has never firebombed anybody. But it's looking more and more like he did, in fact, lie on his LSU-HSC timesheets and that this basically amounts to Medicaid fraud. This could have future ramifications for him and also for LSU... although it could also come to nothing.  Remember they still haven't done much about the firebombing guy yet either.

There are also some judges.  Some people don't like voting for judges but I do.  I think we should vote for every public office imaginable, including Head Football Coach.  Anyway, there's stupid drama in some of those races too if you would like to read about it.

Congratulations to former Governor Edwin Edwards for coming back and keeping us entertained this election season.  He's probably not going to win that congressional seat.  That's sad for us because it means we're sending Garret Graves to Congress.  Probably not so sad for EWE, though, because who wants to go to Washington DC at his age.. or any age, really?  Someone should give the Governor a radio show or something, though. It would be nice to keep his sense of humor in circulation.

Finally, I feel really bad for Mary Landrieu.  She's nowhere close to perfect.  She listens to her friends in the oil industry before she listens to the rest of us.  But, if this really is the end for her, you'd have to give her an overall grade of Could Have Been A Lot Worse.  She's been an especially effective advocate for Louisiana after the Katrina flood, from which we are still recovering.  The Times-Picayune's ringing endorsement of the Senator last month lays out some of the highlights.
The entire state has benefited from her hard work in the Senate.

In 2006, she accomplished something Louisiana leaders had tried for decades and failed to do. She persuaded Congress to force the federal government to give Louisiana and other Gulf states a share of lease revenues from offshore oil and gas wells -- which by 2017 will provide an estimated $500 million each year for restoring our coast.

Sen. Landrieu was instrumental in writing and passing the Restore Act, which ensures the vast majority of BP fines for the 2010 oil spill will go to coastal restoration -- and that Louisiana will get the largest share. She worked successfully across Gulf state and party lines. Her leadership role in the aftermath of the oil spill cannot be overstated.

She also wrote provisions into law allowing community disaster loans to be forgiven by FEMA -- which eliminated $391 million in post-Katrina debt for parish governments. And she successfully fought last year to undo exorbitant flood insurance rates that would have been devastating for Louisiana families.
On top of all that, let us never forget Mary's finest hour.
President Bush faced increasingly bitter complaints today from local and state officials in the battered Gulf Coast region as he struggled to exert control over a disaster that almost surely claimed thousands of lives.

Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a Democrat, said today that she was so angry about federal failures and second-guessing that if she heard any more criticism of local efforts, even from the president, she might "punch" him.

Unfortunately it looks like the pundits proclaiming the long inevitable reddening of the "Solid South" were right. That and the avalanche of money from outside.  Oh and Cassidy's inability to say anything besides "Obama" over and over.

It sucks. Mary sounds tired. Who can blame her?

But look. Vote. Send them your little "fuck you." It helps, believe me.

And then curl up with a bottle of something and, of course, your election results map, and cry it out.

At least the Saints are still in it. 

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