Sunday, October 15, 2006




Democrats back Jefferson challenger
Carter endorsed for 2nd District seat
By Robert Travis Scott

BATON ROUGE -- In an extraordinary vote against an incumbent congressman, Louisiana Democratic Party leaders on Saturday endorsed state Rep. Karen Carter of New Orleans for the 2nd District House seat held since 1991 by Rep. William Jefferson, whose campaign for re-election has been hampered by a federal bribery investigation.

In a meeting at the Old State Capitol, the party's state Central Committee voted 69-53 to endorse Carter in the Nov. 7 election after hearing appeals from Carter and Jefferson, the only two candidates who received nominations for the endorsement.

News and views from the Louisiana Capitol
Hospitals concerned

The latest plan to overhaul the New Orleans health care delivery and financing system could face some high-profile opposition from private hospitals, who wonder what they stand to get from the deal. In a letter to state Health and Hospitals Secretary Fred Cerise, lobbyists for the hospital industry outlined numerous concerns with the 38-page overhaul plan. "There is an absolute lack of details," said Jack Finn, president of the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans, who co-signed the letter with Louisiana Hospital Association President John Matessino. "It is pie-in-the-sky platitudes with nothing to support it."

"They are very frustrated. That's all I'm hearing from them."

Gov. KATHLEEN BLANCO, on the members of a health care redesign panel that is trying to meet a Friday deadline to present a plan to federal officials.

News from the Louisiana delegation in the nation's capital
By Bruce Alpert and Bill Walsh

Bush urges action on revenue sharing

President Bush urged Congress last week to pass energy legislation that would devote billions of dollars in oil and gas royalties to Louisiana's coastline. "When you finish the elections, get back and let me sign this bill so the American people know that we're serious about getting off foreign oil," Bush told a group in Missouri on Thursday. Talks over the pro-drilling measure stalled late last month before Congress left for the pre-election recess.

Elloie: unworthy advocate of a just cause
James Gill

If Charlie Elloie is kicked off the criminal district court bench, he will complete an Orleans Parish superfecta for the state Judiciary Commission.

The coup will no doubt serve justice and promote public safety. But restoring even such comity as existed before the storm just became all the more difficult. The suspension of Elloie last week follows the ouster of three other black judges.

Many citizens will never be persuaded that this is coincidence. They will see it as part of a conspiracy to undermine black officials, turn funky neighborhoods into green space and keep their erstwhile residents in permanent exile.


John Hill: Diaspora, low turnouts spell trouble for statewide Democratic candidates

Depending upon your point of view, you were either jubilantly celebrating or despondent bemoaning election results this past week.

The significance of Orleans is that it is heavily Democratic, black and white. Statewide candidates have always depended on heavy margins in Orleans to win statewide.In the 2003 governor's race runoff between Blanco and Jindal, she won by 52 percent to 48 percent. Blanco was ahead by 55,000 votes. Her margin in Orleans was 50,000 votes. That's close.

Not so, the results of the 2002 U.S. Senate race.In her 2002 re-election, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu beat Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell also by a 52-48 percent statewide margin, or a 42,000-vote margin. Landrieu owed it all to Orleans, where she beat Terrell by 78,900 votes. In that Senate race, 132,000 Orleans voters participated. In this past spring's New Orleans mayor's race, 114,000 voted. Only 32,000 New Orleans voters went to the polls Sept. 30.

This does not bode well for Landrieu.


Pay attention to Entergy talks

Several actions are being considered in the effort to rebuild the energy infrastructure around New Orleans that could affect northeastern Louisiana. We must pay attention.

You will recall that Entergy New Orleans filed bankruptcy before floodwaters receded in the city. Lawyers must have started drafting that paperwork from the helicopter as they were evacuating themselves.

Entergy New Orleans is a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 holding company, Entergy Corp. At the time of Katrina's onslaught, it was the only such company headquartered in New Orleans. Last year, the parent company reported profits of $898.3 million on revenue of $10.11 billion.


What, more raises?

I was shocked to read in an article the that governor and our public officials are contemplating large raises for themselves. Why? Teacher pay is low, support personnel pay is low, assistance for the elderly and the poor is inadequate. All you read or hear about are cutbacks. This should have been headline news rather than a story hidden on the inside pages. There is a difference between public service and pocket-lining.

Roger Tullis

The Associated Press

Blanco seizes upon popular proposal for insurance bailout

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — For Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the train often appears to leave the station with her jumping on the caboose.

She frequently is late to take positions on issues gathering political steam and regularly latches onto popular issues only after legislators or other leaders have stumped on the matter around the state.

A recent example? It took the governor an entire legislative session before she realized Louisiana residents overwhelmingly backed consolidation of the fractured system of levee boards. Blanco backed the reform initiative in a second session once there was traction for the effort.

The latest train is a growing push for homeowner insurance relief.

Several lawmakers repeatedly called for a bailout of the state-run insurer of last resort, the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., to help reduce rate hikes for homeowners and businesses around the state, but Blanco refused to back that in the last legislative session. Her top floor leader lobbied against it and tweaked the slight relief developed by the Senate.

Rather than acknowledge the governor is a bit tardy in getting on the bandwagon, administration officials say Blanco has always wanted to provide insurance relief but was waiting until the state's financial picture became more clear.

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