October 22 Election Wrapup

First, the good news:

Out of my 20 endorsements, 11 worked out. There will be 2 runoffs for positions I endorsed, BESE District 2 and House of Representatives District 103. I’m most pleased by the 20 mill tax on the New Orleans Regional Business Park being voted down and will be looking forward to see if growth occurs out there in the next 12 months. I’m most disappointed in the passage of Constitutional Amendments 1 & 2. We now have a “sin tax” added to our constitution and hopefully the potential unintended consequences likely with #2 never happen, but I suppose we’ll see.

Some observations on the results in Orleans Parish versus the statewide numbers: Bobby Jindal only mustered 37.6% of the vote in New Orleans compared with his victory of 66% of total votes. Secretary of State was very close overall, with both candidates holding 50% of the statewide vote and Schedler coming out ahead by a mere 8,498 votes. However, in New Orleans Jim Tucker won 59.49% of the votes. Continuing the theme, Mike Strain won the state vote for Commissioner of Agriculture with 67%, but lost in Orleans to Jamie LaBranche 42-51%. Most odd from Saturday night was the rejection of amendment 5 by those outside New Orleans.

Overall it was a pretty quiet election day absent any major surprises. Looking to November 19 we have 3 runoffs, another constitutional amendment and a proposition (or 2 depending on your subdivision) to look forward to. More on those later.

Final October 22 Endorsements

I have finally made up my mind about the Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State races.

Lt Governor

I’m going with the incumbent, Jay Dardenne. I appreciate his delaying taking office to save the state money and Nungesser’s ads backfired against him as far as I’m concerned about Dardenne voting against a bill that would require contractors to verify their employees immigration status. Also, I’m not sure I would trust Billy Nungesser taking over as Governor should something happen to Bobby Jindal (assuming Jindal wins).

Sec of State

I’m backing Jim Tucker because I would like to see what he promises to do with the Sec of State website happen. As a frequent user of the site, it can definitely use some improvements.

Check back this weekend after results come in for all the races.

If You Tax It, They Will Come

Another item on our October 22 ballots is a proposal to extend a 20 mill tax on the New Orleans Regional Business Park in New Orleans East. The business park has existed since 1979 and the 20 mill tax funds about 1/3 of the $600,000 budget for the park which is home to a modest (in context of the praise it receives) 85 businesses. Only the businesses are effected by the tax. The major tenants are Folgers Coffee, Entergy, and NASA’s Michoud facility. Unsurprisingly the New Orleans City Council, lead by Jon Johnson who’s district includes the park, announced their unanimous support for this today.

Now I don’t know Councilman Jon Johnson personally, nor do I live in his district, but if I were given the chance to ask him a question, it would be this. What part of economics and common business sense says that if you add an extra special tax to an area you hope more businesses will move to, then naturally, the businesses will magically beat down your door to move in? That’s essentially what he’s saying here and here.

Instead, I offer another idea. Let’s all vote against the renewal of the tax and see what the existing businesses do to expand with the $220,000 they’ll save all together and maybe we’ll finally see some of that promised growth in the New Orleans Regional Business Park that we’ve been hearing about since 1979.

Also found in the Eggler piece is a gem of a paraphrase of Johnson, “he is heartened by the fact there appears to be no organized opposition to the renewal. In the absence of an opposition campaign, he said, tax renewals normally pass, especially if the vast majority of those voting don’t have to pay the tax.” Councilman Johnson, are you using typical New Orleans voter apathy as proof that this is a good idea? I wish I could say I was surprised. Well, while I may be late to the party in becoming an organized “opposition campaign” I am going on the record now as being just that.

No More Tulane Fraternities Off Campus?

The Zeta Psi house at Tulane suffered extensive fire damage this week. Naturally, the neighbors aren’t pleased as this has been a seemingly frequent occurrence of late. However, according to Times Picayune coverage of the fire, Maple Area Residents Inc president Tommy Milliner proposes Tulane ban off campus fraternities altogether. This thought is simply misguided. I will avoid the common refrains of “don’t live by student housing and then complain that students act like students.” Those statements don’t really address the neighbor’s reasonable concerns. Instead, I will point out the involvement of Tulane’s vice president of student affairs, Mike Hogg. As a former student of Mr. Hogg, I can directly attest to his memorable ability to not only teach extremely well, but also conduct himself in a manner that makes him perfect for his current position. The man exudes common sense and fairness. Rather than pursue zoning changes to remove fraternity houses, neighbors should allow Mr. Hogg to continue his already begun efforts to work with the fraternities to pursue a solution that benefits the safety of the students, their houses, and the neighbor’s concerns of future fires.

*Full Disclosure-I had the privilege of serving as president of a Tulane fraternity in 2005/2006. While our chapter has not had an official house since the early 1990s, (when incidentally, it burned as well) they do serve as an invaluable contribution to campus life. From our many explorations of acquiring our own house, I can guarantee that the students living in those homes, just as much as their national organizations, have a vested interest in protecting them from fires. Aside from their own safety, their house insurance premiums are a major portion of yearly fraternity dues.

Nolatarian Endorsements For Oct 22 Ballott

I’ve gone through all the races that will be found on ballots in Orleans Parish on October 22 and picked the candidates I feel most exemplify being Nolatarian or are simply the best choice of undesirable options.

 

Governor

I think we can all agree that Bobby Jindal doesn’t have to worry about losing this one. If by some chance he fails to get 50% of the vote and we have a runoff, I’ll actually dig into this one more. I would like to see some more info from the Scott Lewis campaign.

Commissioner of Insurance

I’m going to throw a curve ball here and support the challenger Donald Hodge. Hodge has some pretty interesting ideas, including the promise to only serve one term. Also, I can’t get over the fact that the incumbent, Jim Donelon, is pursuing allowing insurance commission agents to be armed…with GUNS.

Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry

Mike Strain has done good work streamlining the department and should be able to continue looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars.

Senate District 1

AG Crowe should be given the chance to continue looking for ways to shrink our state government and author more creative legislation such as Act 699 in 2008 that led to the Louisiana International Gulf Transfer Terminal. You can find more information about the terminal here.

Senate District 3

The only good thing about this race is that due to redistricting we get to rid ourselves of one New Orleans political establishment incumbent Democrat. I will be voting for JP Morrell solely due to my respect for his work as an Orleans Public Defender.

House of Representatives District 94

Both candidates are pretty average Republicans, but John LaBruzzo is a bit too socially conservative for my tastes. I’m going with Nick Lorusso in the newly combined district.

House of Representatives District 98

Due to Fenn French‘s experience in business development, he is a far more likely candidate than the incumbent to foster more growth in this Uptown district.

House of Representatives District 99

Not endorsing. I don’t see any way Bishop loses and both candidates are big government Democrats.

House of Representatives District 102

I’m very lukewarm on this one. Jeff Arnold‘s voting record isn’t terrible, but would have liked to see a candidate who focuses on limiting government.

House of Representatives District 103

Ray Garofalo is the only candidate in the race who seems to be committed to shrinking government.

Civil District Court Judge Division B

Not endorsing. Both candidates are recycled parts of this city’s current political machine.

Civil District Court Judge Division E

Not endorsing.

Traffic Court Judge Division A

Ernest Charbonnet is the only candidate not backed by the New Orleans political establishment. The least we can hope for is some independent thought here.

Criminal District Court Judge Section L

As an attorney, Franz Zibilich has an encouraging track record of cases as far as fairness and common sense are concerned and also has made the following quote; “That building was done to try the bad guys. Murder, rape, home invasion robbery,” he said. “There’s not enough time in the day to try second- or third-offense weed cases.” Also, he’s not endorsed by the same people as Louella Givens. A major point in his favor.

BESE District 1

Jim Garvey is doing good work in his first term and deserves to continue.

BESE District 2

Sometimes the incumbent is so bad you feel like you could throw a dart at a list and pick someone better. Fortunately, in this race, there’s a challenger worthy of endorsement, Kira Orange-Jones.

 

I’m going to weigh in on the Lt Governor and Secretary of State races later.