by Brad Ott, New Orleans
LSU’s Board of Supervisors, the governing entity of the state system, affirmed by vote today new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services. Citizens will now be responsible for finding services in some cases at facilities across the state if local hospitals chose to drop unprofitable health care programs.
The Board of Supervisors approved the rewritten contracts without objection and with almost no open discussion. The reworked deals are part of an effort by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to win federal approval to keep Medicaid dollars paying for the privatization arrangements.
The contracts covered that have been in dispute govern the management transfer of hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Shreveport and Monroe (more…)
Add comment October 1, 2014 4:04 pm
This is a summary of my research on Swag Nation USA, as it is named here. With interest in non-government organizations receiving funds from the RiverFront Fund, which is parish collected funds from the gambling boats here on the riverfront, I discovered that Swag Nation which has as its spokes person here before the Parish Commission, Commissioner Michael Williams. The commission, as stated in the contract, wanted an etiquette program for juveniles that wore swagging paints. [KTAL Story] [KTBS Story]
The NGO’s are funded from the RiverFront Fund except for Swag. Swag has become a budget item like all other operational expenses paid for by the taxpayers of Caddo and not the gamblers at the River Boats.
Swag Nation has a contract with the Parish to provide such a service. Each juvenile with a recommendation from the Juvenile Court Swag gets $350 from the taxpayers for a six weeks course in how to keep up their paints. The parish pays for material and supplies and transportation for this six weeks of training.
Swag Nation in the contract agrees to (more…)
Add comment October 1, 2014 12:05 pm
Yet another poll on the Louisiana Senate race has been released, this one by Public Policy Polling*, called “PPP,” among those well-versed in such things.
Once again, as has more or less been the case for quite awhile, the poll has the heads-up race between Senator Mary Landrieu and Congressman Bill Cassidy within the poll’s margin of error:
In the question which includes other candidates,
… 42% Landrieu
… 34% Cassidy
… 12% Rob Maness
… 2% someone else
… 10% undecided.
Importantly, Landrieu is, as expected, maxed-out in terms of (more…)
Add comment September 30, 2014 7:02 pm
The KTBS story and report on theft of federal food funds as well as monetary mismanagement in the food services program has generated requests for school records and explanations from CPSB leadership, including Superintendent Goree. However, attorney for CPSB Reggie Abrams addressed the issue, according to one board member, by suggesting that NO future internal audits be released to the public.The 2013 audit notes significant issues (section of troubles in audit) that have never been properly addressed. Perhaps Abrams wants these to just “vanish.” [Complete 2012 &2013 audit here & here]
Abrams indicated that since these audits were internal in nature, the public has no right to view them. He further explained to board members, who cannot go on the record due to the policy that the board has to “speak with one voice,” that comments not vetted by the whole board only inflame the public, regardless of factual accuracy.
My question is why would Abrams expect any other reaction when all facts to date, including the video and story from KTBS, reflect mismanagement, poor judgement and outright theft (more…)
Add comment September 29, 2014 1:46 pm
It isn’t every day that such an admission is publicly pronounced by a political party official. In this article in Politico by Anna Palmer and Manu Raju, the top guy at the Louisiana Democratic Party is quoted as he explains Senator Mary Landrieu’s re-election chances:
“In Louisiana, Democrats believe their best shot at emerging victorious in the race is to win outright in November, taking advantage of a split between Cassidy and his main conservative foe, tea party challenger Rob Maness.
‘The only pathway Republicans have to victory is through a runoff. We have a pathway to victory without a runoff that’s just it,’ said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk.
The runoff — which would presumably (more…)
Add comment September 28, 2014 12:05 pm
There is an old saying in politics that if you are not taking shots from opponents (and political critics), then you must not be doing a good job. Put another way, if you are getting some hits then you must do be doing many things well. Such is the case with Patrick William who plans on being Shreveport’s next mayor.
Williams is a new face to many politicos and citizens alike, despite his prior service as a Caddo Commissioner and now as state representative from the MLK area.
That, plus his determination to be a positive agent for change, has upset many established political power bases and constituencies. And to top it off, Williams has NOT promised jobs in his administration to curry political favor.
There’s no doubt that Williams has upset the traditional “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality of Shreveport politics; its quite apparent that the old guard Shreveport business and (more…)
Add comment September 25, 2014 3:00 pm
Property tax winds are blowing yet again in Shreveport and Caddo, now from our Caddo Parish School Board. To put such taxation in context, this report contains new research comparing taxes in Caddo / Shreveport to other areas in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.
The administration and board are now at work deciding when to schedule their move, and what to put on the ballot when they do. A mix of renewals are coming due before we know it, and an early CPSB miscue could taint them all.
New Superintendent T. Lamar Goree is off to a positive, hopeful start, with perhaps several new school board members also coming aboard in November / December elections. Regardless, a “Give us the money!” tax renewal campaign would dash hope of reform.
(As I explained during the recent Caddo Commission tax (more…)
Add comment September 21, 2014 6:39 pm
It’s seldom that i disagree publicly with members of the fourth estate. Besides preferring to focus our energy on reporting on the myriad ways state government falls short of its number one priority of protecting the interests of the state and its citizens, we generally have a deep professional respect for our peers in the media.
I worked for 30-plus years in various capacities—sports reporter, news reporter, copy editor, investigative reporter and managing editor—for several newspapers all over the state, including Monroe, Shreveport, Donaldsonville, Baton Rouge and four separate stints at the Ruston Daily Leader where I began almost 50 years ago. I kept returning at a higher position mostly because of my (more…)
Add comment September 20, 2014 12:09 pm
The City Council races in the November 4 ballot could put 5 new faces on Shreveport’s legislative body; all council races are contested except for District C (Oliver Jenkins) and District D (Mike Corbin). Willie Bradford (District A) and Billy Wayne (District G) clearly stand out as the most qualified in the big field of candidates seeking a seat on the Council.
Bradford is challenging Rose Wilson-McCullough who is seeking reelection. The daughter of a highly respected civic leader, Rose has proven to be a disappointment to her district much like her prior service on the Caddo Commission. McCullough’s biggest accomplishment is dedicating most of street bond revenue money to the repairing of the avenue named after her dad.
District A encompasses the entire Cooper Road area (now known as Martin Luther King Drive area), North Highlands, Cherokee Park, and a portion of Cross Lake. This minority district is one of the poorest areas of the (more…)
Add comment September 18, 2014 3:00 pm
Political commentary peaks the interest on some casual observers, yet it strikes fear in some who are defensive of candidates whose election will determine their paycheck of the influence they have in monies expensed by the system. It still goes back to the saying: “bite that hand that feeds you, and you won’t eat very well.” Citizens, particularly those who vote, must admit that their democratic right to vote is being manipulated by too many whose seat at the table needs to be questioned. Blame and guilt now seem to be the driving force for at least one of the front runners in the mayoral race.
What I observe in the “Double-Dip” controversy of Patrick Williams is just like the Mary Landrieu travel expenditure complaint. If you complain about one candidate, i.e. as the Tea Party is of Mary Landrieu, you can’t turn around and forgive Patrick Williams for seemingly the same submission for reimbursements for the same expense to two separate reimbursement sources – FOR FULL REIMBURSEMENTS.
Paying attention to discussion of the mayoral campaign, voters must certainly recognize that (more…)
Add comment September 16, 2014 10:54 am