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Our Views: Tough slog for reforms to schools

It’s football season, so we can’t resist this image: Progress in public education is more Les Miles football than Pac-12 football. Gains will be measured in just a few yards and a cloud of dust, the kind of football Miles learned under the great Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan. It won’t be the run-and-gun… Continue reading →

Our Views: New lands for drilling

Regardless of how the November elections for the U.S. Senate go, whether it’s a new Republican or a continued Democratic majority, the prospect for more offshore drilling along the East Coast is likely. That is not just because of the economics of energy demand, which are inarguable. America needs more energy production, even if — as… Continue reading →

Letter: Vote for Amendment 8 helps protect coast

The Advocate has traditionally done what’s right in promoting and protecting Louisiana’s coastal and fisheries resources. However, in the October 17 editorial titled “Our Views on Amendments” this paper’s editorial staff broke with that tradition. The editorial seems to casually dismiss Amendment 8, designed to constitutionally protect Louisiana’s Artificial Reef Development Fund, as simply another restriction… Continue reading →

Letter: Work programs do help rehabilitate prisoners, warden says

Regarding the recent story on prison work release (and those on WWL-TV), I would like to set the record straight. First of all, as a prison warden with many years of experience, I could just incarcerate and release prisoners at the end of their sentence and have no concern for the public. My job is keeper of… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Plauche death brings back dark questions

Gary Plauche is one of the big interviews I never got when I was a newspaper reporter. I usually could get interviews that other reporters couldn’t and others wouldn’t attempt. But Mr. Plauche escaped me. I tried to interview his wife, his friends and everyone else close to him as an avenue into… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Oct. 24, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: DHH plan on victims

The arrival of a medical bill in the mail is probably never welcome, but it is particularly unwelcome when a person is billed for exams and tests related to a sexual assault. At different hospitals and clinics, different policies have been in place about this difficult situation, particularly for young women. The… Continue reading →

Our Views: New attack in Canada

The deep ties of heritage and blood between Canada and Louisiana magnify the impact of two terrorist attacks in our northern neighbor. In both cases, radicalized Muslim converts struck at soldiers. One victim was killed and another injured in Quebec. A soldier on guard at the National War Memorial was shot in… Continue reading →

Letter: It’s all in how you look at the Constitution

Gerald Lester’s analysis of the First and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution in his recent letter was absolute proof that you can make any point you choose as long as you leave out most of the actual facts. Lester traces the history of the two amendments in question all the way up… Continue reading →

Letter: An Ebola quarantine makes sense

In a recent edition of The Advocate, Eugene Robinson chimed in with another opinion piece stating that banning travel from the Ebola regions of Africa is “foolish.” I have heard a number of commentators say the same thing. I’ve yet to hear a convincing reason why this quarantine should not be implemented. Robinson and… Continue reading →

Letter: Amendment 1 cuts vital funds needed for waiver services

On Nov. 4, Louisianans will be asked to vote for or against Constitutional Amendment 1: “Do you support an amendment to authorize the Legislature to create the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund, for the payment of Medicaid reimbursement to the health care provider groups paying fees into the fund?” If approved by voters,… Continue reading →

Letter: Article 5 needs more work

I am writing in response to your editorial urging adoption of the draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The editorial takes issue with the Bureau of Governmental Research’s recent report, “A Trojan Horse in the Draft CZO: Article 5 Puts Years of Planning at Risk.” That article basically allows the City Council to grant exceptions from the zoning… Continue reading →

James Gill: Don’t fall for it ... Bobby Jindal’s ‘magic touch’ with Louisiana budget is imaginary

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Gov. Bobby Jindal answers questions after signing SB667 concerning legacy law suits into law on the last day of legislative session.

We knew that Gov. Bobby Jindal was a modern Midas, because no sooner had he taken up ethics than we had the “gold standard.” The magic touch has not deserted him. Just when a budget deficit loomed, he turned over a cushion in some dark corner of the Capitol, and found a wad of cash. Thus,… Continue reading →

Letter: Insurance commissioner has little power to regulate cost

As Louisiana’s insurance commissioner, I wanted to take a moment to share my concerns about the rising cost of health insurance facing individuals, families, and businesses in our state. I take very seriously my role to regulate a market for insurance that is affordable, accessible and reliable. Our team at the Louisiana Department of Insurance works hard… Continue reading →

Letter: Children, not misconstrued comment, are what counts

I have been in education for 43 years, championing for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds and races. During my tenure in Lafayette, I have paid particular attention to poor minority students and championed for equity in their education. So to be characterized as a racist is particularly concerning to me and unfair as it does not reflect my… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Oct. 22, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: Renewal fights bites

As voters in East Baton Rouge Parish go to the polls, we think they will find one tax renewal that is quite popular. That is the funding to fight mosquitoes. The 1-mill property tax is known to most of us as the funding for spraying for mosquitoes. On the Nov. 4 ballot, it authorizes eradication or… Continue reading →

Our Views: Showcasing new Main Library

As a champion of Internet culture as a force for good, Clive Thompson seems like an unlikely enthusiast of the traditional book. But during his recent lecture at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, Thompson had good things to say about the bound paper volumes that fill the library’s collection. “I… Continue reading →

Letter: Landrieu fights for students

Scarcely noticed amid the exultations over gains in student achievement in Louisiana is perhaps a more significant development in school reform. At long last, our state is inching ever closer to that elusive goal of providing a high-quality school in every neighborhood and access to good schools regardless of family ZIP code. Also… Continue reading →

Letter: Strong economy requires action on climate change

Climate change supercharges risks to our health and economy, and it is taxpayers and businesses that pay the price. We can turn our climate challenge into an opportunity to modernize our power sector, form a low-carbon economy and fuel growth. EPA’s fuel efficiency standards are an example of what’s possible. They’re… Continue reading →

Letter: Hong Kong leader should do the right thing and resign

Regarding “Hong Kong leader won’t quit, offers talks instead”: Hong Kong is having too many issues with their people protesting. The leader of the country should do the right thing and resign. No one in the country stands behind him; he has lost all respect for what he has done. Leung Chun-ying is… Continue reading →

Letter: Calling for transparency requires consistency

I would like to echo and reinforce the broader call for transparency by editor Mark Ballard that relates to LSU President and Chancellor King Alexander’s comments on university costs (Capitol Buzz, Sept 28). Dr. Alexander correctly holds up the lower costs of public universities (“better value for money”) than prestigious private ones. But a subtext of… Continue reading →

Letter: Support the Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. with a yes vote

I take exception to the Advocate’s opposition to Constitutional Amendment 8. The Artificial Reef Fund is administered by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, a state agency, which is totally self-funded and receives no monies from the state general fund. In previous years, the current administration raided this fund to the tune of $44.5 million… Continue reading →

Lanny Keller: Old friends, a few million apart

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Advocate Columnist Lanny Keller.

Editor’s note: Today The Advocate’s Commentary page begins a column by Lanny Keller that will appear on Wednesdays. Keller’s column will focus on politics and public policy in the Baton Rouge area, with occasional commentary on issues in the wider region and state government. Keller has been an award-winning editorial writer for The Advocate since 1998. Over… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Oct. 21, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: A voice of the young

We have the first lady’s word for it, that a New Orleans high school senior has a fan for her poetry: The president himself read the work of Madeleine LeCesne, and liked it. That’s what Michelle Obama told LeCesne and four other National Student Poets honored at the White… Continue reading →

Our Views: Helping small business

With major expansions of Veterans Affairs operations in Louisiana, it would seem the worst time for the state to drop a program that enables small businesses to be a part of purchasing and contracting with the VA. But that appears to be a possibility, with a state match for a federal grant having… Continue reading →

Letter: Columnist Gill ignores the facts with imaginary quotes

Baton Rouge editorialist and knee-jerk contrarian James Gill has trotted out a fiction about my restaurant, Bergeron’s. It is a sick, tired fantasy in which armed citizens create violence and havoc rather than making the world a safer place. In the absence of a thoughtful critique of my policy of offering a 10… Continue reading →

Letter: Empower the disabled through employment

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The goal of this national campaign is to raise awareness about disability employment issues and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Expect. Employ. Empower.” My agency recently hosted two Young African Leaders Initiative… Continue reading →

2014 vote: Your handy voting guide to upcoming elections

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As a handy guide for voting in the Nov. 4 election, here’s a recap of The Advocate’s positions on various proposals on the ballot in the Baton Rouge area. Early voting Oct. 21 through Oct. 28 is the early voting period for the Nov. 4, 2014 primary (except Sunday). Early voting… Continue reading →

Our Views: We support Ascension tax

Growth in Ascension Parish during the past generation has been phenomenal, as families flock to the parish to take advantage of its public school system. That’s meant a big increase in the number of youngsters in Ascension, and the parish’s recreation facilities and programs simply haven’t kept up with the growth. That’s… Continue reading →

Letter: Schools, roads and police need crucial new taxes

This is going to be the most unpopular letter to the editor I have ever submitted, but I believe it is time someone addressed the issues. I realize no one likes to pay taxes and it is obvious that none of our legislators want to address the need for new taxes. However, our school systems are… Continue reading →

Letter: Opinion of coastal lawsuit is invalid

Quin Hillyer’s latest editorial opposing the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East lawsuit against the oil and gas companies for wetland destruction conveniently fails to mention that those companies were legally required under their state permits to restore the affected wetlands. He and the oil and gas companies admit responsibility for said damage and express a willingness to help… Continue reading →

Letter: Fictional gun story outlines problems

In James Gill’s piece (“Bullets and biscuits: A Port Allen lunch story” Oct. 5), diners’ responding to the accidental firing of a pistol “figured the place was being robbed. … Forks were cast aside, while furious customers reached for their pieces. Rat-a-tat-tat!” A police spokesman said casualty figures would be released as soon as local hospitals could provide… Continue reading →

Letter: Gill way off target with his opinion

If Mr. Gill wishes to provoke a meaningful debate about gun control in Louisiana and the country in general, he grossly missed his mark with the rambling nonsensical garbage published in The Advocate on Oct. 5. The fictional narrative not only presented no logical arguments for responsible gun control, it was… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Few options to stop insurance changes

Besieged with complaints, Louisiana lawmakers have responded with a mix of loud criticism and worry about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sweeping changes to the health insurance program for state workers, teachers and retirees. But for now, that’s about all they can do. Until they return for a legislative session in April,… Continue reading →