The results of this election season have “Take Away” implications for citizens of all of Louisiana, particularly Senate districts 37 and 39 and all of Caddo. Here are our key notes after reading of the tea leaves. Our first and most important reminder to ourselves as well as readers: “There are NO Sacred Cows!“
- The political machinery in Baton Rouge, the Jindal crew in particular, had no coattails when it came to pushing buttons for Jane Smith, they may have actually hurt!
- Voters reaffirmed the meaning of “Term Limits” as “serving twelve years in Baton Rouge as a legislator,” as the way they understood the definition.
- The concept of “being promoted to the Senate from the House” did not sell well, regardless of the bacon that was brought home.
- Slick negative ads in print, television and radio continue to play poorly with most voters beyond the initial chuckle, unless the negativity is “sticky” and “on the target.” The inability to document negative ads had a backlash that repulsed supporters as well as mobilized opposition voters in Senate 37. In particular, the low turnout in Bossier, with a narrow margin there for Smith reinforced the dissatisfaction of her own base.
- Senate 37 voters were still quite lethargic, as indicated by the low voter turnout. However it must be noted the renewed conservative calls for less government intervention, particularly Baton Rouge manipulation of local issues.
Senate 39 results translated to the following:
- Lydia had a difficult time translating her “good & honest approach” to issues in Baton Rouge with constituents lured by promises of Tarver of a return to patronage, payoffs and the good-old-boy network of the Edward’s days. Old habits still sell with voters who expect special deals and horse trading tactics of the old days. Hard work still is not in vogue when short cuts are possible!
- No question Tarver can still work a crowd, enamor and inflate egos with promises, and sell snake oil to the infirm for their last dime while cutting deals that will benefit friends as well line his own pockets either directly or indirectly.
- The Republican “token candidate,” Slagle, accomplished just what Tarver’s wanted. He separated Republicans in the first primary to soften Lydia’s supporters and give him a chance to cut more deals in the runoff with Republicans. Lydia’s hope now is that she can educate Republicans of need for good government as opposed to selling votes for pork or promises. And now Republican strength in Baton Rouge may actually work against Tarver’s tactics. Louisiana survived Tarver’s deals during the Edward’s administration. Tarver was acquitted once when Edwards went to jail.
So now what did Caddo learn? We have a new school board member in Carl Pierson, who may be a savior to public education, at least as it exists in Caddo Parish. The cabal in the Midway office, particularly as tied to the leaders of the elected board, may have a new adversary of known quantity. Pierson is known as a serious, fair and decent public servant, with no reason to tolerate the antics the public has been forced to endure for several years.
Facts presented to the board by parents, teachers and a minority of current board members may have a new hearing if Pierson is up to the challenge.
And the real Take Away for citizens may be the lifting of the veil that the election may have had over law enforcement investigating some of the alleged illegal activities of some agencies. The Shreveport City Marshal and the Caddo Parish School Board may now be in the sights of white-collar crime investigators or other appropriate authorities.