The free pass this bug-eyed hillbilly caudillo has gotten from Louisiana’s media and political class over the past six years has been nauseating enough to sour one on living in the Sportsman’s Paradise, but this latest abuse by John Bel Edwards might just be too much to stomach.
And I hope I’m not the only one pissed off enough to say something.
Because Edwards, the smarmy leftist who has studiously avoided any pretense of leadership on anything other than slavish defense of the state’s corrupt and dysfunctional status quo, is now decrying the “politicization” of the state bond commission as led by Attorney General Jeff Landry.
And how is this the case? Because Landry and a majority of the commission are delaying approval of funding for drainage infrastructure improvements in Orleans Parish until the political leadership of New Orleans backs down from their declaration that Louisiana’s new abortion ban law, WHICH JOHN BEL EDWARDS SUPPORTED AND SIGNED, won’t apply there.
Gov. John Bel Edwards was critical Tuesday (Aug. 23) of efforts to delay state funding for infrastructure projects in New Orleans over city leaders’ stance on abortion rights.
The New Orleans City Council, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and District Attorney Jason Williams have opposed the state’s newly restrictive abortion laws, which ban the procedure in nearly all circumstances.
Williams has said he will not prosecute those who seek abortions or doctors who perform them. The City Council unanimously passed a resolution aimed at protecting people who seek or perform abortions from arrest or prosecution. Cantrell also voiced support for the council’s resolution.
But Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has criticized the city’s position, going to the State Bond Commission and demanding it delay funding for the city.
“It is a misguided effort from the beginning to ever use the Bond Commission, and any of the work it does, to send a political message to anyone for any reason,” Gov. Edwards said Tuesday at a press conference with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Mayorkas was asked to weigh in, but deferred comment on Louisiana’s messy politics to the state’s leadership.
“Emergency management is not a partisan issue,” Mayorkas said. “It speaks to the health and well-being of the residents of this city, and this state.”
At Landry’s urging, around $39 million in funding has been blocked by the Bond Commission for the West Power Complex. That’s a planned $200 million project to improve the Sewerage and Water Board’s capacity to power pumps across the city and upgrade the reliability of New Orleans’ drinking water system.
Edwards said he’s confident when the issue goes back before the commission next month, the funding will be approved. He said the stalled money hasn’t technically slowed progress on the project because it is intended to fund later phases of the project.
There are a number of points to be made here.
First, Edwards is Louisiana’s chief executive. His job is to make sure Louisiana’s laws are implemented and executed. Whatever your thoughts are on Jeff Landry and the majority of the State Bond Commission delaying funding for S&WB’s power plant, the failure of LaToya Cantrell, Jason Williams and Susan Hutson to abide by a duly-passed state law ultimately is John Bel Edwards’ responsibility.
If they won’t implement that law, then it’s John Bel Edwards’ duty to force them to. The relationship between city and parish governments and the state of Louisiana is not like the relationship between states and the federal government – a city or parish is a subservient division of the state. They can’t just nullify a state law.
So Jeff Landry and the majority of the bond commission shouldn’t even be in this picture. This is John Bel Edwards’ problem. The reason Landry and the others are even involved is that John Bel Edwards has been sitting on his oversized rear end doing not a damned thing while a mayor, district attorney and sheriff openly flout and combat a state law duly passed that the Louisiana Supreme Court just affirmed to be legitimate – though final disposition of the case is perhaps still pending.
There is a rather bizarre, distorted picture of what’s actually happening here that too many people have bought into.
Jeff Landry and the majority of the bond commission aren’t the ones politicizing anything. Cantrell, Williams and Hutson politicized their jobs when they issued that declaration. The issue of not writing bond approvals for drainage projects in New Orleans is merely a response to that politicization, and it’s designed to bring officials of a subservient arm of the state into compliance with state laws.
This issue goes away when New Orleans’ politicians agree to comply with the law. That compliance is a much, much bigger issue than a power plant for the pumps in the city. It’s a fundamental precept of governance.
And the argument that John Bel Edwards and some of the other detractors are making is quite strange. It’s that mayors, DA’s and sheriffs don’t have to follow state law, because efforts to force them to do so – efforts John Bel Edwards is delinquent in making on his own, mind you – are messy.
Well, OK. What happens, let’s say, if Jeff Landry decides he’s going to tell sheriffs and DA’s to charge and jail all juvenile offenders as adults? As a matter of public policy that is actually pretty defensible, because drug gangs use juveniles as mules as a matter of course because they carry less risk of hard time if they get caught. And the car-theft rings which use them as carjackers operate the same way.
But state law isn’t all that friendly to treating juvenile criminals that way. And the same people screaming about “politicization” will suddenly become staunch defenders of state supremacy when the locals come down on the juveniles.
Incidentally, Republicans hold the vast majority of state offices in Louisiana. Why is it that Republicans are somehow unjustified in being willing to leverage that influence to get compliance with state law? Somehow it’s abuse for Republicans to use political power but it isn’t when Democrats do it?
That John Bel Edwards would take such an absurd position isn’t a surprise. What is a surprise is that anybody would go along with that.
And what is Landry doing, anyway? He hasn’t killed the power plant project; the funding is on hold until the New Orleans pols submit to state law. Cantrell and the gang could resolve this today, simply by acknowledging that abortion has been banned in Louisiana and whether they like it or not that’s the law of the land.
He hasn’t created this issue, they have.
And John Bel Edwards, worthless, destructive coward that he is, has fueled the issue by not doing his job and convincing the New Orleans scofflaws of what time it is.
We’re not sure why the pro-life groups haven’t demanded that Edwards do just that. It’s been very quiet on that front.
And we’re not sure why the Louisiana Republican Party and the legislative leadership in the GOP haven’t come out and hammered Edwards for his complete absence on duty in something that’s utterly fundamental to the governance of this state.
Apparently, I’m all by myself in noting that John Bel Edwards doesn’t have a leg to stand on in bitching about Jeff Landry. Well, fine – I’ll do it myself. That man in the governor’s mansion should shut his pie-hole and enforce the law. And if he can’t do that he ought to resign.