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Content for this site is produced by Gannett News Service's Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bureau, in partnership with Louisiana Gannett newspapers :
Editorial roundup
Posted on October 30, 2003

The Associated Press

Following are some recent editorials in Louisiana newspapers.

Oct. 24

The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette

On: Tax structure may cost state new plant, jobs

Bruce Foods has been firmly rooted in Louisiana since its founding in New Iberia in 1928. While its roots are here, however, the company's growth is taking place elsewhere. One of America's largest privately owned food manufacturers with more than 1,200 employees, the company has chosen to locate much of its operation in Texas, North Carolina and the Netherlands.

It is another case of Louisiana losing out on job-creating opportunities because of its antiquated tax structure and failure to match industrial inducement efforts of other states. Chief Executive Officer Si Brown confirms that the tax structure has been a factor in Bruce Foods' decision to locate facilities elsewhere. When the company bought Cajun Injector in May, Brown says, the Louisiana-born marinade company's production and packaging were moved to El Paso, Texas.

Now, plans call for another Bruce Foods plant to be established, and there is a strong possibility that the site chosen will be in Mississippi instead of Louisiana. Mississippi officials, including the governor and a U.S. senator, have been wooing the company, and economic development officials have offered a grant of up to $2 million with no strings attached.

If the plant is established in Mississippi, Louisiana will miss out on hundreds of badly needed new jobs. It is essential that state officials respond in a meaningful way to the Mississippi offer. As state Sen. Craig Romero of New Iberia says, the response must include more than just offering a loan guarantee. Beyond strong efforts by the Louisiana Economic Development Corp., there should be intense involvement by officials at the same high level as those who are speaking for Mississippi.

The battle to win the plant for Louisiana is an immediate priority. The long-range priority is tax reform that would make Louisiana more attractive to business and industry. With a business-friendly tax structure Louisiana would compete on a level playing field. As long as we maintain the present system, we will have little chance of ever winning economic development battles against states with tax structures that are less punitive toward business.

We urge the present administration to become involved in trying to convince Bruce Foods to build its new plant in Louisiana. We are hopeful that the next governor will lead an all-out effort to change the tax structure.

Oct. 25

The News-Star, Monroe

On: Futuristic medicine taking place today

A person grabs a small device, scans his skin and takes a dose of medicine. The light-based readout lets him know he needs some medicine.

It's not some sci-fi movie or kooky cartoon where cameras and animation can make anything become a reality.

It's real life, or the potential of it, taking place at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. No special effects or crafty artists are required.

Tech's Institute for Micromanufacturing is in the early stages of "smart tattoo' research. The hope is that one day nano particles can be injected into the skin of diabetics so they can scan the area with light to read their blood sugar levels.

That's high tech and a lot better than pricking a finger and testing blood, especially when some people have to do it many times a day.

The research serves as a prime example of the important work going on at Tech that has far-reaching implications. A medical revolution may take place in the future from the work occurring now in Ruston.

Diabetics around the world may find life easier thanks to this research. That's impressive.

It should give people in the region a source of pride to know that positive, life-changing developments can take place because of the work and effort of people and institutions that call our area home.

And who knows, maybe successful development of this and other products will lead to more economic development through production here as well.

Quincy Brown, a 25-year-old doctoral student, is building on research by 26-year-old doctoral student Patrick Grant. Grant has experimented with placing nano particles in the brains of rats, and now Brown is using a spectrometer to get a reading on the glucosamine level in the brain.

The research still has a long way to go, but the early signs are encouraging with potential. It's the kind of effort that can continue to put Tech and northeastern Louisiana on the map.

It's interesting to think of the possibilities this kind of research can have on so many people. It's a tribute to the facilities and people resources that Tech is putting to good use.

And there's no need to beam anything up. It's all taking place right here.

Oct. 27

American Press, Lake Charles

On: 'Cajun' primary draws interest

Political parties in Washington state are fighting a plan to replace the state's primary process, recently outlawed, with an open primary. People there are calling it a "Cajun" primary because it is modeled after Louisiana's open primary.

In most states, primary elections are closed. Republicans vote for Republicans and Democrats vote for Democrats.

The Grange, a farm-based fraternal group with about 40,000 members in about 300 affiliate granges in Washington, is pushing the "Cajun" primary idea.

Leaders of political parties are pushing a different option. They want a closed system that allows only self-identified party members to participate.

Although Louisiana's "open" primary has critics, it may be the most democratic.

Anyone, no matter their party affiliation or lack of affiliation, can vote for anyone.

We understand Washington's political parties don't like it. They have studied Louisiana history.

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, the longtime engineer of the Democrat's political machine, was the Machiavellian mastermind of the "open" primary and it backfired on him.

Back in the days of "closed" primaries, when Louisiana's Republican Party could hold its convention in a phone booth, Democrats had a scare.

Charlton Lyons, a Republican with money and impeccable character, got 39 percent of a 1963 general election vote in a race with Democrat John McKeithen.

Eight years later, there was another scare. The 17-candidate Democratic gubernatorial primary election ended with a runoff between Congressman Edwards and Shreveport state Sen. J. Bennett Johnson.

Republican Dave Treen, who was virtually unchallenged, sat on the sidelines waiting for the big dance while Edwards ran three statewide campaigns in the 1971 election.

To avoid a similar scenario in the future, Edwards engineered legislation for the "open" primary. He would make Republicans compete with Democrats, thereby drowning the GOP under a heavy Democratic vote.

It came back to bite him. Conservative voters started to abandon the Democratic Party and lined up behind the Republicans. By 1983, Buddy Roemer kept Edwards from getting a majority of primary votes. Facing a runoff with Roemer, Edwards conceded the election.

A GOP Web site refers to Edwards as the father of the State Republican Party.

Two decades later, Louisiana voters are registering as independents or claiming "no party," at a faster rate than either are joining a major party.

More independents dilute the clout of political machines and it becomes harder and harder for either Democrats or Republicans to control an election.

And failure to control the outcome of an election dilutes a party's political patronage.

And that's what Washington's political parties' argument is all about.

Oct. 28

The Courier, Houma

On: Send a consistent message of prohibition

The statistics are disturbing.

Regionally, the age children experiment with drugs is dropping, according to a 2002 survey by Louisiana Community That Cares. Kids often begin drinking alcohol as young as age 10 and smoking marijuana as young as 11. ...

Insecurity within families, and exposure through peers or older siblings are some of the possible reasons, experts say, for their indulgence. Overcoming those influences is a challenge, but it will take a conscious effort - not only by schools but also by parents.

According to experts, some parents would rather their children consume alcohol instead of dabbling in illegal drugs. While alcohol may be considered the lesser of evils, it still can be damaging all the same - hindering their development and establishing poor patterns of behavior. The recent death of an LSU student after consumption of a bottle of rum clearly illustrates that notion.

But parents teaching that alcohol is unacceptable for children may be difficult because alcohol is an acceptable and legal drug in our society - for adults and generally in moderation, that is. Regular alcohol consumption is common in many households - during Sunday afternoon and Monday night football games, crawfish boils ... any number of situations, social or not. And sometimes, it's difficult for children to understand the line of acceptability between adult behavior and their own.

They also may feel that engaging in an adult behavior makes them more adult. But that's incorrect; children, even teenagers, are not adults. They don't have the maturity required to make responsible decisions about their behavior or to break away from the pack when peers are engaging in inappropriate activities.

And of course, use of illegal drugs by anyone indicates a serious lapse in judgment and disregard for one's own health and welfare, as well as the law.

Since earlier use of drugs can lead to a much earlier breakdown in quality of life, the message sent by all to children must be clear: Drugs, even alcohol, are off limits.

Oct. 25

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

On: Watching West Bay

If the West Bay diversion works as engineers envision, Louisiana will gain 10,000 acres of new wetlands over the next 20 years - a significant environmental benefit.

Once a dredge has cut through the riverbank south of Venice, 20,000 cubic feet of water will pour into the bay per second, depositing sediment that will eventually create land.

As valuable as the new wetlands will be, though, the most important thing that the Corps of Engineers project will provide is knowledge. This is the first large-scale sediment diversion, and the lessons it provides will be used to design future diversion projects.

Coastal restoration advocates are also hoping that a successful West Bay diversion will help convince Congress of the need for larger-scale projects and the money to help pay for them.

That's an important case to make. The 10,000-acre gain that the West Bay project is expected to bring won't offset decades of rapid wetlands loss. The state of Louisiana has lost 1,900 square miles of coastal land since 1932 and will lose another 700 square miles by 2050 without intervention.

The West Bay diversion, at $22.3 million, is about as costly a project as can be handled by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Preservation and Restoration Act, known as the Breaux Act. But Louisiana needs $4.3 billion to $14.7 billion to accomplish its restoration plans.

That will require a far greater commitment of national resources, but this is a national issue. Louisiana's fisheries provide seafood for the entire nation. Its wetlands provide a buffer that protects critical oil and gas networks from hurricanes. And some of the man-made causes of erosion, such as oil and gas exploration, have a national dimension, too.

Those should be compelling reasons for the rest of the nation to care. But a concrete demonstration of what a big-ticket project can do might provide an even greater incentive to invest in rebuilding Louisiana's coast.

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