At press time Monday, former congressman and one-time Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, fresh off a failed presidential campaign, was scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Roemer was set to speak during a hearing dubbed “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs.” The hearing was designed to underscore the corrupting influence of special-interest money in American electoral politics, specifically the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling that opened the floodgate for unlimited spending by corporations and political action committees. That was a central theme of Roemer’s campaign first to secure the Republican presidential nomination — he was shut out of the primary process like a drag queen at a church picnic — and later as he attempted to become the nominee for a bipartisan online political movement called Americans Elect. In a year in which the presidential election is expected to shatter previous spending records — often with money from shady, undisclosed sources — Roemer’s mission, quixotic though it may be, is welcome.

Traffic & Transportation Director Tony Tramel is like a patient professor with the City-Parish Council, doing his best to explain in layman’s terms the sundry engineering concepts of his trade. It was no different during last week’s meeting as the council finalized an ordinance making changes to the SafeLight/SafeSpeed program, and the traffic chief gently helped Councilmen Brandon Shelvin and Andy Naquin come to terms with the fact that 60 seconds make a minute. Shelvin and Naquin just couldn’t wrap their brains around the one-minute interval for traffic signals — a national standard among traffic engineers — and the fact that if you add a second to a yellow light you have take it from the green light because, you know, that’s just weird. But it was Shelvin’s rude treatment of Tramel — raising his voice in faux indignation, repeatedly interrupting him — that left us wondering why Tramel doesn’t send a subordinate to serve as surrogate.

Gov. Bobby Voucher loves him some airline food. He spends a lot of time in the friendly skies, flying to fundraisers and other political events even as one budget crisis after another rattles the state he’s supposed to be governing. But until July 13 of this year, the Voucher administration thumbed its nose at the Louisiana Constitution and hopped a jet without notifying the lieutenant governor’s office. When the governor is out of state, the lieutenant governor is in charge, a concept that evidently didn’t sit well with our ambitious chief GOP fundraiser. July 13 happens to be the day that Voucher’s failure to notify Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne of his travels became a statewide news story. Late that evening, according to Dardenne spokesman Jacques Berry, the Voucher administration started following the law and emailing Dardenne with Voucher’s out-of-state schedule. Voucher’s office doesn’t indicate where the governor is headed, only the times he will be out of state.

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