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Sometimes we just ride around and see things and wonder how come?

Monday was one of those days.

For 20 years I worked for the Office of Risk Management in the Road Hazards Section. My job was to work with contract or attorney general attorneys in formulating a defense for the multitude of lawsuits filed against the state by motorists involved in accidents.

In many of the cases, it was the driver who was inattentive or driving vehicles in excess of safe speeds or vehicles with worn tires, defective brakes or some other mechanical problem. In short, most of the accidents could have been avoided with a little preventive maintenance or by putting down the cell phone and turning on the headlights at dawn and dusk and during rainfall—and, of course, slowing down in inclement weather.

On the other side of the coin, I handled cases that presented clear liabilities for the state. These included shoulder drop-offs, rutted asphalt roadways that led to water collecting after rains which in turn led to hydroplaning, neglected potholes, missing signs, etc.

Another contributing factor, I believe, is the utter lack of logic by the Department of Transportation and Development in setting speed limits, which brings me to my point.

Driving north on LA. 1019 Monday, I observed speed limit signs of 45 mph. LA. 1019, which is a two-lane road with twists and curves, is nevertheless a major, or primary, roadway in Louisiana and is clearly marked with all the appropriate lines. But when I turned east onto LA. 1024 to cut across to LA. 16, the major north-south artery that slices through Livingston Parish en route to St. Helena, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes, I found myself on an inferior, or secondary, roadway with no fog lines (the white lines along the outer edge of each lane) and little or no shoulders. Inexplicably, the speed limit was bumped up to 55 mph.

The distance along LA. 1024 between the two larger highways is just under a mile and I soon found myself on LA. 16, a modern, four-lane highway complete with a grassy median separating northbound and southbound traffic. The speed limit on this major artery? 45 mph. I don’t question the wisdom of the 45 mph speed limit on LA. 16 or LA 1019. But 55 mph on this narrow road? Insane.

LA 1024LA. 1024 (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

45 MPH

LA. 16 (CHECK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

If you see irrational sights like this on Louisiana’s highways, take photos and send them along to us and we’ll post them. Be certain to identify the highway numbers and the parishes where they are located.

As if that was not enough, there is the case of the two Murphy Oil convenience stores only 1.6 miles apart near the town of Watson along LA. 16 in Livingston parish.

The first, shown here, was selling regular gasoline for $2.38 per gallon.

MURPHY 1(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Just up the road, though was this Murphy’s with gasoline going for $2.44 a gallon.

MURPHY 2(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Of course, a motorist purchasing 20 gallons of gasoline would pay a relative paltry $1.20 more for a fill up.

But when considering the total amount of gasoline sold on a given day, the number begins to take significance.  The average convenience store in America sells roughly 125,000 gallons of motor fuel (gasoline and diesel) per month (about 4,000 gallons per day).

Running those numbers, that extra six cents per gallon can run to an additional profit of $7,500 per month or $90,000 per year.

But it’s okay, folks. It’s just big oil trying to eke out a living—and to pay off a few politicians.

 

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HOW DOA CONTRACTS ARE NEGOTIATED (with a tip of the hat to Scott Adams and Dilbert)

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The Jindal administration would love to shut us down and shut us up.

But we’re not going anywhere.

Thanks to our readers, we continue to receive support in our efforts to fight the administration on the battlefront of public records. We won the first round, lost the second round and the third was a split decision, now awaiting probable appeal.

To continue our fight we need your help as our fundraiser enters the final two days.

Whatever you can afford to invest in solid, hard-hitting stories that the other media do not cover will be appreciated.

This is not a slur at the other media; it’s just that we’d rather not sit through the legislative committee meetings where witnesses pour out their hearts on emotional issues that are important to them while the committee members laugh and talk amongst themselves, leave the room for extended periods and otherwise go through the emotions of hearing testimony on matters about which the decision has already been made. (Trust us on this: testimony is heard in most cases on controversial bills only because the law requires it; there is no requirement that such testimony actually be considered in the decision-making process.)

That’s why we do what we do, but we need your help. Please click on the  Donate Button with Credit Cards button to the right or if you don’t like making online payments, send your investment to:

Capitol News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, LA. 70727-0922

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We’re still a little short of our goal (but not by much) which will help underwrite our efforts to fight our legal battles over public records and to churn out a comprehensive book about Bobby Jindal’s administration which we anticipate will be out in time for his final push for the GOP presidential nomination. The legal fight is important because if we lose this, you lose your opportunity to look over the shoulder of your elected officials to see what they’re doing that they don’t want you to know.

As an illustration of that point, you need only read the post immediately beneath this solicitation to see how legislators are spending campaign money—possibly some of your money, if you contributed to their campaigns—to pay for expensive tickets to sporting events, fine meals that you and I cannot afford and extensive travel that appears to be unrelated to their campaigns. At the same time, of course, they willingly allow Bobby Jindal to prevent the expansion of Medicaid that would provide health care to more than 200,000 of Louisiana’s low income workers; they vote down equal pay for women; they refuse to consider an increase to the minimum wage, and they look the other way as Jindal gives away our state hospital system and guts funding for higher education.

But first things first: Dayne Sherman of Ponchatoula, a prolific and talented writer, has agreed to help with the fund drive by giving away his first novel, Welcome to the Fallen Paradise, and the first 50 persons to contribute $100 or more to our fund drive today and Wednesday will receive a free, signed copy of Dayne’s book. (And everyone who has already contributed $100 will get the book as well.)

These are first edition paperback copies of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise, a Louisiana crime novel. The novel was named to Booklist Magazine’s “Hard-Boiled Gazetteer to Country Noir,” a national honor right beside Elmore Leonard’s Raylan, the Kentucky Pick. Welcome to the Fallen Paradise was one of the most celebrated novels of 2004. You’ll also want to visit Dayne’s political blog: TalkAboutTheSouth.com.

Here’s how it will work: click on the “Donate” button at the right and make your contribution via credit card. If you don’t see a “Donate” button, it’s probably because you receive our email alerts to new posts. Go to http://louisianavoice.com/ and look for the “Donate” icon. Be sure to send us, in a separate email to louisianavoice@yahoo.com, your mailing address so that we may ship you your book.

If you prefer not to contribute or contribute less than $100, not to worry: you can still get the ebook free through midnight on Tuesday, May 12. Every dollar helps LouisianaVoice, including $1s, $5s, $10s, and $20s. Here’s the link for the FREE ebook, and you don’t need a Kindle to read it: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V0O48T4/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_WkQsvb0SA8CY

If you don’t wish to pay electronically, you may mail your contribution to:

Capital News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727-0922th

Read Full Post »

We’re still a little short of our goal (but not by much) which will help underwrite our efforts to fight our legal battles over public records and to churn out a comprehensive look at Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration which we anticipate will be out in time for his final push for the GOP presidential nomination.

But first things first: Dayne Sherman of Ponchatoula, a prolific and talented writer, has agreed to help with the fund drive by giving away his first novel, Welcome to the Fallen Paradise, and the first 50 persons to contribute $100 or more to our fund drive today and Saturday will receive a free, signed copy of Dayne’s book. (And everyone who has already contributed $100 will get the book as well.) These are first edition paperback copies of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise, a Louisiana crime novel. The novel was named to Booklist Magazine’s “Hard-Boiled Gazetteer to Country Noir,” a national honor right beside Elmore Leonard’s Raylan, the Kentucky Pick. Welcome to the Fallen Paradise was one of the most celebrated novels of 2004. You’ll also want to visit Dayne’s political blog: http://TalkAboutTheSouth.com.

Here’s how it will work: click on the “Donate” button at the right and make your contribution via credit card. If you don’t see a “Donate” button, it’s probably because you receive our email alerts to new posts. Go to http://louisianavoice.com/ and look for the “Donate” icon. Be sure to send us, in a separate email to louisianavoice@yahoo.com, your mailing address so that we may ship you your book. Dayne will not keep, sell or otherwise share your information. In fact, it will be destroyed once your book is shipped.

If you prefer not to contribute or contribute less than $100, not to worry: you can still get the book free on Kindle through midnight Saturday, May 9. Every dollar helps LouisianaVoice, including $1s, $5s, $10s, and $20s. Here’s the link for the FREE ebook, and you don’t need a Kindle to read it: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V0O48T4/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_WkQsvb0SA8CY

If you don’t wish to pay electronically, you may mail your contribution to:

Capital News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727-0922

Read Full Post »

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