I believe it is imperative to discuss this past week’s “crime-fighting” debacle.
It all began when Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, who is rumored at taking a run for Mayor-President in the near future, began to address the ongoing increase in violent crime in East Baton Rouge Parish as an urgent matter. Walker declared the increasing violent crime as an emergency that needed immediate attention.
This action by Walker, of course, met resistance from current Mayor-President Kip Holden.
There is nothing new under the sun since this is Holden’s MO (modus operandi). Anyone that dares to speak against Holden’s plans, or lack of plans in this case, is seen as the target du jour. Holden always goes for the jugular vein by attacking his opponents vs. the issue at hand.
Let’s recap the chain of events.
- Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker announced he had plans to move funding to address the apparent problem with violent crime in our parish.
- Mayor Kip Holden lashed back by accusing Walker of instilling fear in the community.
- Holden also accused Walker of micro-managing the police department (which falls under the purview of the Mayor).
- Walker mentioned that he would like to divert $900,000 from widening streets in downtown to the police department and district attorney’s office to fund increased police patrols and prosecutions.
- Holden cried foul by saying the Bowling Congress needed two-way streets to be a success. (Guess he forgot the last Bowling Congress was a success with one-way streets?)
- Holden struck back again claiming that he was being attacked, going so far as to speak of himself in the third person. “This is not a time for a counsel member to try to attack the Mayor,” said Mayor Holden.
- Council members Alison Cascio and Chandler Loupe supported Walker by stating their constituents were fearful of the crime problem in our parish and it did need to be addressed, while Joel Boe’ said he feels the crime is as bad as it has been for the past two years.
- Holden continued his hyperbole by going so far as to suggest that those criticizing policing efforts don’t understand what is going on in the poor black areas of our community.
I suppose that would be funny, if it weren’t such a sad statement. No doubt, this is a mentality shared by Holden’s spin doctors who are truly out of touch with our entire community. First of all, Walker didn’t refer to the crime problem as a black/white issue. Race was NEVER mentioned until the Mayor brought up the topic. This truly was political suicide for Holden.
Let’s continue with the events that brought forth the greatest political debacle affecting Holden and Gautreaux:
- Mayor Kip Holden quickly summons the Baton Rouge Police Chief, District Attorney, State Police Superintendent, and Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish to his office to ask them ‘are you with me’?
- This is the ultimate insult to the intelligence of the citizens of Baton Rouge. Are you telling me that it took Mike Walker to speak out publicly to cause the Mayor to call the four leading law enforcement entities to his office to “discuss’ the violent crime problem in our Parish?
- The cover was blown when Sheriff Sid Gautreaux repeatedly stated, at the last-minute press conference, that he told the Mayor he was in when he called the day before to ask for his help.
- Huh? Is Gautreaux the ‘chief law enforcement officer of the parish’ or not? Does he only follow the lead of the Mayor? Is he only reactionary? Does it take a domino effect for the chief law enforcement officer to act? Why did Mayor Holden wait until Walker said we had an emergency to call in the top law enforcement officers for a meeting to develop a plan of action? What kind of Mickey Mouse operation are we running here?
- Police Chief Jeff Leduff, who is rumored to run for Sheriff with Holden’s backing, spoke next at the press conference by saying he never understood the victims of violent crime until now. Well, that’s a hell of a note since he is retiring at the end of 2010.
- Why was this a mistake? Because it showed that Leduff has not been engaged enough with past murders and family victims. Broken, once again, in front of the television cameras, Leduff came closer to an emotional wreck than as leader of city police.
- District Attorney Hillar Moore seemed to be the voice of reason while stating that we needed to understand how we got to where we are today. Understanding the past always leads to a clearer path to the future. Moore has made it no secret that education and truancy is not only his platform, but something he has put feet to since elected.
- Superintendent Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police, was present at Holden’s ‘come quickly to my rescue press conference’ and appeared to show the same leadership skills he normally displays as chief law enforcement officer of the State Police. Nothing new here.
Unfortunately, the press conference proved to be full of errors:
- Mayor Holden and Chief Leduff stated the Louisiana State Police Officers will ride in vehicles with Baton Rouge Police.
- We learned the next day that this is NOT true, and as Gautreaux said, “this will never happen”.
- Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said the parish prison is being modified to open up more beds for prisoners.
- This promise was made when we elected Gautreaux; he promised to add modular housing once he became Sheriff. This has NOT taken place.
- State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said he was availing his office for various law enforcement agencies to work together to solve crimes.
- This sounds good, but those on the inside know that the State Police has always opened up their campus to other law enforcement personnel. Nevertheless, Edmonson backed up the Mayor in a show of support.
- Additionally, Sheriff Gautreaux is already housed at the Emergency Preparedness Center near the airport where various agencies work in tandem with one another already.
- FINDING A PLACE TO WORK IS NOT THE PROBLEM FOLKS!
Boots on the Ground make more sense and do more good than any long list of false promises could ever make. We have seen enough of those promises from politicians. What we need is ACTION.
When Mayor Holden’s neighbor was murdered a year or two ago, he and Chief Leduff plainly stated that we would NOT allow this to continue. Unfortunately, neither one of these men have kept their promise. The criminals are running amuck in our parish and areas that rarely experienced violent crime are continuing (not just recently) to show increased activity by violent perpetrators.
Sheriff Gautreaux made a lot of promises when he was elected. The main thing was to put more boots on the ground by drastically increasing patrols (not just in the unincorporated portions of our parish, but in the entire parish and city limits. This has NOT happened.
Gautreaux also promised to build a coalition with ALL law enforcement agencies both INSIDE and OUTSIDE of our parish. This has NOT happened. Thus the press conference which resulted in a sad cover-up of what is a proven lack of leadership in the Mayor’s office, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office.
Hey, if you are unemployed or want a better opportunity to make a REAL difference in our community, I have TWO GREAT JOB OPPORTUNITIES waiting for two individuals who are committed to making a difference:
MAYOR-PRESIDENT of EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH
SHERIFF of EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH
ONLY THOSE WHO ARE SERIOUS, CAN TAKE ACTION AND STOP SMOOTH-TALKING THE CITIZENS OF EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH NEED APPLY.
The only way WE can make a difference in OUR leadership is when we vote at the polls. I have my binoculars on looking in the distance for leaders that will stand up for the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Who will be sworn in to protect and serve the people of our parish? Who is willing to stand in the gap and really lead the charge? Not for economic development, but for public safety?
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican