Partisan Quid Pro Quo Sunday, Mar 30 2008 

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Senator Joe McPherson, democrat, has been an opponent of the Jindal administration’s effort toward ethics reform claiming there was not enough attention to campaign finance laws.  In The Advocate, McPherson refers to this issue as legal corruption

If you follow the money in some campaigns you will understand the ongoing concerns over this issue.  The only problem with McPherson’s comment is that quid pro quo needs to be addressed with his fellow democrats as well.

Garnering campaign contributions is the single most challenging aspect of a campaign.  Candidates are humbled daily as they ask family, friends, associates and frequent contributors to donate money.  Without the money, their campaign comes to a grinding halt.  It takes money to do anything in a campaign.  Big money.

Few individuals will argue about the quid pro quo unless they are the contributors who give large expecting something in return.  Candidates know full well that large contributions require extra attention to the source/donor.  Following the money and connecting the dots is a full time job.  The ethics commission should have a seperate investigative unit of researchers who crank out the connections of donors to candidates. 

Fall 2008 elections will be quite revealing in the Red Stick with the mayoral race.  Mayor-President Kip Holden shows some interesting contributions and expenditures which contain the makings of a good political novel.  Watch for more over the coming months.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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The 3 Top Dogs of EBRP Thursday, Mar 27 2008 

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In Catholicism we believe in the Holy Trinity:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  In politics, there are also ‘three top dogs’ that control virtually all the power in any given parish:  the Sheriff, the Mayor-President and the District Attorney.

  • Top Dog #1 – Sheriff (Democrat):  On December 4, 2007, the newly elected Sheriff, Sid J. Gautreaux, III, was elected and will remain in power until 2012.  He fills the unexpired term of former Sheriff Elmer Litchfield, along with a new four year term. 

This fall East Baton Rouge Parish voters will go to the polls to elect the other two top dogs for our parish:  the Mayor-President and the District Attorney.

  • Top Dog #2 – Mayor-President:  Incumbent Mayor-President Kip Holden, democrat, recently announced he will run for a second term, and gave 100 ‘reasons’ why he should be re-elected including serving as King of the Spanish town Parade and Lollapalooza!  Holden agreed to pay the Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce a $500,000 fee for economic development efforts on behalf of EBR parish.  Within a few weeks, Holden garnered the Chamber’s PAC endorsement, even though no other candidates have officially announced –speculation on this issue is obvious.   Another mayoral candidate rumored is democrat Cleo Fields, known as an arch rival of Holden.  Republicans have dropped names Wayne “Spider” Carter, Mike Futrell, and other well-respected republicans as possible mayoral candidates.  Holden nixed Futrell’s potential as a candidate by hiring him as an assistant chief administrator.   No other candidates have officially announced at this time.
  • Top Dog #3 – District Attorney:  Democrat, Hillar Moore, is already the front-runner for DA as a well-respected attorney, and is Holden’s choice for DA.  Former district attorney, Doug Moreau, still has people speculating whether he will run again – which is doubtful.  Former assistant district attorney, John Sinquefeld, was hired by newly elected attorney general, Buddy Caldwell, which most likely nixed his previously announced intention to run for DA.  Attorney Dan Claitor, a republican, has also announced his plans to run for district attorney.  No other candidates have officially announced to date.

The voters of EBR Parish should take note of these key positions due to the overwhelming control and power they hold individually and as a group in the parish.  Also, follow the money, as contributors are known to have major say-so once their candidates are elected. 

If three democrats win these seats, then the citizens can expect a ‘full throttle democrat display of leadership’ in the Red Stick for the next 4 years. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

P.S.  The new CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Adam Knapp, is also a registered democrat.

Will the real Mayor-President please stand up? Monday, Mar 24 2008 

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Some call him the ‘shadow Mayor’, but his official title is Chief Administrative Officer and his name is Walter Monsour.  Often the second-in-command position is just that, but Monsour is anything but #2. 

Monsour is known as the most powerful man in city government guiding the overall plan for the parish and serving as the spokesperson for the Mayor’s office as the most frequent speaker at Metro Council meetings while the Mayor is gallivanting on out-of-town trips and serving as guest of honor at local galas and parades.  Mayor-President Kip Holden has given Monsour the Green Light and the authority to set the city parish agenda, lay out the budget, and oversee the proposed loop.

As a native of Shreveport, Monsour is an attorney and successful businessman as one of the owners of First Responders System & Technology, Inc.   He is no stranger to calling the shots.  Under Mayor Pat Screen, he served as his right-hand man in the 1980’s.

In the upcoming fall election, Monsour has given us a peek into what he plans to propose in the way of new taxes including a law enforcement complex to house the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office near the airport. 

Some say that Mayor-President Kip Holden seems to surround himself with individuals for political reasons.  Back in 2005, an article in the Baton Rouge Business Report mentioned that Monsour may have been chosen to ‘calm white fears that a black mayor could turn Baton Rouge into a New Orleans.’  More recently there has been speculation that Mike Futrell, who Holden appointed as Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, was chosen to squelch a behind-the-scenes move by republicans to have Futrell run against him this fall.  Regardless, the old adage is ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ 

Keep an eye on Monsour as the most influential person in the Red Stick affecting the policies and procedures affecting traffic, sewer, public safety, and budgetary planning.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

 

 

EBR Parish Mayoral Candidates? Friday, Mar 21 2008 

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On the lighter side of elections this fall…

According to an article posted on WAFB-TV, Mayor-President Kip Holden announced his candidacy for re-election this week. 

Holden provided the media with a list of 100 reasons why he should be re-electedOne of those reasons was serving as the King of the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade

Since Holden feels this is a qualification for the office of Mayor-President, perhaps we should take a look at some of the other Kings of Spanish Town’ as possible candidates for Mayor this fall?  Pictures, above, give a sneak peak at potential mayoral candidates in this order:

  • King Bill “Simple” Simon
  • King Gary “Flamingo” Rispone
  • King David “Elvis” Applegate
  • King Danny “Boudreaux” McGlynn
  • King “C.C.” Lockwood
  • King David “Da Man” Manship
  • King “Price” Leblanc
  • King Melvin “Kip” Holden
  • King “Smiley” Anders

It is true that the ‘Kings of the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade’ have contributed greatly to the Red Stick from community service to legal advice and from economic impact to the arts.  So who knows what to expect this fall in the upcoming election for Mayor-President?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Train Wreck of Ethic Proportions Thursday, Mar 20 2008 

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Ever wonder if politicians lose sleep at night?  I do.  We are facing an ethical and moral dilemma among political figures today.  It’s a train wreck.

According to The Advocate, state democratic party chairman Chris Whittington is calling for the resignation of Senator David Vitter, republican.  Is this an anomaly?  Will Whittington also call for the resignations of all democrats that have had marital indiscretions and apparent ethics violations in our state and parish, or just those exposed by the national media?

Do not misunderstand.  I am totally against any marital indiscretions.  Period.  End of sentence.  I do, however, challenge Whittington to call all political appointees out openly, not just those exposed by the media. 

The last few days have been peppered with charges of ethical violations and moral indiscretions across our country, state, parish and in the Red Stick.  Expect more to come out locally before 2008 ends.  

Regardless of your spiritual belief, we all understand the law of sowing and reaping.  Voters are now more savvy than ever in this information age of breaking news, blogs, email and text messages.  Just ask Obama, Spitzer, Vitter, or the Clintons to name a few.

Politicians say ‘I speak for the people who elected me.’  No, you do not speak for us when we see you eating at an area restaurant or dancing in a dimly lit nightclub with your girlfriend and not your wife.  Nor do you speak for the voters when you commit ethics violations by not disclosing vital information about your campaign and business practices.

We truly have a train wreck of ethic and moral proportions.  What you do when you think no one is watching is of ethical and moral consequences, whether you are a republican or democrat, or a U.S. Senator or a local Red Stick politician.  Let’s stop the train wreck of ethic and moral proportions at the voting booth this fall.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Crime & The Katrina Controversy Wednesday, Mar 19 2008 

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Hurricane Katrina hit landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2005.  It was one of the costliest and most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history, taking nearly 2,000 lives and displacing thousands of families. 

The 2000 Census shows EBR Parish’s population of 412,852, and estimates EBRP in 2006  between 429,073 and 430,051.  These estimates mean we increased less than 19,000 vox pop in EBR parish.  

Public safety is the #1 concern for residents in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Over the past 10 days we have seen the tip of the iceberg in the news by learning of the violent crime plaguing our neighborhoods in EBRP from Zachary to Burbank and from Centurian Place to Stumberg Lane.  

In 10 days, the news has revealed the rape of a juvenile, the robbery of lady checking her mailbox, an attempted robbery, 17 DWI’s, 3 drug possessions, 2 drive-by shootings, a stabbing, 3 teenagers (bystanders) shot at a party, intimidation of citizens by an assistant police chief, fire department equipment tampered with, and the robbery of bank ATM.  The newspaper and television only highlight a few criminal acts daily due to space and time. 

This morning The Advocate  indicated the new crime rankings show Louisiana as the 2nd dangerous place to live in the U.S.  (40% more dangerous.)  Some experts say ‘this can’t be true’ and if it is it must be ‘due to Katrina.’ 

When will we stop using Katrina as an excuse for the challenges set before us?  We LOST citizens in our state due to Katrina. 

EBRP had an increase of less than 19,000 displaced residents, and yet we still blame all our woes from traffic to crime on Katrina claiming we ‘doubled our traffic count’. In a parish of over 400,000, an increase of 19,000 is not ‘double’.   Traffic woes were here long before Katrina appeared on the scene.  The loop has been in discussion for 14 years, as former Congressman Richard Baker said, and still no loop!  I digress.

I call this The Katrina Controversy that seems to be the scapegoat for issues that plagued us long before the hurricane hit us in 2005. 

At least one voice in the wilderness is addressing the issue.  Governor Bobby Jindal says he is prepared to make a commitment to provide the tools law enforcement personnel need and changing laws to increase sentences for violent offenders.  One more improvement on the state level thanks to new leadership.

Now, if we can just find new leadership in the Red Stick this fall, we might be able to tackle this issue head-on.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

P.S.  Kudos to our law enforcement personnel who lay their lives on the line every day for us.

EBRP Quality of Life Calls for New Leadership Tuesday, Mar 18 2008 

 

Sad Update:  I do not understand this development.  In checking on the EBR Sheriff’s Office website, the statistics now show through the end of 2007 only.  In an age of technology, you would think we could go forward and not backward.  The question is why show older statistics?

Update:  I am pleased to see that the BRPD has updated their statistics for January, 2008 on their website, and hope they will provide February statistics soon.  The EBR Sheriff’s Office still has statistics from 2006 on their website.

The first 10 minutes of the nightly news in the Red Stick is troubling.  Citizens are concerned, rightfully so.  Some of the issues that have affected our quality of life find many calling for new leadership. 

Louisiana voters showed they are ready for positive change by electing Governor Bobby Jindal.  New state leadership has already brought us ethics reform and business-friendly legislation. 

Now, it’s time to consider new leadership for EBRP.  Promises are no longer good enough.  Action is required to deal with the troubling signs in our parish that continue to plague us:

  • Crime:  The Baton Rouge Police Department reported homicide up 52% in the Red Stick.  (Ironically, the BRPD only lists crime stats through 2007, and EBRSO‘s crime stats are from 2006.)  EBRP prison is busting at the seams, and we need to step-up crime prevention in our parish sorely.
  • Education:  The Louisiana Department of Education gave EBR Parish only one star (out of five) for EBRP Public Schools, in a press release dated March 4, 2008.  The Louisiana Workforce Commission released figures in November, 2007, stating that Baton Rouge residents function at the lowest level of measured literacy, 28%.  Education woes produce joblessness, increased health costs and public safety issues according to the Greater Baton Rouge Literary Coalition.
  • Traffic: Traffic woes are daily water-cooler talk in EBRP.  Within one week two critical announcements were made regarding this issue:  The Metro Council announced they were refinancing a bond issue which will affect the dollars spent on road improvement, and TRIP announced our roads are still rated poor in EBRP.   Mayor-President Kip Holden stated in his state of the city address we have received $4 million from the state for ‘phase two’ of the loop which seemingly pays for more studies and public meetings. 
  • Healthcare:  Louisiana has a high rate of uninsured citizens, and EBRP in particular.  Access to quality healthcare and challenges for the working uninsured are major issues to ensure quality of life for families in our parish.
  • Poverty:  The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has joined other groups to request additional funding from the Louisiana Legislature due to the inordinate amount of families needing assistance for an important problem:  hunger!
  • Taxes & Budget:  In December, the Metro Council voted to approve Mayor-President Kip Holden’s budget in the amount of $678.7 million, a 9.5% increase from the previous year’s budget of $621 million. 

Compare these woes to the promises made by Mayor-President Kip Holden:  “I assumed office as Mayor-President on January 1, 2005, with a goal to build an administration that will be a green light for solutions to traffic, safe neighborhoods, a quality education and open government.”

It’s a no-brainer to vote NO to re-elect Mayor-President Kip Holden this fall!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

 

Who’s In and Who’s Out on the 6th, Mayor Holden? Sunday, Mar 16 2008 

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As I read the ongoing saga of superdelegates among democrats for the presidential campaign, I can’t help but wonder about Red Stick elected officials and where they stand in the 6th congressional race. 

For instance:  Have you noticed the apparent absence of a mayoral endorsement for either of his fellow democrats Michael Jackson and Don Cazayoux?

Mayor-President Kip Holden, has been a ‘master endorser’ in political races.  Since 1986, he has endorsed John Breaux, Billy Tauzin, Ralph Tyson, Curtis Calloway, Byron Stringer, Darrell White, Rosemary Pillow, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Richard Ieyoub, Kathleen Blanco, Mitch Landrieu, Pat Smith and Sid Gautreaux – to name a few. 

Holden hands out endorsements faster than I can shred my junk mail. 

I thought the Mayor would quickly endorse his fellow african-american democrat Michael Jackson. Jackson is vice-chair of both the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and the Democratic Caucus, a fellow attorney, and a rising star.  They have a close friend and supporter in common, Raymond Jetson, who Jackson was an aide to during Jetson’s legislative era.

On the other hand, Holden could endorse fellow democrat Don Cazayoux.  Or has he?  It’s commonly known, all denial aside, that when the AFL-CIO, firefighters local and union of police endorse a candidate that directive comes ‘behind the scenes’ from the Mayor.  All of these groups have endorsed Cazayoux.

Why is Holden’s endorsement so important to the voters of EBRP? 

Because if either democrat gets elected they will need to bring home the bacon for EBR Parish.  The Red Stick can use all the bacon we can fry up from Washington with our traffic woes, increasing murder rate and inflated city-parish budget.

So, who’s in and who’s out on the 6th, Mayor Holden? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

 

Obama: Actions Speak Louder Than Words Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

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Obama said today in an Indiana Town Hall Meeting that our country has a lot of pent up anger about race, but he believes the people want to move past this issue.  With all due respect to both sides of the race issue, we are frail humans, challenged every day to incorporate idealistic goals into practical application.

Life Lessons 101:  The open discussion and acknowledgement of Obama, an african-american, and Hillary, a woman, are not going to go away in the presidential election.

Hillary’s tears, choice of clothing, hairstyle, demeanor, strength and role as a wife and mother define who she is –a woman.  Unless you are blind and have not read any of Obama’s books where he has defined his own heritage and life story, you can’t overlook the fact that he is — an african-american.

Watching Obama last night during a taped interview reminded me of a deer in the headlights as I noticed him verbally stumbling for the first time in this presidential campaign.  Obviously, he was shaken at the latest headlines while attempting to disassociate himself from his long-time pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.’s divisive words.

It does not take a political analyst or lie detector to answer this question:  How can a man who sat under a pastor for 20 years claim ignorance only after the media reveals the pastor’s beliefs?

No, Obama, I do not believe you.  You may be persuasive, articulate, intelligent, and even inspirational — but you are too intelligent to win the argument that you were not mentally acute of Rev. Wright’s beliefs.

Red flag:  Obama has mentioned the close relationship of Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan in the past.  No explanation needed!

Red flag:  Obama originally planned for Rev. Wright to speak at his presidential announcement one year ago and pulled him from the agenda after Wright’s sermons were exposed publicly.  Self-explanatory!

Always trying to bring this back into perspective for Red Stick citizens:  This reminds me of two local politicians who quote scripture, believes they live a secret lifestyle outside of their marriage, and then publicly go on the offensive by trying to squelch ‘rumors.’ 

No, we do not believe any of you.  Your life as a public figure is an open book.  While you may be self-delusional that no one is watching, the people are more attentive than you think.  The red-light cameras in the Red Stick are not the only ones watching.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Tipping Point Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

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It’s no secret that Malcolm Gladwell may be one of the greatest authors of this century.  Both of his publications, Blink! and The Tipping Point have a special place in my library. 

In The Tipping Point, Gladwell speaks of three personality types.  Here is my personal interpretation:

  • CONNECTORS:  They simply know everyone!  They bring people together!  Their world is so vast and comprehensive and they become the coalition builders of the world.

 

  • MAVENS:  These are the knowledge seekers!  They gather information and have the gift of sharing that information with everyone in a way we can comprehend and absorb.

 

  • SALESMEN:  These are the persuasive people!  They have a charisma that can convince almost anyone of their viewpoint.  They make people want to have whatever it is they are selling.

Gladwell calls these three categories the law of the few, claiming these are rare skill sets.  I believe we should aspire to one or more of these attributes if we are to succeed in life. 

Success is measured by all of us uniquely.  If we are to be successful in life, I believe we must have information to share with others, develop a large circle to influence, and learn how to effectively share that information to effect a difference.

I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but highly recommend that you add this one to your library because it’s a keeper.

What is the tipping point in your life?  What kind of extraordinary difference can you make by connecting, learning and sharing that will effect others?  Give it a go! 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

 

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