Jindal Charting His Legacy Monday, Jun 30 2008 

 

 Thankfully Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed the excessive legislative pay raise today!  After the announcement this morning, I noticed something extremely interesting:  voters were glad, but still expressed reservations about what kind of statement Jindal was making.  This made me think, which is dangerous.

There is a question I have to ask.  Is Jindal our Whiz Kid or our Hero?  What legacy is he trying to leave as governor of our great state?

Whiz Kid?  A whiz kid is defined as a young person who is exceptionally intelligent, innovatively clever, or precociously successful.  This was the nickname given to Jindal by former governor Mike Foster.  There is no doubt Jindal is intelligent and successful.  He has catapulted himself to success quickly rising through the ranks of political circles to become one of the youngest governors of the state of Louisiana.  He attempted to be clever in handling the potential veto, but didn’t accomplish his initial goal which was to have legislators decline a pay raise or to ask him to veto the bill.  He wasn’t such a Whiz Kid in the current scenario.

Hero?  By definition, a hero is someone with great strength or courage with a nobility of purpose.  I cannot call Jindal a hero because he apparently vetoed the bill only to save his own political future.  Sure, he spoke against the pay raise, but chose to wait until the eleventh hour to make the right decision.  In his speech Jindal never said what we wanted him to say:  “The people have spoken and we serve the people.”  Instead he said the pay raise was not in line with ethics reform.  The real pain came for the voters when he waited so long to veto the bill.  No hero here.  Or is there?

Governor Bobby Jindal has operated his entire career as ‘the hero’.  He seems to thrive on ‘coming to the rescue.’  Unfortunately, he misses a key component.  Heroes act quickly.  By the time Jindal often arrives, the injured is in pretty bad shape.  Even mythical heroes act quickly (examples:  Superman, Batman) 

Heroes also inspire, win battles against all odds, are leaders, set examples and are the pacesetters.  They come in all shapes, ages and colors. 

Political heroes include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses Grant, and Thomas Jefferson.  Inventors are heroes.  They are the likes of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell and Eli Whitney.  Heroes are creative, powerful, persuasive individuals that make their mark in history.  The list is endless from Rosa Parks to Albert Einstein and from Sam Walton to Bill Gates.  People listen to heroes, they emulate them, and they know them by the intensive passion to fight for what is right and good and true.  They apparently do not make decisions based on political futures, but on the matter at hand. 

So, at the end of the day, what is most troubling about Governor Bobby Jindal are the weeks of delay that he spent toiling over a decision to veto or not veto an unacceptable pay raise.  We are so very glad he chose the better part; however, we are perplexed to figure out whether he truly is a Whiz Kid or just longs to be a hero for the people.  If he is choosing to be a hero, then we need him to act quicker, firmer and with more resolve in the future than he has in the past.

Jindal is charting his political legacy each day.  Let’s hope he learns from the past and makes decisions that leave a legacy both he and the voters can be proud of for years to come.  Our legacy depends on it.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Church Lady Interviews Jindal Friday, Jun 27 2008 

Church Lady:  Hello.  I’m the Church Lady, and this is ‘Church Chat’.  Well, well, well, what an honor it is to have our first guest, Governor Piyush Jindal.  Welcome Piyush!

Governor Bobby Jindal: Thank you Church Lady.  It’s good to be here and you can call me Bobby, I changed my name years ago. 

Church Lady:  (rolling her eyes) What a lovely little name!  Bobby, Bobby, Bobby!  Just like Bobby on the Brady Bunch! 

Governor Jindal:  Actually, that’s how I chose my name!

Church Lady:  Well now, isn’t that special?  Let’s talk about the little crack your behind is in right now Bobby.  It seems you’ve found yourself between the legislature and the taxpayers in what we might call the proverbial rock and a hard place.  Tell me about the deals you cut behind closed doors with legislators in exchange for not vetoing their pay raise?

Governor Jindal:  (clearing his throat)  How on earth do you know about that? 

Church Lady:  The Church Lady knows everything dear!  So, Bobby, when you said ‘Let’s give our homeland, the great state of Louisiana, a fresh start’ after the election, did you mean throwing taxpayer’s under the bus in favor of legislators?

Governor Jindal:  No, uh, but I also said that ‘our people don’t want to be amused by our politics anymore, we don’t want to be entertained.  I said I would create ethics reform too!

Church Lady:  Well, it’s too late for that Bobby!  Hmmm!  Ethics Reform!  What a charming little euphemism!  Is that what we’re calling this now?

Governor Jindal:  I don’t know what you are implying.

Church Lady:  Of course you don’t dear!  (snickering)   So, tell me Bobby, what on earth made you think that you could put your little head in the sand and imagine that a 200% pay raise for legislators would just allllllll go away and nooo one would notice?

Governor Jindal:  Well a voice inside of myself sort of told me to focus on ethics reform, doing away with the Stelly Tax in a year or so, and to not upset the legislators who want full control of taxpayer money for pork projects and raises!

Church Lady:  How con-veeen-ient!  I think you need to look deeeep inside of yourself, Bobby, at what was thrusting and throbbing inside of you and think just what might that be that was telling you – hmmm  (taps her fingers on her chin) What could it be?  What could it be?  Could it be – Satan????

Governor Jindal:  Satan?

Church Lady:  Satan!!  Mephistopheles!!  The Prince of Darkness!!  The Beast Master!!  Satan himself!!

Governor Jindal?  I think you’re wrong, I think I’m right!  I’m the Whiz Kid!  I’m a Rhodes Scholar!  I refuse to continue this interview.  (storms off set)

Church Lady:  Oh, you think you’re so superior, don’t you Bobby?  A Rhodes Scholar?  Maybe you’re just a rogue scholar?    Kind of makes me feeling like dancing, dancing, dance the night away! 

(Church Lady begins doing the Superior Dance to the tune of . . .)

Hit the Road Jack

and Don’t ya Come Back No More No More No More No More

Hit the Road Jack

and Don’t ya Come Back No Moreeeeeeeeee!

Governor Jindal:  (screaming from backstage)  I don’t dance, except around political pay raise issues!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Mad as Hell Saturday, Jun 21 2008 

Due to popular response, I am told that I should let you know that during this movie there is a phone call to the Network where Faye Dunaway answers the phone and says ‘they are yelling in Baton Rouge’. 

 

Do these words sound familiar? 

“So, I want you to get up now.  I want all of you to get up out of your chairs.  I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell . . .

I’m as mad as hell,

 and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

The year was 1976 and the movie was “Network”.  Howard Beale was addressing the public in a radio talk show on the high cost of living, increase in violent crime, poor air quality, and unemployment rate.  Ironically, he addresses the fact that writing your congressman will be of no effect.

Talk about history repeating itself.  It’s almost prophetic for our current scenario in Louisiana and specifically in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Baton Rouge is the state capital and home to legislators who just chose to totally ignore the voters plea and give their self a pay raise.  Governor Jindal is also playing the absentee landlord by claiming he will also reject the citizen’s cry to veto the bill by ignoring that option and allowing it to automatically become law.  This, along with violent crime, captures the first ten minutes of our nightly news in the Red Stick.

Groups, PACS, and recall notices are slowly forming against the blatant lawmakers who erroneously believe that Huey P. Long’s cry ‘Every Man a King’ applies only to their selves!

Regardless of their indifference to voters, we should still make our voice known in the voting booth as well as writing and joining forces with capable groups that plan to combat excess spending in government.  Take a few minutes and write Governor Bobby Jindal to voice your concerns on issues such as the legislative pay raise.  Whatever you do, just get involved.  Talk. Write. Email. Call.  Voice your opinion now and in the voting booth in upcoming elections.

Go ahead!  Get up out of your chair!  Throw the window of communication open!  Holler at your elected officials and get mad as hell and tell them you are not going to take it anymore!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

SalaryGate: “I AM NOT A CROOK” Wednesday, Jun 18 2008 

     

“I AM NOT A CROOK”

In 1873, the Salary Grab Act, was passed by Congress raising their own salaries by 50%.  In order to make it more pallatible, they also raised the salary of the President and Supreme Court Justices.  It was donned as the most indulgent money grab by politicians.  The people were outraged and the act was rescinded.

In 1972, sabotage was the motivating factor behind one of the most historic political scandals:  WaterGate  Two years later, Richard M. Nixon became the only President of the United States to resign as a result.

The House Banking Scandal in 1992 included elected officials of Congress that overdrew their house accounts lending the perception of corruption and malfeasance in office.

There is a long line of political scandals leadng up to SalaryGate including  Lancegate, Billygate, Travelgate, Whitewhater, Pardongate, and Enron, to name a few.  As I said previously, history repeats itself

Fast forward again to 2008.  Zoom in to the State of Louisiana, Regular Session of the Legislature.  Elected officials of our infamous legislature have now created SalaryGate, much to the dismay of voters.  

Governor Bobby Jindal is getting a lot of advice these days, rightfully so.  He promised ethical reform and good government for the people of Louisiana.  He also promised that he would not allow legislators to vote their self a pay raise.  Uh oh!  While he is being held hostage by legislators to not veto their self-imposed pay raise, the voters are throwing their windows open and shouting “I’m not going to take this anymore!”  But will Jindal hearken to the sound of their voice?  Or will he refuse to stand up and be counted as he promised?

The people are watching, listening, waiting for someone to stand in the fray against politics as usual.  It’s time to make your move Jindal.  Don’t negotiate with terrorists.  If you allow them to win now, they will know you are a pushover.  Stand up and be counted.  Stand up for the people of Louisiana.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Senators: Wise Up Monday, Jun 16 2008 

On WBRZ-TV tonight, they announced that a bill that would potentially pay firefighters and law enforcement an additional $900 annually was pulled for further consideration vs. ‘arguing the topic at this time.’

Meanwhile, Senators of the Louisiana Legislature quickly voted to give their self a hefty pay raise doubling their salaries against the will of the voters in one of the most controversial legislative actions in more than a decade.

Need I say more?

5 Republicans and the remaining Democrat senators that voted yea for their own raise are:  Senate President Joel Chaisson II, D-Destrehan, and Sens. Robert Adley, R-Benton, Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, Yvonne Dorsey, D-Baton Rouge, Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, Reggie Dupre, D-Houma, Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, Cheryl Gray, D-New Orleans, Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport, Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, Rob Marionneaux, D-Grosse Tete, Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, John Smith, D-Leesville and Francis Thompson, D-Delhi.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Legislators & Legalized Crime Sunday, Jun 15 2008 

 

To understand the present, we must look to our past.   

In 2007, legislators voted to increase statewide elected officials including the governor by 30%.  Previously, the governor was paid $95,000 annually; the new law increased that amount to $130,000.  Likewise, statewide elected officials making $85,000 annually would receive a new salary of $115,000.  HB 489 passed in the Senate with 24 yeas and in the House with 57 yeas.  Toomy and Salter were the authors.

Curiously enough, amendments that were stripped from the 2007 bill included a raise for PSC commissioners.  One legislator argued that an increase to $60,000 was excessive for part-time service for PSC members; another legislator said that pay raises for legislators would never happen due to political pressure from constituents(June 26, 2007 The Advocate)

Fast forward to 2008:  We are currently debating one of the current most contested and controversial bills in more than a decade because legislators are in the process of giving their self a sizeable salary increase. 

So did legislators conspire to find a way to avert the pressure of constituents by ‘blackmailing’ the governor?  Legislators let Governor Bobby Jindal know straight up that his legislative agenda would not receive positive approval by the legislature if he vetoes their self-imposed legislative raises.  Threats of this nature are normally considered blackmail and dealt with by law enforcement severely. 

Are legislators ’embezzling’ funds without their ‘bosses’ approval?  Any employee who helps their self to the company coffers without prior approval is normally charged with embezzlement.   Jindal and the voters have overwhelmingly opposed this pay raise.  Legislators are ignoring their ‘bosses’ approval and helping their self with this incredible money grab.

These 56 representatives voted to give their self a pay raise:  Anders, Arnold, Aubert, Badon, Baldone, Barrow, Billiot, Burford, Burns, Burrell, Carmody, Chaney, Connick, Cromer, Dixon, Downs, Edwards, Ellington, Foil, Franklin, Gallot, Gisclair, Greene, Harrison, Henderson, Hoffmann, Honey, Hutter, Jackson G, Jackson M, Jones R, LaBruzzo, LaFonta, Lambert, Leger, Lopinto, Marchand, McVea, Monica, Morrell, Norton, Nowlin, Peterson, Pugh, Ritchie, Schroder, Simon, Smiley, Smith G, Smith P, Templet, Tucker, White, Williams, Willmott, and Wooton.

The past also gives us a peak into the future.  My guess is that voters will remember these names in upcoming elections.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

It’s Raining Cash! Hallelujah! It’s Raining Cash! Amen! Thursday, Jun 12 2008 

 

I don’t normally believe rumors, but it may be true that Louisiana legislators are in the process of rewriting the Weather Girl’s most famous song ‘It’s Raining Men’.  I hear the new title is “It’s Raining Cash!’  I can see them dancing in the halls of the State Capitol as money falls out of the sky . . .

Hi! Hi! We’re your legislators! Ah-huh!

And have we got news for YOU!  You better listen!

Get ready all your poor voters

and leave your ethics at home!  Alright!

Gas prices are rising!  Disposable income’s low!

According to all sources – politics is the way to go!

Cause on Friday for the first time

Just about in a flash

For the first time in history

It’s gonna start raising cash!

It’s raining cash, Hallelujah!  It’s raining cash, Amen!

At the expense of taxpayers I’m gonna go out and let myself get

Absolutely soaking wet!

It’s raining Cash, Hallelujah!  It’s raining Cash, Amen!

On a more serious note, according to the Census Bureau, the average household income in the U.S. in 2007 was less than what Louisiana legislators are planning to pay their self annually for part-time public service.  As the old saying goes, I have bad news and good news!  First the bad news:

What’s really interesting is to break down the number of days and hours the legislature is ‘required’ to serve at the state capitol.  (I do realize they work other days, but let’s look at this with the knowledge that virtually every legislator has another job and income.)  Take a look:  2008 Organizational Session = 3 days, 2008  First Extraordinary Session = 13 days, 2008 Second Extraordinary Session = 6 days, 2008 Regular Session = 44 days. 

That’s a total of 66 days in session divided into the proposed salary increases nets between $900 to $1,153 per day, plus committee per diem of $143, plus mileage.  I’m no accountant, but I believe that averages between $96 to $144 per hour not including per diem and mileage.  (Previously they made $31.75 per hour average plus per diem and mileage.)  Or more.  I based this on an 8 hour work day which is not a reality for all days of the legislature or all legislators for that matter.

When you look at it as an hourly average it does put it into perspective.  What are our elected officials thinking?  What are they piping in to the state capitol these days?  It’s almost like watching an armored car with the back door open and legislators scrambling for the cash before the guards realize what’s happening!  (The guards are the voters.)  Uh, oh!  The voters have been notified of the money grab!  Yikes!

Now, for the good news:  Legislators have finally accomplished what Secretary of State Jay Dardenne couldn’t by getting the attention of voters and potential voters.  There is a sense of outrage by citizens of our state at the legislative money grab which could very well result in increased voter registration and attendance in the voting booths this fall and in future elections!  I think this is the definition of a ‘call to arms’?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Republicans in 6th Reject Party Unity Saturday, Jun 7 2008 

Overdue Update:  Republicans finally came together and agreed that Cassidy was the most formidable candidate for the 6th Congressional District.  Calongne and Jenkins have agreed not to run!  Things may be looking up for the Louisiana GOP.

In times where party unity seems to be a daily political discussion on a national level, it might be advantageous to take a look at an interesting race that is brewing this fall in the Red Stick.  Voters will now have three Republican candidates to choose from in the 6th Congressional race since the trio seems to reject the idea of party unity. 

Voters often wonder why candidates run for office.  After all, who would want to subject their family and future to the whim of the media, political pundits and overwhelming daily stress in a daunting challenge of changing the course of our country that is already spiraling out of control? 

Apparently three are willing to take the plunge including Senator Bill Cassidy, business owner Laurinda Calongne, and editor Woody Jenkins.  All three have strong political ties, experience and supporters. 

Who will wind up on 1st to run against recently seated democrat Congressman Don Cazayoux?  (Don may have his own party competition on the democratic side in Representative Michael Jackson)  Cazayoux hit the floor running with an impressive website that is user friendly and a message of “what can I do to help?” This past week he began running radio ads and held conference calls for constituents to call in and address their concerns and needs.  Republicans will have to overcome his effective ability to be ‘one of us’ coupled with his humor and lack of elitism.

As a republican, this race is already causing me concern.  It won’t take a crystal ball to see the future and what to expect based on the past:

  • Republican Senator Bill Cassidy is a physician specializing in diseases of the liver.  Cassidy won a senate seat vacated by Jay Dardenne against William Daniel in 2006, and was re-elected against virtually no strong competition in 2008.  Cassidy’s platform was to improve education and healthcare in Louisiana.  He is married to retired physician Laura Cassidy, has three young children who attend public school, and attends the Chapel on the Campus. 
    • Opponents will say Cassidy is attempting to catapult his political career to a national level with a goal of changing a fledgling national healthcare system without achieving his goals in the office he promised to serve for at least 3 more years and cite his inexperience in Washington as a negative.

 

  • Republican business owner Laurinda Calongne, principal of Robert Rose Consulting, lost her bid for the vacated congressional seat of Richard Baker earlier this year in the party primary against Woody Jenkins.  Calongne ran on the premise that her business savvy would help streamline government spending, to ease the tax burden of constituents, and to fight against illegal immigration.  Laurinda says she has raised millions of dollars for the republican party and even more for health care related organizations through her grant writing to increase benefits to Louisianans.  Calongne is married to engineering consultant Dan, has one teenage daughter, and they attend Healing Place Church and Our Lady of Mercy.
    • Opponents will attack Calongne for being a registered lobbyist, for ties to Bob Livingston, and twist her stand against illegal immigration claiming she is being discriminatory.

 

  • Republican Woody Jenkins, former representative and editor of three Red Stick publications, lost his bid for this congressional seat in the run-off earlier this year to Don Cazayoux, democrat.  Jenkins’ campaign ran on his conservative values and history in the legislature.  He was backed by the Family Research Council and the Louisiana Family Forum, both christian conservative organizations and by Governor Bobby Jindal.  Jenkins is married to attorney and former assistant district attorney, Diane; they have four adult children and listed no church affiliation.
    • Opponents will attack Jenkins’ inability to win elections against strong democrats, questionable ethics in past elections and a controversial non-profit organization he and his wife managed.

Three strong republicans that refuse to agree on party unity.  Is this the wave of the future?  Maybe. 

There is no way these three candidates can run against each other without attacks on their opponents if they expect to set their self apart from the pack.  Families will suffer, as they always do in tough campaigns, and the need to raise at least $1 million by each candidate to be effective will make it one for the books – especially with McCain making major fundraising strides in Louisiana.  Who is willing to pay the ultimate price to represent Louisiana’s 6th district? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

EBRP Sheriff’s Six Month Performance Review Friday, Jun 6 2008 

Six months ago Sid Gautreaux took the oath of office as Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish.  That’s a fair amount of time to assess the job someone is doing and to grade their performance.

Outstanding Warrants:  The EBR Sheriff’s Office has 74,000 outstanding warrants.  Gautreaux held a press conference a couple weeks ago to announce that 50 officers worked three days to clear 293 warrants resulting in 100 arrests.  If my math is correct, this means that if they work another 250 days, they will clear the remaining warrants.   If 1/3 are arrested, and if that figure is an average, an additional 24,667 would be arrested.  No wonder Mayor Kip Holden wants taxpayers to fund a new jail to the tune of $55 million.  The Sheriff claims these warrants are mainly for domestic abuse and marijuana abuse.  I prefer to see more officers on the streets or arrests for violent offenders.  Grade on outstanding warrants:  D

Crime Statistics:  I would like to see some current crime statistics from the Sheriff’s office.  The latest crime statistics on the EBR Sheriff’s website are from 2006.  Let’s move into the 20th century folks!  I wrote The Advocate a couple of months ago and was told they also inquired and the Sheriff’s new staff was ‘working on it.’  Look, I don’t want to be hard on the new Sheriff, but for God’s sake can we get some updated statistics or what?  We do live in the age of technology.  Grade on publishing crime statistics:  F

Drug Traffic:  During the election, Gautreaux promised to develop an aggressive anti-drug trafficking plan of action.  Drugs are a major part of our crime problem in East Baton Rouge Parish.  In April, city police and the sheriff’s office announced a new crime abatement team that would work together.  According to their spokeswoman, 32 arrests for drugs had been made by the EBRSO.  Each arrest is an improvement; however, we need to see a major increase in drug arrests in order to curb drug traffic in EBRP.  Grade on Drug Traffic Efforts:  C

Uniform Patrol:  Sheriff Gautreaux claimed his number one goal was to put more uniform patrol officers on the streets.  To date, no announcement has been made as to whether patrols have been increased.  Since Gautreaux is a smooth politician that takes advantage of every opportunity to be in front of the camera or hold a press conference, I think it is safe to say he has not yet made this a reality.  Grade for increasing uniform patrol:  F

Improving communications center:  Oddly enough, another issue discussed in the sheriff’s race was the need for communications to improve technically between law enforcement agencies.  This issue will be another one that Mayor-President Kip Holden will address with a tax increase this fall, so everyone will have to wait for this improvement to take place.  The plan that is in the works is to move the sheriff’s office communication center from Central to the main communication center near the airport.  Because no action will be taken unless taxes are raised:  Grade for improving technical communications:  F

High-Profile Presence:  I would have to give a high grade as to media exposure and physical presence for crimes that have a high profile in the media for Sheriff Gautreaux.  He seems to have held quite a few press conferences, showed a physical presence, and been willing to be interviewed on criminal cases and proposed efforts and plans for the future.  This could equate to political savvy or having his own ‘boots on the ground’, so for now:  Grade for high-profile physical presence:  B

Overall Grade:  Based on averages, on the issues listed above, our new Sheriff, Sid Gautreaux, seems to be batting below average.  Six months in office should be more than enough time to grade someone’s performance in a new job.  Most good managers and leaders set the pace immediately and quickly make changes.  The main changes we have seen to date include moving around personnel, promotions, hiring, firing, and assessing what needs to be done.  When the voters elect someone, they expect action.  When Litchfield took office, he moved quickly and that was ages ago.  Based on the slow movement to date, I would have to give Sheriff Gautreaux a near failing grade thus far.  Grade average:  D

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican