Just in time for the Mayoral Election Sunday, Sep 28 2008 

I’ve been mulling over the recent Metro Council meeting that focused on the East Baton Rouge Sewer System.  When it comes to the voters, It seems that Mayor Kip Holden’s people must think like Jessup in A Few Good Men:  “You can’t handle the truth!”

The fact is that on January 9, 2008, finance manager of DPW, Mark LeBlanc, told the Metro Council there was a $250 to $300 million shortfall in revenue to cover the upgrading of the EBR Parish sewer system.  Walter Monsour, Holden’s Chief Administrative Officer, agreed and spoke to this fact.  A $129 million budget supplement was allotted.  Still, Holden’s administration could not promise taxes would not be raised to fund the sewer system due to a potential shortfall.

Holden’s administration used this argument to defend the continuation of the 4% sewer system annual increase.  The defense came because Metro Council members Wayne Carter and David Boneno were questioning whether the annual increase was necessary if Holden’s plan would cost less, as promised by Holden.  The lesser cost was due to Holden changing the deep tunnel approach to one with ‘newer technology’ with a lower cost.

As a result, Metro Council member David Boneno said he had yet to see a detailed financial report on the sewer system.  Understand that this is a very important piece of information.  The very council that is elected by the people to oversee the budget had requested a detailed report of the expenditures the previous week (January 1, 2008 Metro Council) because they had not yet been given an explanation of expenditures. 

NOW, after 8 (EIGHT) months, we suddenly are presented with ‘new’ information – just in time for the Mayoral election.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. 

Fast forward to September 24, 2008  The Metro Council is now told by Holden’s administration that the sewer system is now ‘fully funded’.  This is politics in its truest form.

Let’s remember this folks.  Mayor Kip Holden, Chief Administrative Officer Walter Monsour, and CH2M Hill Deputy Program Director for the sewer system, Michael Ellis have now told us that the sewer system will be fully funded and there is no shortfall.  LeBlanc, who formerly claimed a shortfall on January 9, 2008, now agrees no shortfall.  They even brought Merrill Lynch in to support the argument, along with Mike Futrell, assistant chief administrative officer for Holden.  They sure brought out the big guns.   Just in time for the election!  Got it yet?

Uh oh, hold on.  There was a little clue given by Ellis in his presentation:  “the proposed construction costs are all based on current-day prices, but noted that most of the projects are going to be bid in the next two or three years.”  Do you believe that your current grocery budget will cover your grocery bills for the next two or three years?  Enough said.

It took 266 days since the original request, but only 10 days before the Mayoral election, for Holden’s administration to given ‘new’ information that everything is okay financially with the sewer system.

Maybe you don’t find this strange, but I do.  I don’t like being treated like a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Boneno and Carter were right to ask for a report.  Holden’s people were wrong to wait so long, and just in time for an election to given a report that all will be just fine. 

One thing is for sure.  We will mark our calendars for the future to see if this is a fact or just another empty mayoral election promise from Holden.  He and his staff seem to be good at making it seem everything is okay.  Meanwhile we continue to be plagued by an overflowing sewer system and traffic that is known as the worst in the entire nation. 

Vote on October 4th.  If you are happy with the sewer system, sitting in traffic for hours on end, continuing to view the blight around our parish, and crime that has everyone continually on edge, vote to re-elect Mayor Kip Holden.  If you are not happy with these things, consider another candidate (Dan Kyle, Ron Johnson or Wayne Carter) that can bring much needed change in our parish.  Don’t be fooled by reports that arrive just in time for the mayoral election.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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No Surprise: Mayor Kip Holden Absent Wednesday, Sep 24 2008 

 

It was no big surprise that Mayor-President Kip Holden chose to be absent from a mayoral forum hosted at LSU on Red Stick traffic woes. 

I suppose it would be difficult for Holden to explain why voters have had no relief over the past four years when it comes to sitting in traffic jams.  When the census bureau released statistics that Katrina did not increase the population to the degree Holden claimed, he dropped that argument.  Why?  Because he was incorrect.

The 3 candidates for Mayor had some interesting ideas regarding Red Stick traffic.  I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but at least they showed up to discuss one of the major issues plaguing the parish.

Ron Johnson, democrat, has a plan to eliminate the I-10 and I-12 split.  This does not make sense to me, but perhaps it would work to build them on top of each other as he indicated. 

Johnson made an excellent point regarding the fact that Kip Holden promised a light train rail system when he ran for office the first go round.  Nothing happened regarding this promise Holden made.  No big surprise.   

Our traffic is worst than it was 4 years ago when Holden was elected Mayor by default.  Holden was elected by default because it was BR Next that pushed for “Anybody but Bobby” (Simpson) as Mayor.  I always wonder if Kyle had been elected if our parish budget and taxes would be lower?  Kyle is known for his tenacious and conservative approach to budgets for city and state government.

Wayne Carter, republican, wants to take the millions Holden has spent on synchronizing traffic lights in downtown Baton Rouge and spend those dollars on major intersections that are known bottlenecks.  Considering that Holden is determined to spend large sums of tax dollars downtown, this idea is of interest to me.

Dan Kyle, republican, wants to widen I-10.  An idea whose time is long overdue.  Kyle also wants to increase the bus transit system, noting that since Holden has been in office only cuts to the system and routes have been made.  This comment is right on. 

Holden has chosen to cut the very system that allows those without their own transportation to be mobile in our parish.  By cutting routes, it has affected businesses.  Employers often have to shuffle schedules to accommodate employees who need to rush to meet the last bus of the day.

Kyle also noted that Kip Holden fought against widening I-10 awhile back.  Good point.  Thus, Kyle calls the problem the “Kip Holden Traffic Jam”.

It seems that this is the most appropriate way to explain the frustration of citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish regarding traffic woes:

 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

4 Years Later: Our Leadership Still Not Working Thursday, Sep 18 2008 

 

 

Former mayor Bobby Simpson had a formidable challenger in the people of Baton Rouge who were unhappy with traffic and sewer problems plaguing our parish.  Joining them was a nonpartisan political action group, Baton Rouge Next, that led the charge calling for a change in Red Stick Leadership claiming “OUR LEADERSHIP ISN’T WORKING.”  The major issue became our traffic woes.  Imagine that?

Fast forward to today.  You are on your way to work, to the doctor or to run errands.  While sitting in the most horrendous traffic jams in the history of East Baton Rouge Parish you remember the video that said it all.  In case you’ve forgotten it, here it is:

William Daniel, 2004 candidate for Mayor of EBR Parish, borrowed the traffic footage for his campaign and made the same claims.  Daniel said “a fortune has been spent studying the loop, but you’ll wait years before construction even starts.  As mayor I will use toll roads, build loops, and get our traffic moving now.”  Daniel lost his bid for Mayor.

Instead, the man touted as the most liberal member of the legislature, Kip Holden, was elected mayor.  Holden promised to solve the traffic woes, sewer problems, and other pressing issues.  LABI (Louisiana Business & Industry) warned voters by giving Holden the lowest score of any legislator due to the fact that Holden voted AGAINST business.  (ex. Holden voted AGAINST giving manufacturers tax exemptions.) 

Mayor-President Kip Holden has a long history while in the legislature of voting against issues residents and business owners of the Red Stick needed to improve our quality of life.  Just a few include making it easier for injured workers to sue their employers, voting against locking the ban on same-sex marriage, pushing to block the execution of mentally deficient murderers and attempting to soften the school system’s accountability program.

Here we are 4 years later.  Holden is running for re-election.  Some call him an immovable force.  In a previous blog I joked about his political consultants wanting voters to have frontal lobotomies so they will just pull the lever for Holden and not even consider other mayoral candidates.  The truth is this is no joking matter.  Due to the overwhelming response to that blog, I have made a decision to take a factual look at the candidates until election day.  That includes a tough hard look at Holden and his actions while in office.  After all, when running against conservative Simpson, Holden said he did not understand Simpson not wanting the people to scrutinize his record.  Well, let’s follow Kip’s lead.

On the issue of traffic, it would not take a traffic engineer to determine there have been NO improvements in traffic woes.  A simple trip yesterday for a downtown meeting and an afternoon drive in 5:00 p.m. traffic netted me an extra two hours sitting still in traffic.  That’s a gas burner! Regarding traffic:

  • We did not get the improved public transportation that Kip Holden promised. 
  • We did not get the commuter light rail system Kip Holden promised. 
  • We did not get much further down the road on the Baton Rouge Loop, but Holden did spend $2,000,000 of your taxpayer dollars to study the loop and hold community meetings. 
  • We did not get the police officers during rush hour at major intersections directing the flow of traffic Kip Holden promised. 
  • What we did get is more of the same.

More of the same promises from a seasoned politician who talks a good game and who can sway the crowds like a well-groomed motivational speaker promising to take our troubles away if we follow him.  Do we want to continue to follow a tax and spend liberal who wants to dip into our pocketbooks once again with $989,000,000,000 in new taxes?  I repeat, $989 million new taxes!  EBRP residents want more than talk.  Voters do not want or need more taxes!  The voters want action.  Simple action within the current budget.

If you want to continue the daily traffic woes you are currently experiencing, re-elect Holden.  You will just get more of the same including downtown hotels, downtown parking lots, tourist attractions, lots of motivational speeches, fairs and festival appearances, ‘one Baton Rouge’, expensive 24-7 body guards and drivers all at your expense.  Remember Catfish Town?

If you are tired of the same old same old, then look at the options and let’s see if Dan Kyle, Ron Johnson or Wayne Carter might be able to do more than talk a good game to the voters of EBR Parish. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Palin & Jindal Answer the Call Monday, Sep 8 2008 

When the going gets tough the tough get going is the adage used to describe strong people rising to the occasion when situations are difficultLast week Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin both showed their moxie during the two highest profile storms in America – Hurricane Gustav and the Presidential Nomination Storm.

Governor Bobby Jindal proved his leadership skills when the path of Hurricane Gustav targeted the state of Louisiana.  Jindal rallied the troops from Louisiana to Washington to provide detailed plans and powerful communication to residents of our great state.  For the first time in our colorful political history, we have a governor that took the bull by the horns and met the needs of the people over himself.  A weathered-looking Jindal stood before media taking personal responsibility as commander-in-chief and responded quickly and appropriately to provide manpower, services and the tools necessary to meet the needs of the voters.  Jindal answered the call.  We are grateful.

Governor Sarah Palin also made political history last week as she accepted the nomination for vice president of the United States as Senator John McCain’s presidential running.  Palin spoke eloquently and powerfully at the Republican National Convention taking no prisoners.  No pun intended.  Vice presidential nominee Palin cited her past accomplishments of placing her state government on the side of the people by taking on special interests and the good ole’ boys network – groups that voters abhor.  Smaller government is what Palin is about.  Palin answered the call.  Again, we are grateful.

Jindal and Palin have much in common.  Both are christian conservatives, target wasteful spending, believe in lower taxes, supports higher education, seeks improvements in transportation, fully supports law enforcement and tout public safety as a major priority.

Maverick politicians, Palin and Jindal, join the ranks of Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain for real change.  In politics talk is cheap, promises are the order of the day – but with these proven leaders at the helm of our state and country, we truly have hope in an improved economy and leadership that will stand against the power brokers and bring positive change in the lives of Americans.

Kudos to McCain for his choice of Palin.  Jindal was on the short list for McCain as well.  Fortunately we were able to keep Jindal as our commander in chief.  It is refreshing to see leadership in action.  In the words of Palin:

“Politics isn’t just a game of clashing parties and competing interests.  The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it.  No one expects us to agree on everything.  But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and …a servants heart.”

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican