In the information age, it is rare to see a politician win an election with so few promises as Mayor-President Kip Holden made in his bid for re-election.  His message in the campaign was “to keep working with you and for you”.  Holden won the election by a large margin and now the accountability for Holden begins.  Let’s take a look at the promises, albeit few, that Holden made during his campaign:

  • Public Safety:  Top priority
    • Holden said “we will work hard to get you an education, we will work hard to get you a job, if you break the law we will work hard at putting you in jail.”  (No specifics were given.)
    • Holden said he plans to install an additional 80 cameras with gunshot detectors in city-parish parks. (The Advocate stated on August 31st that the $3.5 million spent on other gunshot detectors are still not in use.  This expenditure was made by Holden in 2007 with taxpayer money.  Guess the voters missed this snafu?)
  • Traffic – another ‘major concern’ says Holden:
    • Continue the Green Light Plan to widen and improve some roads (began 4 years ago and is moving slowly)
    • Try to work with Parish Presidents of surrounding parishes to develop the infamous loop (currently at a stand still)
  • Blight Clean Up:
    • Continue neighborhood clean-ups of abandoned cars, overgrown lots, abandoned buildings (a mandate and program that has been in effect from previous administrations)
  • Raise taxes to the tune of nearly $1 BILLION:
    • Holden promised to lobby for and push a $989 million tax on the residents of EBR Parish to build a new prison, a new sheriff’s office, a new police headquarters, renovate the city-parish (mayor’s office) facility, build a new juvenile detention center, expand the River Center, replace 8 fire stations, upgrade the infrastructure including replacing 38 bridges, work on 10 drainage canals, replace 50 traffic signals, build a downtown parking garage and a downtown tourist attraction next to Casino Rouge.
  • Economic development spending to the tune of 1/2 MILLION:
    • Continue to give the BR Chamber $500,000 annually to bring more jobs to the Red Stick (which brought an endorsement by the BRCC for this election, yet no reported accountability)
    • Draw more restaurants, businesses and corporate offices to downtown.  (Downtown is where Holden spends the majority of his focus and taxpayers money in lieu of neighborhoods where crime and blight continue to plaque our community.)
  • Non-specific areas:
    • Dream big and turn dreams into realities.

Well, that’s about it.  Holden made few promises, but sold his “crossover appeal” and “vision for Baton Rouge being American’s next greatest city”.  I must commend his spin doctors and the likes of Rolfe McCollister, Jr. of the BR Business Report for snowing the people of Baton Rouge and leading them into more taxes, continued traffic woes and a crime plagued city with no real substance other than a tax election to improve infrastructure.

For the first time, I finally understand the indifference of voters.  I’ve heard about it for years, but thought the people of our parish would prove that theory wrong.  They didn’t in this election.

Evidently voters of EBR Parish are happy with the status quo and look forward to paying increased fees and taxes.  Congratulations to Holden for an election with few promises and selling the voters on more government spending of their hard earned dollars.  Get out your checkbook folks!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

P.S.  Thanks to Dan Kyle, Ron Johnson and Wayne Carter for bringing some issues to the forefront.  All three men will be able to say “I told you so” over the next four years.  When they do, some will call it sour grapes.  I will call it truthful warnings that the voters refused to heed.  We seem destined to repeat political history in the Red Stick.