Obama: Politics As Usual Sunday, Jan 25 2009 

politics20as20usual20-20cd_lg

Obama’s campaign promise:  “I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of  setting the agenda in Washington are over.”  November, 2007

Obama’s reality:  Raytheon lobbyist, William J. Lynn, III, has been appointed by President Obama as the #2 man for the U. S. Defense Department. 

Obama’s campaign promise:  “No political appointees in my administration will be permitted to work on areas that directly and substantially related to their employer for two years.”

Obama’s reality:  Lynn stopped lobbying in July, but not before he spent $1.15 million in 2008 to lobby the defense department to influence issues including missiles, sensors, radar, advanced technology programs, and intelligence funding – only six months before his appointment.

==============================

President Obama will soon learn how difficult it may be to keep campaign promises.  Once elected, politicians often believe they are immune to promises made during an election.  This fact leads us to the familiar saying, “Politics As Usual”.

President Obama issued an executive order immediately after taking office to ensure lobbyists who were active within the last two years would not be allowed to serve in public office.  Now, a waiver is on the table for Lynn.

So, here we find ourselves in the same political boat that Obama promised he would not sail.  Obama plainly states on his website this would not happen.  But here we are.

Perhaps ObamaWorld will not be so different than promised?  Could it be that he is the consumate politician with unfulfilled promises?

==============================

In less than one week in office, Obama has found another challenge regarding the closing of Guantanamo.

Approximately 250 detainees are currently held at “Gitmo”.  Of this number, there are natives of Yemen, Saudia Arabia, China, etc. that currently will not be allowed back into their country.  About 12 are targeted for trials and must be incorporated into prisons in the U.S.

If moved to U.S. prisons and our justice system, there are further complications regarding Miranda rights that were not given and treatment of prisoners that are not allowed in our prison system.   The alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed is an example.

Will President Obama incorporate these terrorists into our U.S. prison system?  Where? 

==============================

Things are not always as easy as they appear.  President Obama ran for office with promises that we would see a different management style – a real change in Washington.  Instead, right out of the gate he proves that he is willing to make exceptions for lobbyists and that Gitmo is more involved than he realized.

Is ObamaMania just more Politics As Usual?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Here We Go Again Saturday, Jan 17 2009 

362356

As Ray Charles sang, “Here we go again…one more time”.  Mayor Kip Holden has announced that he plans to present his tax increase in the form of a bond proposal…one more time on a fall ballot to the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Holden’s approach will be to wrap higher taxes up with a nice red bow called “an economic stimulus plan”.  The operative word is downtown

The only good news is that Holden said, “there will not be another study this government will fund”.  Great!

While we are in an economic recession, and president-elect Obama Barack plans to take the helms of the oval office on Tuesday, Holden has realized that there will be economic stimulus money up for grabs.  The Mayor has requested $500 million for EBR Parish.  These are the type of things that make me shake my head and say “interesting”.

The reason this is ‘interesting’ is that just a couple months ago Holden was willing to make taxpayers pay for $100 million in tax increases through former shadow mayor Walter Monsour’s bond issue.  Now that the plan was turned down by voters, suddenly there are other funds to be found.

This is precisely what should have been done in the beginning.  Before a bond issue for $100 million in tax increases was proposed, other options should have been researched. 

The most important question is:  How much more money is there in potential cuts to the city parish budget? 

Trimming the fat is what every family in our parish is having to do with the current recession.  Families are cooking at home more.  Packing a lunch and working at your desk is now an option more people are considering.  Lower gas prices have citizens smiling.  Water cooler talk is about clipping coupons, carefully reviewing investments and where the latest sales are in the retail world.

At what point will city-parish government realize that they must also cut the fat?  You do not spend more money in a recession, you save, cut back and search for more affordable options.

Holden’s office told Baton Rouge Business Report that the new proposed tax plan will include lower project costs.  Really?  Where these options available the first go round?

I don’t think we are asking much when we expect muncipalities to give us their best foot forward.  Not the second time around, but the first time around.  Not because voters refused to pay higher taxes, but because it was the right thing to do.  The first time.

When I read these type of articles, it confirms that my first assessment was accurate.  In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink!, he talks about your initial instinct when you know that you know that you know something is or is not right.  That is the instinct that led voters to turn down Holden’s mandate to pay more taxes last fall.  It’s just good common sense!

Besides, Holden’s ‘new’ plan, according to the Business Report, is about downtown.  After speaking at the Downtown Development District board meeting, even The Advocate reported that Holden has bigger plans for downtown.  Though you cannot be all things to all people, what about the rest of the parish? 

Don’t the citizens of our parish deserve strong bridges instead of emails that claim we have 38 unsafe bridges that will only be improved if we vote for a tax increase?  Holding taxpayers hostage with threats of this type will not win a tax election.

With all due respect, grants for new uniforms, logos and branding for the Sheriff’s office could have better served the public improving our infrastructure.  Do we care what they wear as long as they are protecting and serving?  Then again, that story is for another day since rumors have it that it was tied to a political promise. 

The bottom line is that we need the incoming Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Futrell, to delve deep into our city budget and make the necessary cuts.  Futrell needs to cut the contracts of Holden’s private security detail, public relations personnel, etc. and seek grant funding to address our infrastructure needs.   We are spending untold dollars that are buried in the budget only for true researchers to dig up.  

We want our city-parish government officials to spend our tax dollars wisely, to budget them effectively, and to realize that while we are making these changes to our own pocketbooks, they need to do the same.

Is that too much to ask of our public servants?  I think not.  Treat our tax dollars as if they were your own money.  Pretty simple approach.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican