Jessie Jackson wroteIn a democracy, there is nothing more fundamental than having the right to vote.  His statement was under the premise that felons should have voting rights reinstated once they’ve paid their debt to society — an argument for another day.

Mayor-President Kip Holden to take away right to vote

Mayor-President Kip Holden, in a major political move,  set out to take away the voting rights of certain registered voters in EBR Parish for his proposed fall tax election.  They are law-abiding citizens who hail from the northern part of our parish including the bedroom communities of Baker, Central and Zachary. 

Ironically, the EBR Sheriff will not vote or be assessed if Holden removes Zachary from the tax proposal.  Life is stranger than fiction.

Councilman Joel Boe’ is under attack by Mayor Kip Holden for daring to disagree with Holden’s plan to disallow voters from the northern part of the parish from voting on the tax.  Are we One Baton Rouge when we exclude Central, Zachary and Baker from the right to vote on a 30-year Red Stick tax initiative? 

Furthermore, what is wrong with a Metro Council, elected by the people and for the people, who are willing to side with this discriminatory mentality and take away the right of their own constituents to vote?  

The game is changing so fast you have to be on your toes to keep up!  Hang with me here as we walk down memory lane . . .

Should we believe that the “38 bridges endangering Red Stick citizen’s safety” was like playing “Russian roulette by not passing the 2008 tax proposal” as Mayor Holden said last fall?  Or that our bridges are no longer in danger because funding was suddenly found to take care of the tab?   

A portion of Holden’s $887 million wish list includes Audubon Alive!  Can EBR Parish support this new venture through tourism?

Last week the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum announced changes due to the lack of traffic and funding by the state.  According to LASM, their attendance is 214,000 annually.  Strictly from a math perspective, this is an average of 586 visitors daily. 

Why is this important?  Because the Mayor’s proposed Audubon Alive! will need three times that annual attendance to survive. 

How will we triple downtown tourism? 

Can someone say ‘Catfish Town’?  For those too young to remember, Catfish Town was a $30 million dream-come-true tourist attraction that opened with a splash on July 4, 1984, and shut down within two years.  It became the home of a management company followed by the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Ten years later, Jazz Enterprises took over Catfish Town, and brought Argosy Gaming to the table with a promise of filling 150,000 sq ft with a retail wonderland of shopping, eateries and entertainment.  15 years later, we have the floating casino, the hotel and their two restaurants, one bar, and a beautiful atrium with occasional events.  The tourist mecca never came to fruition.   

There are lessons here we haven’t learned.  

The proposed building of a new prison is another issue that makes no sense in the bond issue.  I prefer to envision a press conference vs. the nightly murder report with Sheriff Gautreaux saying,

“I’m going to keep my campaign promise and put up tents or temporary buildings.  I don’t need a new office because I am going to spend my time on the streets fighting crime with my fellow deputies. I’m going to show up every morning like all of you do at your own jobs, not just when media opportunities arise.  And at the end of the day, we are going to take back our city and clean up crime across this parish.  Starting right now, there is a no tolerance policy on crime in our parish.  We are going to house all prisoners, feed them P&B sandwiches, and run a chain gang to save the city on clean-up and blight.  If you play, you will pay in our city by serving your time and becoming a productive citizen one way or another.”

I suppose it’s okay to dream and imagine what true leadership would be like?

Now that’s something to get excited about, stand behind and support! When you can do that, then you can talk to me about increasing our taxes.

If you want me to pay, then you have to prove to me that you are doing all you can with what you have already.  That is NOT happening in EBR parish.  We have become lazy.  We expect something for nothing.  Just roll out the tax plan and lead us to the voting booth to pull the lever.  Why?  Because you say so? 

What do we want from leadership?

The idea here is not to pick apart as much as it is to ask the right questions, and to demand fiscal responsibility and real leadership.  Last time I checked, you work for us, the taxpayers – WE are YOUR employers.  Where I work, if you commit insubordination you lose your job in our right-to-work state!  How dare you get angry at a councilman that asks the right questions!  How dare you send out a message to ‘calm the citizens down’!  It is OUR RIGHT to question you and demand your work ethic is beyond reproach!

‘Ahem’!  Now that we have that straight.

ALL voters in our parish have the right to vote in a tax election that will last for 30 years.  Complete details on every aspect of Holden’s tax-and-spend-bond-proposal should be made available to the public — not just a public relations campaign.

Is that too much to ask for?  Where is all of this information?  In the age of technology we do not have the details, but are expected to vote yes to more spending with a paragraph explaining hundreds of millions in expenditures.  They have done their due diligence, right?  Why not share it with the voters who will agree or disagree to pay for it over the next 30 years?

Why do we ask for FULL transparency from Jindal and not require it from Holden?  It does beg the question. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican