It’s easy to understand why some refer to the Red Stick as “Kip World” or “Kipland” if you simply check the Webster’s Dictionary. The definition of despotism is an individual or tight knit group of individuals that rule with absolute political power.
Now we are getting to where the rubber meets the road in East Baton Rouge Parish.
For those who are unaware of the tremendous political power held by a handful of individuals in the Red Stick, you need only to keep your ear to the ground and read carefully between the lines.
History was not my favorite subject in school, but now I completely understand the importance of the past in order to understand the present.
Mayor-President Kip Holden was marked as unfriendly to business, a tax and spend liberal and named as one of two “King of Legislative Junketeers” according to The Advocate in 1997. By 2004, Ginger Sawyer from Louisiana Business & Industry proclaimed Holden as the candidate with one of the worst LABI ratings.
Time has changed little for Holden’s political ventures. Last year, former Councilman David Bonneno proposed a tax decrease for businesses in regard to new equipment and machinery. Monsour quickly put a halt to the proposal at the direction of Holden.
Now, Holden wants us to pay more taxes and build a downtown Epcot. Holden took exception to the term ‘Epcot’ though it was birthed by the Downtown Development District, one of the main drivers of the proposed Audubon Alive! project — not the media as Holden claimed.
Holden makes a lot of claims that have no substance. Examples include claiming there is no ownership issue with the proposed site for Alive! when in fact there is an issue with the railroad that was never resolved — or that he plans to have the state fund the $40 million required to raise the batture out of the swamp when in fact there was no discussion or approval.
It’s part of the Secrets of the Red Stick that those in power hope we won’t notice or discuss. I refuse to aspire to that mandate. Instead, I will continue to ask the tough questions of our leaders and hope the newfound questions by the media will continue on behalf of the community they are charged with representing.
The fact that the EBR Parish Metro Council was not made privy to these issues is proof in itself that Mayor Kip Holden believes he is large and in charge with no regard for others. In fact, just yesterday it was revealed that Clerk of Court Doug Welborn was not told by Holden that his office was to be moved until Welborn viewed a slide show presentation. Amazing!
Our community, political and business leaders need to realize that to whom much is given, much is required. Their legacies should not be rooted in higher taxes, building larger buildings and entertainment complexes, or funding organizations that duplicate services.
We can no longer ignore the obvious. The truth is that our leaders are allowing Mayor-President Kip Holden and his entourage to spend millions of dollars at taxpayer’s expense while our real needs go unmet in the Red Stick.
The truth is painful.
We can never be the next greatest city as long as we have children that are hungry, women that are abused, men that are absentee fathers, teenagers that are committing more crimes than in the history of our parish. So much so that District Attorney Hillar Moore is proposing a full blown truancy program.
As long as we spend $500,000 annually to fund the Baton Rouge Area Chamber for economic development and approve contracts in the amount of $49,999 so that these expenditures do not have to be made public at Metro Council meetings, we are allowing Mayor Holden and his entourage to fail us as leaders.
I suppose I shouldn’t even mention the hours spent doing ‘security sweeps’ by the Mayor’s security team before he enters facilities? All the while witnesses to crime cannot be protected and murderers are set free. It’s a slap in the face to victims and their families.
Meanwhile, our citizens are tracking in the sludge from a failing sewer system into their homes making their children sick. Perhaps it is true this is one reason our staph infection is at an all time high in the Red Stick?
What on earth are we doing here in the Red Stick? When will this madness stop? At what point will JUST ONE LEADER in our community stand up and demand that we stop the excessive spending and taxation? Where is Tax Busters and Fred Dent when you need them?
If we truly want to be America’s next greatest city, we will stop the insanity of city-parish spending, address a failing sewer system as promised, house our inmates in tents as promised, have a no-tolerance for crime stand as promised, stop raising taxes, stop duplicating services, stop creating contracts for campaign contributors, and stop attacking those who question these ungodly practices. Questioning is our duty! These are the Secrets of the Red Stick that are injustices to our citizens.
Somehow we have lost our way. As a mayoral candidate, Rolfe McCollister, Jr. said, “I don’t believe in taxing our way to prosperity”. What changed?
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican