Redstick Murder Rate Escalates Monday, Jan 25 2010 

 Update:  Law Enforcement remains fairly mum regarding the escalation of crime in the Redstick.  Major crime is up 8% with the largest increase in murder at 14%, followed by burglary at 13% and thefts are robberies tied for 3rd place at a 10% increase.  It’s a commonly known fact that increases in theft, robbery and burglary will prove to be a breeding ground for continued escalation in more serious crimes such as murder.  “What happened to Mayor Holden’s no toleration for crime in the Redstick?

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Nothing good ever comes from violence.”

  • The Advocate reports: 88 murders in East Baton Rouge Parish in 2009 (considered violent crime). 
  • There were actually 89 murders, as I give reverence to the fact that one woman that was murdered was pregnant. 
  • The statistics also do NOT include the additional deaths in vehicles, accidental shootings and self-defense.  If those were included, the total would be 109.
  • Nevertheless, of the 88 murders reported:
    • 55 resulted in NO arrests (62%, not “half” as reported by The Advocate – someone grab them a calculator, please!)
    • 33 resulted in 50 arrests (many had 2 perps, and 1 had 3 working in collusion to commit the murder).  (38%)   Of those arrested:
      • 4 were convicted
      • 3 had charges dropped
      • 2 were acquitted
      • 2 resulted in a refusal by the grand jury to indict
      • 22 remain unknown/status unreported
  • 1 murderer committed suicide

In August, 2009, Police Chief Jeff Leduff said, “Is violent crime up?  Yes it is.”

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, in that same interview, said, “I don’t think we can blame any of our current crime rate on Katrina or the aftermath of Katrina”.   Important since the Mayor’s office often blames the influx of Katrina victims for crime woes in the Redstick.

Adam Knapp, CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, claimed in the interview that crime is not an issue for the types of businesses they solicit for the Red Stick when referring to export-driven companies vs. retail businesses. 

That is the first time I have ever heard that crime is not a concern for relocating business and industry.  Whether relocating or hiring good workers, with all due respect to BRAC, crime statistics and quality of life is always a concern and a key component in providing an economic development profile for a parish to prospective new businesses.  Of course, BRAC leaders know this fact.

Mayor Kip Holden tried to play down crime statistics as well stating it’s not as bad a picture as is being painted.  This is ridiculous.  If Holden wants to be America’s next greatest city, as he proclaims, he needs to get up to speed with reality and understand that a rising murder rate doesn’t make for people flocking to the Redstick.

Evidently there are some who still believe if we click our heels and chant there is no place like home, there is no place like home, that all will be just fine.

Voters disagree. 

In fact, everyone who is of sound mind believes otherwise.  We can talk about bond issues, improving downtown, building bike paths, and creating amusement parks all we wish, but neglecting our murder rate and increase in violent crime will be a key factor in losing or gaining the best and brightest.

The fact remains that we have a huge crime challenge in the Red Stick.  Arguing as to whether the population is accurate or crime statistics are in the city limits or in the unincorporated portion of the parish is moot. 

Jeff Leduff said it best, and seems to be one of the few living in the real world. 

Recently, this was evidenced by Sheriff Sid Gautreaux’s pitiful attempts to claim that murders ‘in his jurisdiction outside the city limits’ is down.  Does he really believe we disassociate the city limits when thinking about the Red Stick. 

Whether you live in the city limits overseen by the Baton Rouge Police Department or outside of the corporation limits overseen by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, you should note that it was Sheriff Sid Gautreaux that proclaimed in his campaign for office that most perpetrators cross city and parish lines.  So, if you live in Zachary, criminals from North Baton Rouge are too close for comfort.  Just as those who live off Bluebonnet find Gardere far too close for the safety of their families.   (If you want to see where you live according to the annexation map, click here.)

Safety is one of the most important aspects to our quality of life.  An increase in the murder rate threatens the safety we all aspire to enjoy in the Redstick. 

Dismissing the increase in violent crime and murder rate shows ignorance in its truest form.

District Attorney Hillar Moore came into office recognizing and moving forward with programs that will address this issue head-on by working with our youth to prevent them from taking the wrong path.  Moore also recognizes the importance of protecting witnesses, and prosecuting repeat offenders.  These are worthwhile programs and should be fully funded by the Mayor’s Office instead of creating bike paths from Memorial Stadium to Downtown Baton Rouge.

I would like to see Mayor Kip Holden return to his promise of “no tolerance for violent crime” in East Baton Rouge Parish.  That would be time and money well spent. 

We must build from the bottom up and work on the most important aspects of our quality of life with the safety of our lives, homes and families being paramount. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Mayor Holden Breaks Another Promise Wednesday, Jan 13 2010 

Update:  The study Mayor Holden said would not take place, did and has been released! 

The most interesting aspect of the study includes the list of items that your tax dollars via the City of Baton Rouge plan to fund.  That list includes:

  • Redesign of the Central Green
    • Programming Study
    • Schematic Design
    • Modifications to River Road at the LASM site (along with federal appopriations)
    • Riverfront Plaza
  • Green Infrasctruture
    • Commission Mapping to Assess and Diagram Existing Conditions (through increase in budget to DDD)
    • Design a comprehensive Urban Forest
    • Pursue a phased planting of the Urban Forest
    • Ensure durability and longevity of the Urban Forest
  • Victory Park Neighborhood
    • Acquire Post Office site for future redevelopment and/or open space
    • Establish guidelines for future development of Post Office site
  • Redevelopment of Victory Park
    • Connections to the Mississippi River
    • Extend the levee promenade to DeSoto Park (along with Corp of Engineers)
    • Spanish Town Corridor Pedestrian Connection (along with state funding)
    • River Road Narrowing (along with state funding)
    • River Road Crossings at Florida and North (along with state funding)
    • Extend Capitol Park to DeSoto Park and the River (along with state funding)
  • Connections to the Neighborhood
    • Two way traffic on St. Ferdinand and St. Louis (along with state funding)
    • Two way traffic on Laurel and Lafayette (along with state funding)
  • Housing and Mixed-Use Incentives
    • Tax abatements
    • Retail and Entertainment Incentives
  • Waiver of construction license and permit fees
    • Facade improvement and building rehabilitation (along with potential grants)
    • A cleaner, safer, better maintained and attractive Downtown
  • Skilled workforce recruitment and funding
    • Coordinated Parking Management
  • Establish downtown parking function with DPW or DDD
    • Increase enforcement capacity
    • Shared use agreements
    • Shared state parking garages (along with 3rd parties and state funding)
  • Unified signage for parking
    • New zoning, design standards, and code enforcement in Downtown
  • Historic District Protection
    • New design guidelines (along with DDD)
    • LEED standards for new developments
    • Views to the Mississippi River
  • River Road developments
    • Retail uses on Lafayette Street
    • Code enforcement
  • Marketing and Branding Downtown
    • Branding (along with DDD)

Page 85 of the report indicates the budget for the Downtown Development District would need to be doubled for the portions they would be responsible for exclusively.  Their budget would be increased from $576,000 to $1,152,000.  This would be done through an increase in taxes as follows: 

  • DDD property millage from 10 to 12.5 mills
  • DDD tax increase from 2% to 2.25%

Additionally, the study indicates that EBRP’s city spending would need to increase significantly, but no specific figures are given or assigned.  Though there are recommendations for private funding and grants, no amount is indicated as to the exact amount of expenditures required.

In other words, NO specific budget is attached to the report.  Nor are there any assigned amounts for each of the expenditures listed above that the City of BR/Parish of EBR would underwite.

This is an overview, and you can read the entire report in this 22 MB file if you are willing to take time for it to download. 

The bottom line is that we have another broken promise by undertaking a study which Mayor Holden takes full credit for at the beginning of the report on page two as he announces his “Phase 2” plan for Downtown Baton Rouge.

Given the fact that the report indicates 225,000 as our city limit population with only 2,000 residents in the Downtown area, this seems to be another plan to spend extensive taxpayer funds for less than 1% of the city’s residents (page 67).  It would be fair, however, to mention that there are 20,705 workers in Downtown Baton Rouge, of which 10,179 are city-parish or state workers. 

So, here we are.  Another study, and most likely millions of tax dollars to improve Downtown only! 

##

Just one year ago, Mayor-President Kip Holden made a promise:

“There will not be another study this government will fund,” Holden said.  (Baton Rouge Business Report Daily Report, January 13, 2009.

Yesterday, this same publication reported:

— The DDD is undertaking a strategic planning study to see if the organization’s processes or structures could be improved. A report is expected in the next three to four months. (Baton Rouge Business Report Daily Report, January 12, 2010.

The facts continue to show that Holden is a tax and spend liberal, even in light of a decrease in city-parish tax collections for 2009. 

The DDD (Downtown Development District) is a quasi-parish government agency funded by your tax dollars.  The upcoming agenda for the East Baton Rouge Metro Council has an item to increase the salary of the executive director, Davis Rhorer.  Expenditures for the DDD require a stamp of approval from the Mayor or Metro Council. 

Mayor Holden’s Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Futrell, told The Advocate, “This fits in precisely with Mayor Holden’s vision…”

BREC Superintendent, Bill Palmer, said no special funds are available. 

As they say — follow the money!  Need I say more?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican