EBRP Mayor Kip Holden: In His Own Words Sunday, Jun 17 2012 

As we prepare for the 2012 East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President’s race, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back to 2004 when Kip Holden ran against incumbent Bobby Simpson. 

I am a strong believer in reviewing the facts and quoting candidate’s own words.  It begs the question.

In 2004, according to The Advocate, mayoral candidate Kip Holden, made the following statements on October 25th while speaking at the Catholic Life Center about incumbent Bobby Simpson:

More than $119 million in this year’s budget has gone to professional service contracts, he said. “We are going to cut it out” and pay officers more.

When you can see the same conditions that existed four years ago,” then what has been accomplished, he asked.  (In reference to Crime, Traffic, Economic Development and Education.)

Fast forward 8 years.  If Holden felt Simpson should be replaced based on these 4 major failings, let’s ask the same question he asked:

“When you can see the same conditions that existed four years ago,” then what has been accomplished?”

  1. Crime is still a major issue. 
  2. Our Education problems are ever-increasing. 
  3. Traffic has improved in some areas; however, it is still a huge problem. 
  4. Economic Development is still not where it should be, and we are spending huge sums to underwrite BRAC’s initiatives that are questionable at best.

So, Mayor Holden, to use your own prolific words, why are we asking the same questions?

Two of the most disheartening issues I find of late (there are so many, but I will zero in on a few for now) include: 

Crime and Budget Issues

In 2004, Holden claimed that he would cut out $119 million in professional services contracts.  We have a long way to go to make that proposed cut a reality.

A side bar should be made here regarding the fact that not all professional services contracts are clearly spelled out in the budget.  Any accountant or CPA worth his salt will tell you how easy it is to hide expenditures in a budget the magnitude of our City-Parish — 513 pages to be precise. 

The truth is that spending for the Mayor’s Office in professional services contracts far exceeded what Simpson’s budget called for — this is strictly for the Mayor’s Office alone.  Take a look:

  • $200,000 – Patton Boggs – lobbying and consulting
  • $110,000 – Courson-Nickel – lobbying and consulting
  • $100,000 – Truancy (a pass is given on this one as it is sorely needed)
  • $100,000 – Red Stick Animation Festival

That is over $500,000 in Contractual Services for the Mayor’s Office only.  Contractual Services for the City-Parish make up 19.3% of the EBRP’s budget.  (See page 66 of the budget here.)

Finally, the budget for the Mayor’s Office has substantially increased since Holden was initially elected.  Let’s review the facts:

  • Mayor-President & Administrative Offices (page 78 of the budget):
    • 2005:  2,342,060
    • 2006:  2,785,780
    • 2007:  3,744,280
    • 2008:  4,748,700
    • 2009:  3,860,040
    • 2010:  3,825,570
    • 2011:  3,502,520

The numbers speak volumes. 

There are some changes on the horizon thanks to the Metro Council.  Their plans for 2012 included substantial changes in authorization privileges being moved from the Mayor-President to the Metro Council for certain expenditures.  These changes, of course, seriously affected the administration’s budget. 

According to the budget, those areas include:  Community Sponsored Programs, Economic Development Programs, and Community Centers (see page 76, item w. of the budget for verification.)

As I began, so shall I end. 

Mayor-President Kip Holden ran for office in 2004 under the auspices that former Mayor-President Bobby Simpson had not taken hold of Crime, Education, Economic Development and Traffic problems.

In 2012, we should do no less than ask the same very questions that Holden asked: 

“…what has been accomplished (to address these issues)…?”

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Mayor Kip Holden Horse Trades Wednesday, Oct 12 2011 

Mayor Kip Holden has taken on a new hobby – horse trading with your tax dollars by freeing up money to repair bridges in the parish in exchange for approval of one of his downtown projects.

In late July, 2011, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Kip Holden accused our Metro Council of “virtually playing Russian Roulette with the lives and safety of the people of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish” for not approving his proposed $740 million tax increase/bond issue which would have included the repair of bridges in our parish.

The Metro Council was simply following the lead of their constituents who are sorely against the bond issue and another tax increase earlier this year.  Holden’s bond issue failed in 2008 and 2009 when voters refused to approve his tax increase.

Perhaps the most amazing revelation in this horse-trade is that money was ‘suddenly uncovered’ to fund the bridges requiring repair.  It is utterly amazing that the voters were told no funding was possible without a tax increase in 2008, 2009, and 2011, yet funds were ‘moved’ to meet the need.

It seems that Holden has no problem spending tax dollars on personal items such as:

  • $8,000 to ‘protect’ himself from the public by installing security cameras, a panic button, double glass doors, and a keypad. 
  • Nearly $1,000,000 to widen streets in downtown Baton Rouge,
  • Purchasing a helicopter for the Baton Rouge Police Department vs. putting more boots on the ground to address ever-increasing crime in our parish. (No doubt Holden flies around in the helicopter at will.)
  • Spending between $42,000 to $68,000 annually for personal body guards.  Over an 8 year period, this equates to between $336,000 and $544,000 of your tax dollars for his personal use. 
  • An annual expenditure, according to the city-parish budget, of $642 monthly to pay for a Lincoln Town Car to drive Holden around town.  This would be approximately $61,000 during an 8 year tenure for the rental of a vehicle or Holden’s use.

Mayor Kip Holden’s annual budget has increased over $138 million since taking office.  That is our tax dollars being spent.  Imagine having that kind of increase in your personal household spending?  It would never happen.  Spending someone else’s money is Holden’s specialty.

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 not changed Mayor Kip Holden’s spending habits.  In fact, as they say in politics, Holden has never seen a tax increase he doesn’t love.

Holden also spends his campaign contributions for personal expenditures such as:

  • LSU football tickets?  $1,520
  • LSU parking fees?  $5,050
  • Southern football tickets? $760
  • Southern parking fees?  $806
  • Camelot membership dues?  $201$201, $201, (apparently this is a monthly expense during Holden’s campaigns)
  • Car repairs?  $500, $3134, $800 
  • There are also expenditures for flowers on virtually every report for $800 – $1,300 in each instance.  That’s a lot of flowers!

I’ve addressed Holden’s tax-and-spend liberal modus operandi many times.  frivolous expenditures such as spending $1,000,000 of our tax dollars to lure Frontier Airlines, only to see Frontier flee Baton Rouge faster than a bank robber.

When does it stop?  Evidently, only when Mayor Kip Holden takes up a new hobby — horse trading with our tax dollars.

The bottom line here is that there IS already funding in our coffers to take care of the needs of our parish.  Otherwise, we couldn’t ‘move’ money from one frivilous project to take care of a much needed project like bridges requiring repair.

I’m not sure who to credit for this horse-trading-deal, but it appears that Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker cut the deal with Holden.  If that is correct, then kudos to Walker for making a bold move to find monies that already exist vs. allowing Holden to raise our taxes once again.

Follow the money.  It truly is a test of character.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Mayor Kip Holden Still “Off Limits” Friday, Jun 17 2011 

 

 

Evidently it doesn’t matter if you are on the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council, a concerned citizen, or a homeless man — the message is clear:  Mayor Kip Holden is “Off Limits” — and so is his office!  

According to The Advocate and Baton Rouge Business Report, the Mayor recently spent more than $8,000 to ‘protect’ himself from the public by installing security cameras, a panic button, double glassed in doors, and a keypad. 

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker stated his displeasure at the expenditure (albeit a Homeland Security Grant) and declared it unnecessary due to the fact that the building has uniformed security and that Mayor Kip Holden has his own entourage of personal body guards and drivers.  Walker’s thinking is accurate in that he referred to these security measures as sending a message to the public that the Mayor’s Office is “Off Limits”.

Surely no one is surprised at this blatent move by the Mayor to continue his ‘closed door’ policy? 

Holden and his ‘former’ good buddy, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, made the same move in his offices in an effort to line up with the same type of closed door policy.  Campaign promises to visit with each individual have gone by the wayside. 

Closed doors = closed minds?

Holden was first elected to the position of Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish due to Baton Rouge Next’s campaign against former Mayor Bobby Simpson.  The campaign was known as “Anybody But Bobby” or “ABB”.  With a goal that was clear and concise — “ABB” pledged to put their money, time and effort behind getting anyone other than Bobby Simpson elected as Mayor of EBRP. 

The “ABB” train was on the move, and Kip Holden arrived at the station just in time!  From the onset of the campaign, Holden was on the attack — claiming, of course, that his ‘addressing the issues’ was not negative campaigning, but simply “pointing out problems with Simpson’s record“. 

One might remember that William Daniel also ran in the primary of 2004.  Daniel loaned his campaign enough to run the infamous traffic ads produced by BRNext showcasing frustrated citizens sitting in EBR Parish traffic.  The political action committee, BRNext, created numerous ads that pointed out all the problems in EBR Parish and targeting the Mayor’s Office (Bobby Simpson in particular) for the issues at hand.  Holden spent very little in his own campaign, yet he benefited greatly from both ABB’s and Daniel’s expenditures.

This must have been a golden moment for Kip Holden.  The irony of the 2004 campaign was that former Mayor Bobby Simpson was attacked for doing nothing to improve three major areas of concern to EBR Parish citizens:

        1. Crime ……………………………………… still an issue 7 years later
        2. Education ………………………………..  still an issue 7 years later
        3. Traffic ……………………………………..  still an issue 7 years later

 I digress.  Back to the issue at hand.

The bottom line on Mayor Kip Holden being “Off Limits” is not a new concept.  Building glass double doors, adding keypads and buzzers to allow individuals to enter, and security cameras are just external signs of a policy that has been in place for some time now. 

The only thing that makes me wonder is why it has taken so long for the media and public to recognize the dichotomy of Holden. 

On a social level, Holden is the cat’s meow…always in attendance of every community event (beer in hand), a smile on his face, kissing babies, dancing, sharing motivational tidbits, and making campaign promises under the auspice of his catch phrase that Baton Rouge will be “the next greatest city in America” – Amen, brother!

The political side of Holden, however, is the man with a huge ego that loves to be driven around like Miss Daisy, catered to by his entourage, protected by his body guards, and is unapproachable for sensible open discussions about how we can work TOGETHER lest we fall apart. 

The latter is a dangerous man who lacks understanding.  He closes himself off from those with fresh ideas who have nothing to gain except to see the greater good prevail in a community.  His intentions are less than honorable when he does not share openly and freely information that the public (and the Metro Council) deserve to receive, and rejects the wisdom of crowds.

Yes, Mayor Kip Holden is Still “Off Limits”.  The only difference is that now you have to be buzzed in — or will they hit the panic button?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

 

Lack of Leadership Saturday, Oct 9 2010 

 

 

Chief Leduff, Sheriff Gautreaux & Mayor Holden

I believe it is imperative to discuss this past week’s “crime-fighting” debacle.

It all began when Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, who is rumored at taking a run for Mayor-President in the near future, began to address the ongoing increase in violent crime in East Baton Rouge Parish as an urgent matter.  Walker declared the increasing violent crime as an emergency that needed immediate attention.  

This action by Walker, of course, met resistance from current Mayor-President Kip Holden. 

 There is nothing new under the sun since this is Holden’s MO (modus operandi).  Anyone that dares to speak against Holden’s plans, or lack of plans in this case, is seen as the target du jour.  Holden always goes for the jugular vein by attacking his opponents vs. the issue at hand.

Let’s recap the chain of events.

  • Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker announced he had plans to move funding to address the apparent problem with violent crime in our parish. 
  • Mayor Kip Holden lashed back by accusing Walker of instilling fear in the community. 
  • Holden also accused Walker of micro-managing the police department (which falls under the purview of the Mayor).
  • Walker mentioned that he would like to divert $900,000 from widening streets in downtown to the police department and district attorney’s office to fund increased police patrols and prosecutions.
  • Holden cried foul by saying the Bowling Congress needed two-way streets to be a success. (Guess he forgot the last Bowling Congress was a success with one-way streets?)
  • Holden struck back again claiming that he was being attacked, going so far as to speak of himself in the third person.  “This is not a time for a counsel member to try to attack the Mayor,”  said Mayor Holden. 
  • Council members Alison Cascio and Chandler Loupe supported Walker by stating their constituents were fearful of the crime problem in our parish and it did need to be addressed, while Joel Boe’ said he feels the crime is as bad as it has been for the past two years. 
  • Holden continued his hyperbole by going so far as to suggest that those criticizing policing efforts don’t understand what is going on in the poor black areas of our community.

I suppose that would be funny, if it weren’t such a sad statement.  No doubt, this is a mentality shared by Holden’s spin doctors who are truly out of touch with our entire community.  First of all, Walker didn’t refer to the crime problem as a black/white issue.  Race was NEVER mentioned until the Mayor brought up the topic.    This truly was political suicide for Holden.

Let’s continue with the events that brought forth the greatest political debacle affecting Holden and Gautreaux:

  • Mayor Kip Holden quickly summons the Baton Rouge Police Chief, District Attorney, State Police Superintendent, and Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish to his office to ask them ‘are you with me’?
    • This is the ultimate insult to the intelligence of the citizens of Baton Rouge.  Are you telling me that it took Mike Walker to speak out publicly to cause the Mayor to call the four leading law enforcement entities to his office to “discuss’ the violent crime problem in our Parish?
  • The cover was blown when Sheriff Sid Gautreaux repeatedly stated, at the last-minute press conference, that he told the Mayor he was in when he called the day before to ask for his help. 
    • Huh?  Is Gautreaux the ‘chief law enforcement officer of the parish’ or not?  Does he only follow the lead of the Mayor?  Is he only reactionary?  Does it take a domino effect for the chief law enforcement officer to act?  Why did Mayor Holden wait until Walker said we had an emergency to call in the top law enforcement officers for a meeting to develop a plan of action?  What kind of Mickey Mouse operation are we running here? 
  • Police Chief Jeff Leduff, who is rumored to run for Sheriff with Holden’s backing, spoke next at the press conference by saying he never understood the victims of violent crime until now.  Well, that’s a hell of a note since he is retiring at the end of 2010. 
    • Why was this a mistake?  Because it showed that Leduff has not been engaged enough with past murders and family victims.  Broken, once again, in front of the television cameras, Leduff came closer to an emotional wreck than as leader of city police.
    • District Attorney Hillar Moore seemed to be the voice of reason while stating that we needed to understand how we got to where we are today.  Understanding the past always leads to a clearer path to the future.  Moore has made it no secret that education and truancy is not only his platform, but something he has put feet to since elected.
  • Superintendent Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police, was present at Holden’s ‘come quickly to my rescue press conference’ and appeared to show the same leadership skills he normally displays as chief law enforcement officer of the State Police.  Nothing new here.

Unfortunately, the press conference proved to be full of errors:

  • Mayor Holden and Chief Leduff stated the Louisiana State Police Officers will ride in vehicles with Baton Rouge Police.
    • We learned the next day that this is NOT true, and as Gautreaux said, “this will never happen”.
  • Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said the parish prison is being modified to open up more beds for prisoners.
    • This promise was made when we elected Gautreaux; he promised to add modular housing once he became Sheriff.  This has NOT taken place.
  • State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said he was availing his office for various law enforcement agencies to work together to solve crimes.
    • This sounds good, but those on the inside know that the State Police has always opened up their campus to other law enforcement personnel.  Nevertheless, Edmonson backed up the Mayor in a show of support.
    • Additionally, Sheriff Gautreaux is already housed at the Emergency Preparedness Center near the airport where various agencies work in tandem with one another already. 
    • FINDING A PLACE TO WORK IS NOT THE PROBLEM FOLKS!

Boots on the Ground make more sense and do more good than any long list of false promises could ever make.  We have seen enough of those promises from politicians.  What we need is ACTION.

When Mayor Holden’s neighbor was murdered a year or two ago, he and Chief Leduff plainly stated that we would NOT allow this to continue.  Unfortunately, neither one of these men have kept their promise.  The criminals are running amuck in our parish and areas that rarely experienced violent crime are continuing (not just recently) to show increased activity by violent perpetrators.

Sheriff Gautreaux made a lot of promises when he was elected.  The main thing was to put more boots on the ground by drastically increasing patrols (not just in the unincorporated portions of our parish, but in the entire parish and city limits.  This has NOT happened.

Gautreaux also promised to build a coalition with ALL law enforcement agencies both INSIDE and OUTSIDE of our parish.  This has NOT happened.  Thus the press conference which resulted in a sad cover-up of what is a proven lack of leadership in the Mayor’s office, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office.

Hey, if you are unemployed or want a better opportunity to make a REAL difference in our community, I have TWO GREAT JOB OPPORTUNITIES waiting for two individuals who are committed to making a difference:

OPENING #1

MAYOR-PRESIDENT of EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH

OPENING #2

SHERIFF of EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH

ONLY THOSE WHO ARE SERIOUS, CAN TAKE ACTION AND STOP SMOOTH-TALKING THE CITIZENS OF EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH NEED APPLY.

The only way WE can make a difference in OUR leadership is when we vote at the polls.  I have my binoculars on looking in the distance for leaders that will stand up for the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Who will be sworn in to protect and serve the people of our parish?  Who is willing to stand in the gap and really lead the charge?  Not for economic development, but for public safety? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Baton Rouge CityStats Reveals Inadequacies Wednesday, Apr 7 2010 

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation released their CityStats study for East Baton Rouge Parish earlier this week.  It’s an insightful look into the Red Stick’s Quality of Life, and worth reading.

CityStats provides information on facts such as:

  • Over a 5-year period, library readership has declined 14%, and library computer use declined 9.5% in a 2-year period.  Nevertheless, we are spending tens of millions to build new libraries.
  • Unemployment nearly doubled from 3.6% in 2007 to 6.1% in 2009, and is expected to increase.
  • Adjudicated properties increased by 54% in one year due for failure to pay property taxes.
  • Outward migration nearly doubled over the past five years, excluding Katrina which increased dramatically.
  • Patents dropped 14% over a 5-year period.
  • High school dropouts increased from 6.4% to 9.8% in four years.
  • High school graduates dropped 12.9% over a 4-year period.
  • Public and private school enrollment has experienced a steady decrease over a 4-year period.
  • A decline of 20% less qualified teachers over a 4-year period.
  • Toxic releases into the environment increased 32% over a 4-year period.
  • Our infant mortality rate is more than twice the national average.
  • Cases of sexually transmitted diseases remained the same or increased over a 5-year period.
  • An increase in commute time since 2004 was experienced while a decrease in airport use was experienced.
  • While bus ridership has increased, bus routes have decreased.
  • Violent crime has increased as compared to 4 years ago with the exception of Baker and Zachary. (See page 49 for full statistics.)
  • More than 1/4 of families in East Baton Rouge Parish experienced the inability to provide meals over the past year.
  • Child abuse has increased over the past year.

There are some positive factors, but frankly, they are outweighed by the tremendous volume of serious concerns over the quality of life issues for our parish.

Remind me again who the politicians and leaders are that kept telling us the Red Stick was not touched by the recession?

There is a huge difference between maintaining a healthy positive outlook and absolute denial.  Judgement begins in the actions of politicians and community leaders who have been handing out rose-colored glasses.

We need to get back to basics.  It begins in the Mayor-President’s office and in the seat of the Metro Council.  We have reached so deep into the pockets of taxpayers to create plans that are not improving the true Quality of Life for our citizens according to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s CityStats study.  

Our Mayor-President has had free rein to wrecklessly increase our city-parish budget during his 6-year tenure.  Take a look:

  • $563 million in 2005
  • $592 million in 2006
  • $621 million in 2007
  • $679 million in 2008
  • $694.9 million in 2009
  • $701.1 million in 2010

Do the math.  That’s a 40% increase to the tune of $138.1 million in City-Parish spending by Mayor-President Kip Holden in six years.

Enough said.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Mayor Kip “Spendthrift” Holden Thursday, Feb 5 2009 

bendovernurse

Mayor Kip Holden never ceases to amaze me with his spendthrift plans for taxpayers of East Baton Rouge Parish.  While the entire country continues to make cutbacks, “our Mayor” seeks out new ways to hit voters in the pocketbook.  Since his tax plan failed last fall, he has continued to seek out ways to get around voters and fund his own selfish desires to spend our money extravagantly.

Attention Mayor Holden:  Every dime you spend has to find a source.  That source is the taxpayers.  Ever heard of saving money?  Has the thought struck you to find ways to cut back spending?  Evidently not!

Some of Mayor Holden’s latest spendthrift philosophies include:

  • Going to Washington, D.C. to ask for $800 million of President Obama’s stimulus package.  Instead of encouraging Washington against spending more of our tax dollars and reducing long-term debt, Holden is vying for funding of his special projects.  He was so bold as to say he should “come out of there with a pretty good chunk of change”. 
  • Asking the EBRP Metro Council to spend $1 million for land to put up a parking lot. 
  • Spending $17 million to expand the River Center that expands meeting rooms from 8 to 15 for the upcoming bowling congress. 
  • Renewed a $500,000 contract with BRAC (Baton Rouge Area Chamber) for economic development of EBR Parish.  This brings total payments to BRAC in the amount of $1.5 million since 2007.
  • Pushed through a $110 million bond issue for the Green Light Plan with the new Metro Council even though the CSRS project manager could not specify which projects would be funded.  What the ?

To add insult to injury, Mayor Holden is planning on pushing his $989 million tax proposal again this fall to voters, and excluding any benefit to the bedroom communities of Central, Baker and Zachary.  (These areas helped defeat the tax proposition.)  Interesting.

As of January 1, 2009, our spendthrift Mayor Kip Holden has already spent or has plans to spend a grand total over $928 million in tax dollars.  When you add the proposed tax plan this fall of $989 million in new tax dollars, you come up with a super grand total of $1,918,000,000 (yes that is $1 billion $918 million).

Wow!  This unrestrained spending by Holden must stop!  It was no secret I did not support Holden for Mayor.  I believe he lives with reckless abandon in so many ways and spending our tax dollars is probably #1 on his agenda.

At what point will Mayor Kip “Spendthrift” Holden stop?  Where is the old watchdog group TaxBusters when we need them?  Fred Dent, are you out there?  (Gotta give ole’ Fred credit for speaking out against the $500,000 BRAC expenditure – so I know he’s out there!)  Watchdogs are an important necessity when we have a Mayor that insists on spending vs. cutting back in these troubled times.

I cannot stand by and listen how great our community is doing from Mayor Holden and how we need two new downtown hotels when I read in the Business Report how our downtown hotel business is down 14-17% from this time last year.  Of course it is, FEMA guests stimulated our hotel industry . . . temporarily!  Wake up folks!

Mayor Holden is definitely out of control on spending.  We are one month into his new term and he already has visions of an increase of nearly $2 billion in spending.  When will the madness stop?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Holden Re-Elected with Few Promises Sunday, Oct 5 2008 

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.

Just in time for the Mayoral Election Sunday, Sep 28 2008 

I’ve been mulling over the recent Metro Council meeting that focused on the East Baton Rouge Sewer System.  When it comes to the voters, It seems that Mayor Kip Holden’s people must think like Jessup in A Few Good Men:  “You can’t handle the truth!”

The fact is that on January 9, 2008, finance manager of DPW, Mark LeBlanc, told the Metro Council there was a $250 to $300 million shortfall in revenue to cover the upgrading of the EBR Parish sewer system.  Walter Monsour, Holden’s Chief Administrative Officer, agreed and spoke to this fact.  A $129 million budget supplement was allotted.  Still, Holden’s administration could not promise taxes would not be raised to fund the sewer system due to a potential shortfall.

Holden’s administration used this argument to defend the continuation of the 4% sewer system annual increase.  The defense came because Metro Council members Wayne Carter and David Boneno were questioning whether the annual increase was necessary if Holden’s plan would cost less, as promised by Holden.  The lesser cost was due to Holden changing the deep tunnel approach to one with ‘newer technology’ with a lower cost.

As a result, Metro Council member David Boneno said he had yet to see a detailed financial report on the sewer system.  Understand that this is a very important piece of information.  The very council that is elected by the people to oversee the budget had requested a detailed report of the expenditures the previous week (January 1, 2008 Metro Council) because they had not yet been given an explanation of expenditures. 

NOW, after 8 (EIGHT) months, we suddenly are presented with ‘new’ information – just in time for the Mayoral election.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. 

Fast forward to September 24, 2008  The Metro Council is now told by Holden’s administration that the sewer system is now ‘fully funded’.  This is politics in its truest form.

Let’s remember this folks.  Mayor Kip Holden, Chief Administrative Officer Walter Monsour, and CH2M Hill Deputy Program Director for the sewer system, Michael Ellis have now told us that the sewer system will be fully funded and there is no shortfall.  LeBlanc, who formerly claimed a shortfall on January 9, 2008, now agrees no shortfall.  They even brought Merrill Lynch in to support the argument, along with Mike Futrell, assistant chief administrative officer for Holden.  They sure brought out the big guns.   Just in time for the election!  Got it yet?

Uh oh, hold on.  There was a little clue given by Ellis in his presentation:  “the proposed construction costs are all based on current-day prices, but noted that most of the projects are going to be bid in the next two or three years.”  Do you believe that your current grocery budget will cover your grocery bills for the next two or three years?  Enough said.

It took 266 days since the original request, but only 10 days before the Mayoral election, for Holden’s administration to given ‘new’ information that everything is okay financially with the sewer system.

Maybe you don’t find this strange, but I do.  I don’t like being treated like a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Boneno and Carter were right to ask for a report.  Holden’s people were wrong to wait so long, and just in time for an election to given a report that all will be just fine. 

One thing is for sure.  We will mark our calendars for the future to see if this is a fact or just another empty mayoral election promise from Holden.  He and his staff seem to be good at making it seem everything is okay.  Meanwhile we continue to be plagued by an overflowing sewer system and traffic that is known as the worst in the entire nation. 

Vote on October 4th.  If you are happy with the sewer system, sitting in traffic for hours on end, continuing to view the blight around our parish, and crime that has everyone continually on edge, vote to re-elect Mayor Kip Holden.  If you are not happy with these things, consider another candidate (Dan Kyle, Ron Johnson or Wayne Carter) that can bring much needed change in our parish.  Don’t be fooled by reports that arrive just in time for the mayoral election.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

No Surprise: Mayor Kip Holden Absent Wednesday, Sep 24 2008 

 

It was no big surprise that Mayor-President Kip Holden chose to be absent from a mayoral forum hosted at LSU on Red Stick traffic woes. 

I suppose it would be difficult for Holden to explain why voters have had no relief over the past four years when it comes to sitting in traffic jams.  When the census bureau released statistics that Katrina did not increase the population to the degree Holden claimed, he dropped that argument.  Why?  Because he was incorrect.

The 3 candidates for Mayor had some interesting ideas regarding Red Stick traffic.  I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but at least they showed up to discuss one of the major issues plaguing the parish.

Ron Johnson, democrat, has a plan to eliminate the I-10 and I-12 split.  This does not make sense to me, but perhaps it would work to build them on top of each other as he indicated. 

Johnson made an excellent point regarding the fact that Kip Holden promised a light train rail system when he ran for office the first go round.  Nothing happened regarding this promise Holden made.  No big surprise.   

Our traffic is worst than it was 4 years ago when Holden was elected Mayor by default.  Holden was elected by default because it was BR Next that pushed for “Anybody but Bobby” (Simpson) as Mayor.  I always wonder if Kyle had been elected if our parish budget and taxes would be lower?  Kyle is known for his tenacious and conservative approach to budgets for city and state government.

Wayne Carter, republican, wants to take the millions Holden has spent on synchronizing traffic lights in downtown Baton Rouge and spend those dollars on major intersections that are known bottlenecks.  Considering that Holden is determined to spend large sums of tax dollars downtown, this idea is of interest to me.

Dan Kyle, republican, wants to widen I-10.  An idea whose time is long overdue.  Kyle also wants to increase the bus transit system, noting that since Holden has been in office only cuts to the system and routes have been made.  This comment is right on. 

Holden has chosen to cut the very system that allows those without their own transportation to be mobile in our parish.  By cutting routes, it has affected businesses.  Employers often have to shuffle schedules to accommodate employees who need to rush to meet the last bus of the day.

Kyle also noted that Kip Holden fought against widening I-10 awhile back.  Good point.  Thus, Kyle calls the problem the “Kip Holden Traffic Jam”.

It seems that this is the most appropriate way to explain the frustration of citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish regarding traffic woes:

 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

4 Years Later: Our Leadership Still Not Working Thursday, Sep 18 2008 

 

 

Former mayor Bobby Simpson had a formidable challenger in the people of Baton Rouge who were unhappy with traffic and sewer problems plaguing our parish.  Joining them was a nonpartisan political action group, Baton Rouge Next, that led the charge calling for a change in Red Stick Leadership claiming “OUR LEADERSHIP ISN’T WORKING.”  The major issue became our traffic woes.  Imagine that?

Fast forward to today.  You are on your way to work, to the doctor or to run errands.  While sitting in the most horrendous traffic jams in the history of East Baton Rouge Parish you remember the video that said it all.  In case you’ve forgotten it, here it is:

William Daniel, 2004 candidate for Mayor of EBR Parish, borrowed the traffic footage for his campaign and made the same claims.  Daniel said “a fortune has been spent studying the loop, but you’ll wait years before construction even starts.  As mayor I will use toll roads, build loops, and get our traffic moving now.”  Daniel lost his bid for Mayor.

Instead, the man touted as the most liberal member of the legislature, Kip Holden, was elected mayor.  Holden promised to solve the traffic woes, sewer problems, and other pressing issues.  LABI (Louisiana Business & Industry) warned voters by giving Holden the lowest score of any legislator due to the fact that Holden voted AGAINST business.  (ex. Holden voted AGAINST giving manufacturers tax exemptions.) 

Mayor-President Kip Holden has a long history while in the legislature of voting against issues residents and business owners of the Red Stick needed to improve our quality of life.  Just a few include making it easier for injured workers to sue their employers, voting against locking the ban on same-sex marriage, pushing to block the execution of mentally deficient murderers and attempting to soften the school system’s accountability program.

Here we are 4 years later.  Holden is running for re-election.  Some call him an immovable force.  In a previous blog I joked about his political consultants wanting voters to have frontal lobotomies so they will just pull the lever for Holden and not even consider other mayoral candidates.  The truth is this is no joking matter.  Due to the overwhelming response to that blog, I have made a decision to take a factual look at the candidates until election day.  That includes a tough hard look at Holden and his actions while in office.  After all, when running against conservative Simpson, Holden said he did not understand Simpson not wanting the people to scrutinize his record.  Well, let’s follow Kip’s lead.

On the issue of traffic, it would not take a traffic engineer to determine there have been NO improvements in traffic woes.  A simple trip yesterday for a downtown meeting and an afternoon drive in 5:00 p.m. traffic netted me an extra two hours sitting still in traffic.  That’s a gas burner! Regarding traffic:

  • We did not get the improved public transportation that Kip Holden promised. 
  • We did not get the commuter light rail system Kip Holden promised. 
  • We did not get much further down the road on the Baton Rouge Loop, but Holden did spend $2,000,000 of your taxpayer dollars to study the loop and hold community meetings. 
  • We did not get the police officers during rush hour at major intersections directing the flow of traffic Kip Holden promised. 
  • What we did get is more of the same.

More of the same promises from a seasoned politician who talks a good game and who can sway the crowds like a well-groomed motivational speaker promising to take our troubles away if we follow him.  Do we want to continue to follow a tax and spend liberal who wants to dip into our pocketbooks once again with $989,000,000,000 in new taxes?  I repeat, $989 million new taxes!  EBRP residents want more than talk.  Voters do not want or need more taxes!  The voters want action.  Simple action within the current budget.

If you want to continue the daily traffic woes you are currently experiencing, re-elect Holden.  You will just get more of the same including downtown hotels, downtown parking lots, tourist attractions, lots of motivational speeches, fairs and festival appearances, ‘one Baton Rouge’, expensive 24-7 body guards and drivers all at your expense.  Remember Catfish Town?

If you are tired of the same old same old, then look at the options and let’s see if Dan Kyle, Ron Johnson or Wayne Carter might be able to do more than talk a good game to the voters of EBR Parish. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican