Fired Baton Rouge Police Chief Responds to Mayor Kip Holden Monday, Feb 18 2013 

the-moment-of-truth-12

Under any other circumstances, what took place today would most likely have not happened.  Unfortunately, Mayor Kip Holden and his Chief Administrative Officer, William Daniel, fired Police Chief Dwayne White last week.  This came after both Holden and Daniel vehemently denied to the media (when rumors were swirling over this potential firing) that there was any truth to the rumors.  Really?  Is anyone surprised that Holden and his partner in crime, Daniel, lied to the media and public?  Furthermore, the Mayor released a letter to the media last week charging the Chief of Police with a laundry list of allegations as to why he was fired.  Today’s one hour hearing was an opportunity for the Police Chief to answer those allegations — and he chose to do so in front of the media and community.

My first response is kudos to ‘former’ Police Chief Dwayne White for answering each charge in great detail, by providing a binder with documentation to back up his ‘evidence’ against each charge made by the Mayor, and for allowing the community and media to hear his side of the story.  I was intrigued and mesmerized that someone in our great city finally had the impetus to stand up to Holden.  For that alone, I applaud White!

I am a lifelong resident of the Red Stick; raised in North Baton Rouge — and in particular grew up and lived in the 70805 zip code until I was in my 30’s.  No one can tell me anything about ‘70805’.  It is one of our most drug-ridden, gang-infested, high crime areas in our city.  Not the same neighborhood I grew up in; nevertheless, just two weeks ago, I drove back to my old homestead (as I do at least once annually) and stopped on my old street to speak with a gentleman that lives across the street from the home I grew up in.  We talked about several murders that have taken place recently on my old street, as well as arrests of late for numerous violent offenders just a few houses down the street.

Let me be clear that I have never met, nor do I know Police Chief Dwayne White.  What I did learn about him today, however, is that he is a man of faith, a man that believes in his principals, a man that chose to not play politics, but to openly answer each charge publicly in order to answer to the community whom he serves as to the charges lodged against him.  He appeared to be full of conviction in his position that he had the best interest of the community in mind with all of his decisions as Police Chief, and that the charges made against him were full of misinformation and innuendo without substance.  Frankly, I remain impressed with him.

White’s attorney, Jill Craft, understands the system well.  She specializes in a very difficult area of the law — discrimination and labor law.  It can be complicated, yet she has had great success in defending individuals who were dismissed from their employment due to unfair labor practices.  Craft is no stranger to the Supreme Court either, which made bode well for White.  No doubt, the fact that White answered the charges against him both publicly and in writing fulfill one of the requirements of the law in this, Craft’s specialized area.

To know Kip Holden in his full political regalia, is to understand that he is secretive, knows how to play the game, and is quick to accuse others without evidence.  On the other hand, he has publicly denied allegations made against him and even gone so far as to file suit against anyone defaming him — later dropping the charges once time passed.  With no public apology to those he easily despaired, I might add.  It begs the question.  Here is a public figure that refuses to be held accountable, overreacts without all of the facts, and simply does as he pleases.  I am continuously shocked that he has been re-elected, and is serving his third term as Mayor.

The majority of the charges lodged against Chief of Police Dwayne White appear to be ridiculous.  Likewise, because of the history of Mayor Kip Holden’s past actions, I tend to believe all of the comments White said Holden told him behind closed doors.  Holden does not like for anyone to disagree with him.  The Mayor is very close to Chris Stewart, head of the Union of Police.  Stewart was transferred; White says Holden called him in — rumors floated that White would be fired; Holden denied the rumors — Holden fires White.

The case is pretty simple.  Stay tuned.

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

 

5 Related Murders in EBRP Monday, Sep 21 2009 

   

Serial_killer

In memory of the victims, I am republishing their story today.

In the heart of the Red Stick, a man was beaten for 24 hours, dragged unconscious, set on fire and left to die in a remote wooded area.  Since this horrific murder took place, 3 eye-witnesses  & 1 attorney  tied to the case have been murdered. 

Got your attention yet?

In May, I mentioned this story when discussing my concern about judges in EBR Parish allowing murderers to continually be released on bond

While officials are trying to convince us that the violent crime reports are not completely accurate, violent offenders are walking down the streets of the Red Stick.  They are standing in line at the convenience store, walking in the mall, sitting next to someone at a red light – maybe next to you?  Or, worst yet, next to your child?  

Don’t even think “this has nothing to do with me”.  It’s a growing problem coming to your neighborhood soon. 

What are the chances that 3 eyewitness and an attorney, all involved with the same murder case, were ALL murdered prior to the trial?   

Denako Duheart and his brother, Dearius Duheart, along with Andrea Deon Williams were originally charged with 1st degree murderin October, 2007 in the brutal beating, burning and death of Jason Fourmy. 

But something happened.  Judge Wilson Fields allowed them to be released on a reduced bond. 

One month later, two eyewitnesses were suddenly murdered. 

As a result, the crime was reduced to 2nd degree murder

To add insult to injury, their attorney was murdered – supposedly by her husband.  What an odd coincidence!  Anyone?

Ironically, the charges were then reduced to 2nd degree battery

Walking around.  Two of the perpetrators.  In the Red Stick.  Among us.  Next to our children.  (One remained in prison; after he confessed.)

Concerned yet?  You should be.  This is only one story in the naked city of the Red Stick.

Suddenly another eyewitness is shot, but evidently survives.

A 3rd eyewitness was murdered this week – just two months prior to the trial.  A young woman shot in the head and left in a ditch to die.

Give me the definition of a serial killer again? Anyone? 

According to Mr. Webster, a serial killer is someone who murders 3 or more people over a period of 30 days or more with a ‘cooling’ period in between.

The body count is now up to 5 individuals involved in one murder case:  The original victim (Fourmy) + 1 attorney + 3 eyewitnesses = 5 

Mayor Holden, please do not insult our intelligence again by telling us that a new tax or bond issue to build a new prison will solve our crime problems in EBRParish.  Instead, remind us of your promise for zero-tolerance for violent offenders.  What happened to that promise? 

The only way we will begin to scratch the surface of crime in our parish will be to bring violent offenders to justice — for judges to realize that setting violent offenders free on reduced bail, or reducing charges because witnesses are murdered is no way to keep our citizens safe.

I see no difference between a Derrick Todd Lee or Sean Vincent Gillis in comparison to the Duheart-Duheart-Williams trio.  They all took multiple lives in our parish. 

I am my brother’s keeper.  We must seek justice on behalf of these victims.  Their blood cries out to all of us to act before more senseless murders are committed.  

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

UPDATE:  The system failed the victims and families of these murderers.  Today, September 21, 2009, the murderers were set free.  Why?    Because ALL of the witnesses were murdered.  The victims could have been your son, your daughter, your mother, your father, your friend, or you.  If we do not make serious changes in the Red Stick, our crime will continue to dominate the news and threaten the safety of our children.  I am so very saddened for the loved ones of these victims.

Holden’s Tax Plan: Follow the Money Sunday, Jul 26 2009 

 pay to play

The real beneficiaries of Mayor-President Kip Holden’s tax plan remain to be seen.  The Mayor is working hard on a public relations campaign showcasing his proposed $887 million municipal 30-year bond issue.  Holden is hopeful that voters of EBR Parish will say yes to a half-cent sales tax and 9.9 mill property tax the second time around.

Muncipal bond issues afford governmental entities the opportunity to borrow money at lower rates.  The bonds are paid back through the collection of taxes.  What is rarely discussed is the fact that municipal bond issues are huge money makers for the ‘chosen ones’ allowed to participate.

In politics, they say follow the money.  Who makes money on the issuance of muncipal bonds?

  • Public Relations consultants – designing a plan of action to market the bond issue
  • Counsel –  bond attorney serving as legal representation, providing legal opinions, preparation of documents, handling regulation and compliance issues
  • Investment banker – underwriter of the bond issue  that buys, markets, resells bonds
  • Financial advisors – design structure of bond issues, prepare  disclosure statements, solicits bids from underwriters
  • Trustee – paying agent representing the bondholders (i.e. bank)
  • Insurance company – guarantor of bond issue/credit enhancement

If the tax/bond issue passes, it will be interesting to see who is awarded these various components.  Each entity will be paid significant fees. 

These details are not part of the ‘public relations’ program currently being used to sell taxpayers.  Does it matter?   What if they have to pay to play

We are hearing a lot in the media about state government ethics in regard to those tied financially to the Governor’s office via political contributions.  The question is should those making political contributions be allowed to benefit by receiving contracts, positions, etc? 

Why isn’t anyone asking these questions about Holden’s bond issue? 

Municipal bond issues are also marketed to the public under the guise of creating jobs and generating income to local businesses.  Companies will be required to bid.  Few taxpayers, if any, will take note of the businesses participating in each project.    

Seldom does anyone have the time or information to research these tidbits of information.  Who has the time?  Even more important, who has the knowledge?  We already know The Advocate won’t be revealing these facts to us:

  • How much are consultants being paid to handle the public relations of Holden’s bond issue?  Walter Monsour is already on board as a consultant.  Who else?  What is this costing us?
  • Who is the bond attorney/counsel? 
  • What are the relationships of all of these entities to Holden? 
  • How much did they donate to Holden’s political campaign?
  • What contributions have been made to other elected officials such as Sheriff Gautreaux by these individuals and companies?
  • Who are the proposed financial advisors, bankers, trustees?   
  • Were or will these contracts bid out?
  • Who will share in contracts to build a $135 million prison? 
  • Who will move the dirt?  Hook up the electricity?  Provide the security system?  The list is endless.  The answers are key.
  • The same for a $44 million juvenile service facility, a $92 million public safety complex, $19 million for fire stations/EMS, $38 million for city hall remodeling? 
  • There are more projects including the largest of all for $255 million for a tourist attraction downtown.

The grand total for Holden’s tax plan/bond issue is $887,504,330.    In the plan shared with the taxpayers, as you can see, there is NO mention of bidding, percentages or fees to be paid. 

Why?

Let’s recap.  You are being asked to take on a 30-year loan in the amount of $887 million without all of the fee and contract details.  Are you willing to be a party to signing a note of that magnitude without the fine print?

Maybe they hope you are willing to blindly say yes?

This is government spending and politics as usual, once again, in its truest form.  It really isn’t really important.  It’s just your tax dollars. 

Or is it important to you?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

$28 Billion Decision in 1 Hour? Sunday, Jun 28 2009 

 timeandmoney

What took place in the final hour of last week’s 2009 Louisiana Regular Legislative Session was insane at best.  Who on earth would sign a $28 billion budget in less than an hour?   

The money in the capital outlay budget is, simply put,  yours – tax dollars from your hard-earned money. 

How someone spends other people’s money is very telling.

When private citizens misuse their employer’s finances, they are charged with various crimes, required to pay restitution and/or serve prison time.  Yet, legislators get a free pass should they mishandle state funds. 

Even if they break a promise they made to their employer – you.  Instead of ‘doing more with less’ as legislators promised to do, they spent $28 billion of their employer’s money.

We can’t undo what our elected officials have done, but can only hope that we live long enough to witness prudence in legislative spending one day.

Let’s see how much funding landed in the Red Stick coffers.  (Monies for facilities located in the parish that are state-specific are not included in the list below.  They include facilities such as:  LSU, Southern, DOTD, CRT, Homeland Security, the Old State Capitol, State of Louisiana Offices or facilities, School for the Deaf, School for the Visually Impaired, airport, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, levees, etc.)

  • $16,000,000 Pennington Biomedical (page 43)
  • $13,500,000 Comite River Diversion Canal (page 28)
  • $6,000,000 19th Judicial Court House (page 123)
  • $5,455,000 La 3030 Road Improvements (page 25)
  • $4,600,000 River Center Expansion, Renovation, Parking (page 80)
  • $4,000,000 Capitol City Family Health Center (page 112)
  • $4,000,000 Pecue Lane / I-10 Exchange (page 26)
  • $4,000,000 I-12 to O’Neal Lane Widening (page 27)
  • $3,000,000 Baker Fire Station (page 79)
  • $2,600,000 Office of Homeland Security (page 17)
  • $2,275,000 Zachary Sewer Programs (page 108)
  • $1,440,000 Black History Museum & Cultural Center (page 119)
  • $1,400,000 Baseball Stadium Improvements (page 80)
  • $1,325,000 BREC’s Anna T. Jordan Site & Facility (page 114)
  • $1,160,000 BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center (page 114)
  • $1,000,000 Stumberg Lane to Jefferson & Airline (page 80)
  • $1,000,000 Athletic Education & Band Center (page 125)
  • $875,000 BREC Children’s Museum (page 114)
  • $850,000 YMCA North Baton Rouge (page 113)
  • $700,000 Old Goodwood Sewer Improvements (page 80)
  • $600,000 Hooper Road Sewer Improvements (page 79)
  • $400,000 USDA Biological Facility (page 129)
  • $310,000 Fire Marshall (page 32)
  • $300,000 LASC (page 14)
  • $250,000 CASA Facility (page 116)
  • $200,000 Hwy 19 Lane Improvements (page 16)
  • $198,361 Visitor Signage (page 80)
  • $190,000 Crime Lab Expansion (page 34)
  • $155,000 McKinley High (page 112)
  • $140,000 Annison Plantation Renovation (page 108)
  • $100,000 Central Administration Building (page 108)
  • $100,000 BREC’s Rollins Road Park Basketball Court Cover (page 114)
  • $90,000 Progress 63 Senior, Veteran, Tutoring Center (page 132)
  • $75,000 Stanford Avenue Sidewalk Widening (page 80)
  • $75,000 Pride Fire Station (page 80)
  • $50,000 BREC’s Pete Goldsby Renovations (page 114)
  • $50,000 Habitat for Humanity Metro Aire Shopping Ctr (page 120)

This list along is roughly $78.4 million for the Red Stick, but The Advocate shows more which may be buried in the budget.  It is true that earmarks were the order of the day on the final day of the legislative session, and East Baton Rouge Parish was no exception.

Where does it stop? 

Do you know anyone who can continue to dip into their Rainy Day Fund and not eventually run out of money?  Is there anyone you currently know that has not made some form of cutbacks to their budget?

I do.  They are our legislators. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Red Stick Unemployment Lines Growing Thursday, May 21 2009 

Updates!

  • Sunland Pipe, a Shaw Group company, laid off about 40 workers.  Last month they laid off 200 in North Louisiana.  Shaw claims this is due to the downturn in fabrication work. 
  • 100 contract maintenance workers at the Georgia Gulf plant have been laid off.  Reports indicate they are employed by Turner Industries as maintenance personnel. 

unemployment

Despite Mayor-President Kip Holden’s hyperbole claiming the Red Stick has been immune to the recession, news reports continue to prove otherwise.  Recent announcements were made that hundreds of jobs in the Red Stick are vanishing before our very eyes, and thousands of employees will feel the pinch of the cost of living while their paychecks shrink. 

It’s the tip of the iceberg since the news only reports on large employers or ‘newsworthy’ companies.  (No offense intended to every business that has closed or individual who has been laid off.) 

Capitol One Bank announced yesterday that approximately 22% of their work force, 180 employees, will be cut over the next few months.  

Chrysler and General Motor dealers in the Red Stick still await their fate, as do employees that earn in excess of $21 hourly.  According to Louisiana State Treasurer, John Kennedy, dealership losses are expected to deliver a blow of up to $350 million with a loss of up to $50 million in state taxes.  Dealers are being notified via mail.

Though Trinity Marine is located in Brusly, many employees travel from the Greater Baton Rouge area to work at the barge manufacturer.  Over 190 employees are expected to lose their jobs in the immediate future according to reports earlier this week.

The Red Stick’s pride and joy, Pennington Biomedical, chose the higher road by announcing no pay raises for 452 employees vs layoffs.  This could be a temporary measure, however, since Pennington receives significant funding from the troubled treasure chest of the state of Louisiana. 

The Advocate took the lower road by announcing that approximately 10% of their staff, 49 employees, will learn their fate  today when they receive their dismissal papers.

In June, Louisiana Civil Service will make a decision as to whether merit increases are eliminated in lieu of state worker layoffs.  This move stands to significantly affect Red Stick workers as agencies are headquartered in the capitol city.

Southern University, based in the Red Stick, is discussing layoffs and one-day-a-month unpaid furloughs for university employees.  LSU is in the news daily, discussing major cuts in personnel and services.

There are far too many stories in the naked city.  Troubling times.  Budget cuts.  Benefit costs being passed on to employees.  Unpaid furloughs.  Businesses shutting down.  Enough facts to challenge the ‘Baton Rouge has survived the recession without a blemish’ to say the least.

The problem with politicians like Mayor-President Kip Holden is that they cannot comprehend budget cuts.  Spendthrift is primary in Holden’s vocabulary evidenced by his plan to raise taxes on voters this fall.  It’s always easier to spend someone else’s money.  Business owners, on the other hand, are more in tune with strict budgets, the cost of doing business, and less than bottomless funding scenarios.

Loren Scott has continuously told us that the Red Stick is in good financial shape.  Now, he claims the third quarter predictions are grim for the parish.  I’m glad he is taking a peek into the real world the rest of us are already living in today.

What can we do?  Buckle down folks.  Shop mindfully.  Spend wisely.  Squeeze whatever you can into savings.  Take it on as a challenge. 

Reach out.  Share the fruit of your labors with those less fortunate.  These are the times that make us stronger and better. 

Let’s not do as the politicians, and bury our heads in the sand.  We can remain positive, cautiously.  This too shall pass.  And, if it doesn’t, let’s demand that elected officials cut the necessary fat, not raise taxes, and join the rest of us in working towards a sounder financial future in the Red Stick.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

My Christmas Gifts to EBRP Leadership Sunday, Dec 21 2008 

christmas-giftsMerry Christmas

Christmas is a time set aside for family, celebrating the birth of Christ, and gift giving.  While visions of sugarplums seem to have danced in the heads of our leadership over the past 12 months, I would offer more substantial holiday gifts for 2009 to our leaders including the gifts of wisdom, insight, and sound judgement.  

Sometimes the best gifts come in forms we least expect:

  • Due Diligence – the care a reasonable person should take before entering into agreements and transactions

Mayor-President Kip Holden and some community leaders were pushing EBRP voters to buy-in to the largest bond issue in the history of our parish in the fall election.  Meanwhile, the largest financial crisis in our economy since the Great Depression was quickly chasing us like a thief in the night.  Had our leadership done a proper Due Diligence perhaps they would have had insight as to the looming failure of  any taxpayer choosing to take on more debt in times that require cutting back, not increased spending.   May our leaders pursue the critical research before embarking on ventures in EBR Parish in 2009.

  • Sages – profound philosophers with wisdom and sound judgement

If our leaders need anything, it is wisdom and sound judgement.  This can be easily obtained from sages that research and have the insight to foresee the past, present and future.  In an economy that is requiring that every family tighten their belts, why should city government be any different?  Governor Bobby Jindal just announced a statewide shortfall along with potential cutbacks.  Perhaps if EBRP leaders would tune in to sages that are more realistic, they would understand that downtown is only one part of our great parish.  While focusing on downtown hotels, parking lots and long-shot attractions, the citizens are crying out for tighter reins on tax dollars, not excessive spending.  If leaders had listened to some of the sages, they would have removed these components and passed a bond issue addressing the true needs, not perks of the parish.  May our leaders search for all the sages of our parish to provide insight and planning that will change the entire parish for 2009.

  • Principle of the ‘Wii’ – Nintendo’s genius creation that targets a broader audience than any other similar system.

EBRP leaders often have tunnel vision.  A lesson is to be taken from Nintendo via their incredible product that has taken consumers by storm.  Wii detects movement in three dimensions and focuses on a new form of player interaction.  Bingo!  Interaction of all the key players is a component that city parish government desperately needs to consider.  When you only include the top layer in decision making you are destined for tragic outcomes.  It is imperative that all players interact and become key components of any costly project under consideration.  If our leaders would take this gift and implement these principles, they would find more support on all levels.  May we mirror the success of reaching a broader audience with hands-on interaction by all citizens of EBR Parish for 2009.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Jindal Charting His Legacy Monday, Jun 30 2008 

 

 Thankfully Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed the excessive legislative pay raise today!  After the announcement this morning, I noticed something extremely interesting:  voters were glad, but still expressed reservations about what kind of statement Jindal was making.  This made me think, which is dangerous.

There is a question I have to ask.  Is Jindal our Whiz Kid or our Hero?  What legacy is he trying to leave as governor of our great state?

Whiz Kid?  A whiz kid is defined as a young person who is exceptionally intelligent, innovatively clever, or precociously successful.  This was the nickname given to Jindal by former governor Mike Foster.  There is no doubt Jindal is intelligent and successful.  He has catapulted himself to success quickly rising through the ranks of political circles to become one of the youngest governors of the state of Louisiana.  He attempted to be clever in handling the potential veto, but didn’t accomplish his initial goal which was to have legislators decline a pay raise or to ask him to veto the bill.  He wasn’t such a Whiz Kid in the current scenario.

Hero?  By definition, a hero is someone with great strength or courage with a nobility of purpose.  I cannot call Jindal a hero because he apparently vetoed the bill only to save his own political future.  Sure, he spoke against the pay raise, but chose to wait until the eleventh hour to make the right decision.  In his speech Jindal never said what we wanted him to say:  “The people have spoken and we serve the people.”  Instead he said the pay raise was not in line with ethics reform.  The real pain came for the voters when he waited so long to veto the bill.  No hero here.  Or is there?

Governor Bobby Jindal has operated his entire career as ‘the hero’.  He seems to thrive on ‘coming to the rescue.’  Unfortunately, he misses a key component.  Heroes act quickly.  By the time Jindal often arrives, the injured is in pretty bad shape.  Even mythical heroes act quickly (examples:  Superman, Batman) 

Heroes also inspire, win battles against all odds, are leaders, set examples and are the pacesetters.  They come in all shapes, ages and colors. 

Political heroes include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses Grant, and Thomas Jefferson.  Inventors are heroes.  They are the likes of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell and Eli Whitney.  Heroes are creative, powerful, persuasive individuals that make their mark in history.  The list is endless from Rosa Parks to Albert Einstein and from Sam Walton to Bill Gates.  People listen to heroes, they emulate them, and they know them by the intensive passion to fight for what is right and good and true.  They apparently do not make decisions based on political futures, but on the matter at hand. 

So, at the end of the day, what is most troubling about Governor Bobby Jindal are the weeks of delay that he spent toiling over a decision to veto or not veto an unacceptable pay raise.  We are so very glad he chose the better part; however, we are perplexed to figure out whether he truly is a Whiz Kid or just longs to be a hero for the people.  If he is choosing to be a hero, then we need him to act quicker, firmer and with more resolve in the future than he has in the past.

Jindal is charting his political legacy each day.  Let’s hope he learns from the past and makes decisions that leave a legacy both he and the voters can be proud of for years to come.  Our legacy depends on it.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Political Freakonomics Wednesday, May 21 2008 

Which is more dangerous, a politician or a contributor?  No, that’s not a question in Levitt’s Freakonomics book, but it might as well be since his principles definitely apply to the political world.

Steven Levitt, an economist, and Stephen Dubner, a writer and journalist, came together last year to write the best-seller Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.  The book is a must read.

Levitt makes you think.  Hard.  His approach is a somewhat complex, but simple theory that reveals the domino effect behind many events.  While exploring hidden explanations, the authors ask ‘unasked questions’.  After all, it’s not always the questions we ask, but the questions we do not ask that matter.  A good detective asks the right questions. 

I am intrigued by Levitt’s insight on incentives.  He asks how do people get what they need or want when others need or want the same things.  This is a key concept in politics.  Thus Political Freakonomics is born, at least for me.

For instance:  Kip Holden was elected as Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish.  Holden and others go to elaborate detail explaining how he won.  Like all political campaigns, theories abound and the non-participants take credit.  (I define non-participants as the disillusioned individuals who choose to live in denial by believing they were the tipping point in an election.)  There is almost always a little truth in what we believe.  But if we press forward, and ask the right questions, we might be surprised at what is uncovered.

Holden wants us to believe he was elected mayor because he has crossover appeal and presented a message that crossed racial, gender and age barriers.  The political freakonomics question is:  WHO was behind the election of Kip Holden?  The answer is simple.  Baton Rouge Next, and some extremely talented political consultants that made a firm decision to remove former mayor Bobby Simpson from office.  They created a campaign called “Anybody But Bobby” and an aggressive political campaign to unseat him.  The field was broad and as it narrowed, Holden won the support of BR Next and became our mayor.

Now that’s what I call Political Freakonomics!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

New Leadership: EBR Parish Home Invasions Monday, Apr 14 2008 

East Baton Rouge Parish home invasions are so high that it reached the pinnacles of the state capitol which caused the Louisiana Legislature last week to vote 100 to 0 for a new law which will mandate a 10 year prison term under House Bill 96

This sentence applies when the victim is under the age of 12, over the age of 65, or is disabled.  Kudos to State Representative Bodi White of Central, East Baton Rouge Parish, for passing this law in the House of Representatives!

East Baton Rouge Parish desperately needs new leadership to address our growing crime issues.  Last week The Advocate reported a home invasion on Glenda Drive (just off Florida Blvd. and Sherwood Blvd) where men invaded, beat and kidnapped someone.  Later these same men went to North Baton Rouge and ransacked a residence on Monroe Street.  

It’s no longer ‘the areas we do not live in’  that we must be concerned about.  Mayor-President Kip Holden’s next-door neighbor was murdered in his driveway just last year.  Two innocent teenagers were shot during the 4th of July event downtown.  An out-of-town man was shot near Airport Road after leaving church and driving to his hotel. 

It’s time that someone does more than threaten on the nightly news what will happen to criminals.  With all due respect to our officials, it is not comforting to citizens of EBRP to hear ‘strap it on’ by our police chief, the sheriff saying ‘we’re coming’ or the Mayor-President saying ‘we have a zero tolerance policy.’

Maybe Bodi White should run for Mayor-President of EBR Parish?  Seems he can get things done!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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