EBR Parish Crime Commission Moot Sunday, Feb 5 2012 

Here we go again!  The local East Baton Rouge Crime Commission, according to Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, “is a dead issue” for voters of our parish in the Spring.  More bureaucracy, more delays to address one of the most critical issues of our parish — CRIME!

The Crime Commission includes law enforcement agency heads, the District Attorney, a Metro Council representative and the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ Mayor-President’s office (who originally balked at the idea because it was not his own, claiming he addressed some of the issues in his past tax issues.)

No doubt, we have a huge crime problem in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Residents of the Red Stick have made this a daily conversation at the dinner table, water cooler, twitter, facebook, etc.  It’s a huge concern for anyone living in our parish.

For some time, I have addressed the serious crime issues of our parish, and my personal concern as I watched an escalating problem in the Red Stick.  All you have to do is view the murder rate map at The Advocate to see how serious the murder rate alone has become for our parish.

The EBR Parish Crime Commission has discussed issues many issues such as:

  • Building a new prison at a cost of $165 million — an issue I absolutely do not understand.  When Sheriff Sid Gautreaux was elected, he clearly stated that he would increase the beds and capacity at the current prison through modular housing by aggressively pursuing federal grants.  (The Advocate, September 30, 2007, Sheriff Candidates Differ on Details) This promise has not happened!
  • Creating a new Juvenile Services Facility at a cost of $45 million.  This is an initiative of District Attorney Hillar Moore. 
  • A new/shared Public Safety Headquarters housing the Baton Rouge Police Department and the EBR Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $102 million.
  • Increasing space for a Addiction Treatment Facility at a cost of $2.5 to $5.5 million (a widely proposed cost with no definitive cost).
  • Additional funding for the District Attorney’s Office at $5 million.  This expense also includes ‘other unspecified operation costs for other law enforcement agencies’.  (Costs that should be clarified down to the penny!)

There is a lot of complexity in the facts surrounding these proposed public safety (crime) infrastructure improvements such as land that was purchased by the city parish that has yet to have been used, lease agreements, donated land, money owed to the city parish by some agencies, the precise size of facilities yet to be agreed upon, etc.

Side issues that were also considered:  a Truancy Jail, a Misdemeanor Jail, and taking over the soon-to-be-abandoned Woman’s Hospital as a Public Safety Headquarters.

To add insult to one part of this plan is the fact that Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says that it will take $1 million annually to operate a new Parish Prison, which he does not have in his annual operating budget.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, one of the largest failings of the Crime Commission aka Crime Prevention Committee was to include the Judges that rule the bench and the Legislators from our parish.

We can complain about crime while law enforcement arrests offenders, but it is the Legislators that create the laws governing our parish and the Judges that enforce those laws. 

Until we include everyone that has a say in the laws and sentencing of criminals, we are putting a band-aid on the problem of crime in our parish.

If a perpetrator commits murder, it is up to the laws of the land and the interpretation and enforcement of those laws that really matter.

Judges, the District Attorney and Law Makers are key to carrying out the proper sentences before a perpetrator stands before a Judge and/or Jury.  If the law doesn’t have enough bite, if the DA doesn’t go for the strongest sentence possible, and if the Judge doesn’t rule to keep the perpetrators in jail until and after sentencing, we are wasting our time on the other issues.

I am sorely disappointed that we have yet to find a Mayor-President for this parish that will make public safety the #1 priority.  All of the false campaign promises of a Sheriff that promised to increase housing at the prison and a Mayor that said we will not tolerate crime has worn my patience thin.

All the while, criminals are trolling our city committing horrific crimes on our citizens.  Once arrested, if they are identified, they are bonded out by Judges and allowed to serve menial sentences that put them back on the streets to commit more crime.

Any law enforcement officer worth his salt, will tell you that the majority of perpetrators are repeat offenders.  When will we address the heart of the problem?

It begins with the law and is followed by the Judges that we must hold accountable.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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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

EBRP Metro Council Says NO to Tax Increase Sunday, Aug 14 2011 

Kudos to the East Baton Rouge Metro Council members that voted down Mayor Kip Holden’s $748 million bond issue that would have been funded by increased taxes to citizens of our parish.  This equates to the bond issue not finding a place on the October ballot.

The truth is that this tax proposal should have never been introduced by the Mayor; it was incomplete, did not include the appropriate parties, and was written in secrecy and withheld in its entirety from taxpayers.  The resulting action taken by the Metro Council was, therefore, absolutely correct.

Each Metro Council member was elected under the premise that they would represent the people of their respective districts fairly and honestly.  This can not be done if they do not have full information in a timely manner to make proper decisions that represent us.

In fact, Mayor Kip Holden did not even present the full details of his tax increase to the voters.  While other initiatives of the Mayor’s office are available online at http://www.brgov.com/, the largest expenditure for the taxpayers to date was not available for voters to view.  Once must ask why?

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book in the political world to withhold information in hopes of getting an initiative to slide through with few questions.  Unfortunately, for Mayor Kip Holden, we have elected a Metro Council that was set on doing their due diligence.  Fortunately, this favors the voters vs the politicians, resulting in no current increase in taxes based on a somewhat ‘secret’ proposal.

No, the proposal wasn’t entirely secret; we did know some of the intiatives included, just not enough detail for a bond issue of that magnitude.  Some of the intitiatives were questionable.  For instance, $32 million to expand the River Center.  My personal feelings are that we can continue to build a larger venue; however, we can’t seem to fill the one we have with consistent events. 

$418 million was to be dedicated to infrastructure.  No one can argue that we have let our infrastructure degenerate through the years.  Then again, some would say there are more valid questions as to how dollars have been spent in the past in the City-Parish budget.  What about another ‘pay as you go’ intiative?  It certainly worked for the Green Light Program. 

Only $298 million of the proposed bond issue would have addressed public safety.  This is a major concern for law enforcement, the Metro Council and taxpayers.  Crime continues to be one of the most critical concerns for our parish. 

Awhile back I addressed the huge sums of monies made by those putting together bond proposals.  I believe it was Metro Councilman Ulysses Bones that inquired as to how much the tax plan fully costs.  Hopefully, he and other council members will also address the large amount of fees required to make a bond proposal work.

Even better, there is an initiative by Mayor Pro Tem Mike Walker, and other Metro Council members to work with various City-Parish leaders to put together a more efficient tax package that will address one of the major concerns we are facing in East Baton Rouge Parish:  CRIME.

It will be interesting to see what Walker and others come up with in a revised bond issue .  Until we view their proposal, we can’t speak as to whether it has merit.

Time will tell.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Living in the Land of Pinocchio Friday, Feb 18 2011 

 

I suppose it would not matter if I took a five month or a one year hiatus from blogging, because when I return I will still be reporting that Mayor Kip Holden’s antics of name calling and stretching the truth continues to escalate. 

I liken it to  living in the Land of Pinocchio

Surely everyone knows who that character Pinocchio was, right?  He was a cute sort of guy with a funny nose that was created by a Woodcarver named Geppetto.  He was jovial and outgoing and often appeared at every event in town.  In fact, Pinocchio and Holden have much in common.  The Mayor was “created” by a Rainmaker who wanted to oust former Mayor Bobby Simpson. (Holden was elected during the massive Anybody But Bobby campaign.)

So many similarities.  So little to be proud of in these troubled times.

The Daily Report, a publication of the Baton Rouge Business Report, indicates that our illustrious Mayor Kip Holden is,  once again, attempting to use threats of potential bridge collapses to push through a new proposed tax increase.  

Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe, however, is saying that the Mayor is stretching the truth and using scare tactics to force a new tax on to voters of East Baton Rouge Parish.  Loupe goes on to say that there is money dedicated, or in the budget, to repair all of the bridges with low ratings, and Holden is crying foul with no basis for doing so.

Pinocchio stretched the truth, and his nose grew.    Holden’s face does not offer any obvious tell-tale sign to voters. 

Of course, in his normal fashion, Mayor Holden fired back at yet another council member.  Each time Holden’s attacks get bolder.  This time, Holden specifically is quoted as saying, “Chandler Loupe is an absolute liar”.

Some might say, “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”. 

Holden reminds me of Kanye West, a rapper known for his inability to engage his brain before opening his mouth.  Then again, West did perform a freestyle version of the Pinocchio Story while on tour, espousing that his own personal life lacked depth, and that he needed a simpler life than seeking that of fame and the spotlight.  West said, “I just want to be a real boy.”  A lesson Holden might consider.

Some might ask why I am often so harsh with Holden.  Easily explained.  Too whom much is given, much is required.  Our leaders, especially those elected to serve and protect the people who elected them, should be held to the highest of standards. 

The truth is that I long for the day when I can wake up from this Nightmare on Main Street, where we are pressed on every side by a growing city-parish budget, higher crime than most cities in America will ever experience, and leadership that is more interested in attacking anyone who disagrees or questions him. 

Bodyguards, limousines and verbal attacks have set the tone for Mayor Kip Holden’s reign over East Baton Rouge Parish.   

The Red Stick has begun to mirror its’ leader.    Jiminy Cricket!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

EBRP TIF More Than Meets the Eye Sunday, Jul 11 2010 

Update:  Community Activist, John Berry, has written an excellent Letter to the Editor published by The Advocate that can be read at  here.  Berry documents the progress of the EBRP TIF that is discussed below.  

 

Senator Yvonne Dorsey said, “Every little part of it isn’t in the legislation” when speaking of SB611 

We shouldn’t be surprised. 

When Mayor Kip Holden joined hands with a convicted felon to create a TIF (Tax Increment Funding) plan for the downtown riverfront, red flags went up immediately. 

It was fairly obvious there was more than meets the eye to this legislation.  The legislation passed with Senate votes shown here and House votes here

Downtown Development Director, Davis Rhorer, says, “Clements criminal past should not be an issue.”  

I was not aware that it was common practice to do city business with convicted felons.  Something we learned was acceptable during this TIF project.

Pete Clements, the developer for this TIF project, has a past as revealed by The Advocate.  That past includes a felony conviction for tax invasion.  Felons are forbidden from having business dealings with gaming facilities, and during that debacle, Clements was not allowed to continue a business dealing with a casino. 

It is shocking that Louisiana State Police has not moved in to stop Clements from co-mingling funds with Hollywood Casino to build a proposed underpass.

Baton Rouge casinos are controversial at best.  They not only take away disposable dollars that could be spent elsewhere in our community for the greater good, but take non-disposable dollars from families who have gambling addictions.

This is disturbing at best. 

Now, our Mayor and other community leaders are using public dollars to not only help a convicted felon build a private enterprise, but to make one of our casinos more enticing.

Where does it end?

Senator Dan Claitor may have redeemed himself (with me) by opposing SB 611.  Claitor led the charge against SB611 to create the Economic Development District. 

Unfortunately, Claitor did not carry enough weight to defeat the bill, but did move himself up in the ranks of those who are willing to stand against the powers that be. 

This will cause Claitor grief in his future dealings with EBRP.  Kudos to him for representing the people and not the politics.

Claitor said people do make mistakes and can learn from them.  Perhaps his best quote was, “it is a big leap to ask the public to trust someone with millions of public dollars when a tax invasion conviction is involved.”

Well said!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Central’s Woes Saturday, Jul 3 2010 

UPDATE:  Judge Kay Bates has ruled that CH2MHill is not a public entity, and therefore is not required to provide records in regard to an advertisement placed in The Advocate newspaper.  (Community Press, LLC  vs CH2MHill, Inc.)  Woody Jenkins is the individual behind the law suit that was dismissed.  

Jenkins formerly enjoyed financial profit from CH2MHill advertisements in Community Press, LLC’s publication Central News, and lost revenue when CH2MHill chose another newspaper for the ad in question. 

Note:  *Added statistics on election results!

Additionally, I opened the forum for comments in hopes of receiving factual information from either side of this argument.  Instead I receiving bashing of individuals and ‘he said, she said’ claims.  None of these comments can be considered factual.  If you have proof of any wrongdoing on either side, I recommend you address the judge assigned to this case.   

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”   George Orwell

In five years, the City of Central has incorporated, developed a Master Plan, created its own School District, and elected a Mayor, City Council and Chief of Police.  All of this while standing up to the bully pulpit of Mayor Kip Holden’s massive tax increase and threats to oust the City of Central from East Baton Rouge Parish elections.

Quite impressive.

In recent months, Central’s leadership has come under attack by the editor of the Central City News, Woody Jenkins. 

By all appearances, Jenkins was happy until election time rolled around earlier this year.  Some say Jenkins had another choice for Mayor, however, Mac Watts won his bid for re-election against Jr. Shelton. 

What else is bothering Jenkins?

CH2M Hill was contracted by the City to handle contractual issues and hire the necessary personnel to carry out city services.  Birds were chirping and everyone was happy.  Even Jenkins, since some of CH2M Hill’s money was flowing into the coffers of Central City News evidenced by ads introducing Central City personnel hired to handle services.

The day before an election, CH2M Hill ran a 4-page advertisement in The Advocate explaining building permit fees.  This topic was also a hotly contested election issue between the two Mayorial candidates.

This ignited a firestorm of criticism from Jenkins. 

Post-election, Jenkins made a public records request to determine who was involved in the 4-page advertisement – a costly proposition at best to reach 5,000 readers of The Advocate.  CH2M Hill responded by providing records required, but claimed that information regarding the ad were irrelevant as they are a private company.

Jenkins retaliated again.  And, again.  And again, in his publication as well as in the courts by filing a lawsuit demanding information regarding the advertisement.  He wanted to know if anyone in Central’s leadership played a role in creating, approving or placing the ad in another newspaper.

CH2M Hill stood fast to its position by not discussing the ad due to the fact that they are a privately held company and no money from the City of Central was used to place the ad.

Journalism requires factual reporting, the discipline of verification, and to remain independent monitors of power. 

No matter what side you stand on regarding this issue, one fact remains.  When CH2M Hill was running ads in Jenkins’ publication, all was well.  Until, a costly 4-page advertisement ran in another newspaper.  That ad, some say, initiated the attacks and also may have played a role in Jenkins’ candidate losing the race for Mayor.

That ad didn’t appear to affect the race in my opinion.  Mac Watts went into the election with overwhelming support and always appeared to be the winner. *Watts won the election with 52% of the vote, and his opposition took 48% of the vote. 

I’m a believer in presenting the facts. 

In checking the City of Central records, it appears that CH2M Hill has provided monthly reports of services for the Mayor’s review.  Those reports are reviewed monthly by the City Council.  On a quarterly basis, a synopsis is provided to the residents at Council Meetings.  Additionally, I easily obtained a copy of the work performed by CH2M Hill through my contacts. 

Based on this, there doesn’t appear to be any secrecy on CH2M Hill’s reporting methods.

So, if the services were being performed to everyone’s satisfaction prior to the ad in question being run in The Advocate, and regular reports are provided, what’s the problem?

You figure it out.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican 

More Pieces to the Puzzle Saturday, Apr 17 2010 

Update:  SB611 appears to have two additional amendments.  The first amendment filed by Boudrear calls for no state taxes to be allotted to the proposed economic development district, nor will the state be responsible for any financial supportThe second amendment filed by Delaneys changes the appointment process for the proposed economic development district; rather than the Mayor solely making appointments, other individuals will make some of the appointments including the DDD director, and Legislative representatives from the House and Senate will each make one appointment

 

 

There is nothing worse than trying to put a puzzle together with missing pieces.  More piece to the puzzle of the proposed Downtown Red Stick Economic Development District are being revealed. 

Developer Pete Clements is planning a mixed-use development in downtown Baton Rouge along the batture.  Mayor Kip Holden endorses Clements project.  Senator Yvonne Dorsey introduced legislation to create an economic development district for the project allowing TIF funds to finance the project.

There are no voters in the proposed district, therefore no vote required to implement bond issues.  A Louisiana Senate committee recommended the bill with one caveat — the TIF could only be allowed with the approval of the EBR Metro Council.

The fact that there are no voters living in the proposed district seemed ‘off’, until The Advocate revealed that gaming revenues from Hollywood Casino would be used in the TIF arrangement.  TIF’s allow for bond issues to fund private projects when taxes collected are higher than the amount previously collected.

Pieces of the puzzle were missing last year when Hollywood Casino and developer Pete Clements announced a joint venture to build a $12.5 million underpass. 

  • *No mention was made that Clements was a convicted felon, and Louisiana Gaming Laws require that casino’s not have business dealings with felons. 
  • *Mayor Kip Holden said that tax revenues from the casino would net $10.3 million in proceeds over a 10 year period.  The facts indicate that figure may be higher.
  • *An agreement was made between Mayor Holden and the two Red Stick Casinos, the Belle and Hollywood, to increase boarding fees.  Instead of $2.50 per patron, Hollywood agreed to pay 3.5% on the first $100 million, 4.5% on revenue above that amount, and 2% on revenue below that amount. 
  • The Advocate indicates Holden said, *the increase in boarding percentages would provide an additional $2.7 million in annual revenue.  
  • Former Councilman Wayne “Spider” Carter requested a portion of those funds be allotted to Baker, Zachary and Central, but former *CAO Walter Monsour said the designation of additional funds should be determined based on the EBRP’s budget process.  (So much for that!)
  • *Abstaining from the vote was former Councilman Pat Culbertson and  Councilman Bones Addision.  Former Councilmans Wayne Carter and Byron Sharper voted against the increase based on no designation of how funds would be used.  Other 2009 Metro Council voted yea, and the increase in boarding fees passed.

Now, even more of the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.  Some questions to ask:

  • Was the timing of the refusal to designate additional casino boarding fees by design?
  • Does it matter that River Park Development, owned by Pete Clements, made the *3rd largest contribution ($15,000) to Holden’s failed tax plan?
  • Is it important that the developer, Pete Clements, *declared bankruptcy in 1987 for his business of real estate holdings?
  • How about past projects such as the *Riverfront Dock and the Old  Courthouse Renovation, handled by Clements, were all significantly over budget?
  • Is it important that Clements was the developer of former Clerk of Court Mike Cannon’s satellite office on Coursey that *received criticism by former BRAC leader Bill Little for awarding work without a formal bid process?
  • Does it matter that the *failed Place Vendome fiasco resulted in one of Clement’s convictions for averting funds from the Feds?
  • Has the Louisiana State Police taken a position on a convicted felon entering into a business agreement to mix funds for the development of an underpass to Hollywood Casino?
  • Will the half-acre of wetlands on the edge of the property affect this development?
  • Does the option to receive land by expropriation or (Note: An amendment is currently in legislation to remove the word expropriation) gift in SB611 matter?
  • Is it possible there is a plan to bring back the Alive project under this mixed-use development project under the guise of expropriation or a gift to avert voters?

So many questions, so few answers.

At this week’s Senate Legislative Committee, Senator Dan Claitor almost redeemed himself by questioning the project.  Instead he claimed he felt the river was never given its due.  It didn’t matter that Consultant Mark Drennan claimed to have ‘overlooked’ the fact that casino revenue would play a factor.   

What the?  This project is not about giving the Mississippi River its due, it’s about a plan to divert city-parish and state proceeds from gaming to underwrite a developer’s private project through a TIF fund.

This is about already *declining city-parish tax revenues for East Baton Rouge Parish taking another plunge, all for the sake of a private developer’s project and a Mayor who is dead set to further develop the Riverfront with total disregard for the voters who have already spoken.

I fear there are even more pieces to the puzzle yet to be revealed.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

*All of the above facts were verified in the archives of The Advocate

Old Fashioned Cup of Joe Sunday, Mar 28 2010 

 

Every citizen in East Baton Rouge Parish should read the Metro Council Agenda on a regular basis.  Fifteen minutes with an old-fashioned cup of Joe  perusing the Agenda will provide a better understanding of the inner workings of city government and how our tax dollars are being spent. 

The most current Agenda for March 24, 2010, indicates several points that might raise your eyebrows. 

For instance, the South Wastewater Treatment Plant had a proposed cost of $50,000, but is seeking approval for an increase to $63,450.  Planting trees on Corporate Boulevard from College to Jefferson Highway indicates a cost of $73,130.  $557,621 is on the Agenda for the architectural design of the new EMS facility.  There are adjustments in contracts for varying reasons including weather and an original plan not being accurate.  Did I read that correctly?

These are only a few of the expenditures.  The list is lengthy.

Other Council business includes condemnations of properties, zoning issues, leasing of space, adjudicated properties, etc.  The majority calls for spending tax dollars.

They are also seeking approval for applications of grants including:

  • $1,214,149.94 from the State of Louisiana for federal grant monies available through the Katrina Relief Fund
  • $177,952 for Federal Grant Funds
  • $78,973,970 in grants from the State of Louisiana

Legal settlements from EBR Parish are proposed in the amount of $344,284 to wronged citizens.

Maybe I am missing something.  The spending seems to never end.

There is a $400 million shortfall for the State of Louisiana for our fiscal year ending June 30, 2010.  An additional $1.7 billion shortfall is projected for the State of Louisiana for the upcoming fiscal year.  Yet, we are applying for grants from various departments within state government in the amount of nearly $79 million.  Yes.  $79 million in just one Metro Council Agenda!

Jindal just announced that he expects state agencies to make additional cuts including personnel.  Medicaid cuts are also being considered.  

Update:  To put this into better perspective, The Advocate reports on March 30 the State of Louisiana faces a $3 billion dollar shortfall over the next two years — $3,000,000,000!

Federal hurricane recovery money is dwindling, while we are seeking an additional $1.2 million for East Baton Rouge Parish. 

The bank is busted, yet, EBR still runs to the till in hopes we can make a mad dash with the booty.  Remember Mayor Holden’s proposed bond issue that promised he could convince State Legislators to fund the land revisions necessary for his amusement park to the tune of $40 million?  A small detail Holden and his entourage failed to mention to the voters that became a last-minute issue before the election.

It never seems to end.

Politicians have overspent, over promised and act as though there is an endless checkbook full of money.  Of course, it’s always easier to spend someone else’s money.  Mayor Holden stands firm in this mindset as proven by his continuous spendthrift mentality.

What is wrong with this picture?

Will Mayor-President Kip Holden wake up and smell the coffee?  We can’t afford Starbucks anymore!  Let’s return to the old coffee pot and brew up a plan of action that is more suitable for the citizens in our parish.  We definitely deserve better. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Top 10 Redstick Stories Monday, Dec 21 2009 

Update:  #8 indicates drops in sales tax revenue for East Baton Rouge Parish.  The Advocate released information that sales tax revenues for 2009 decreased by 6%, less than $2.7 million from the previous year.  Will Mayor-President Kip Holden adjust the city-parish budget now, or continue to be a spendthrift?

2009 is coming to a close, and it seems everyone is choosing their Top 10 Stories in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Unfortunately, at least from my perspective, it doesn’t seem that those stories are truly representative of what happened in the Red Stick.  So, I thought I would share my personal take on what impacted us as a community including the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

  1. GOOD:  The swearing-in of new Metro Council members that are actively engaged and more representative of our community.  One example is Councilman Joel Boe’ who defied odds by leading the charge to include the entire parish in Mayor Holden’s proposed bond issue/tax increase.  This resulted in verbal attacks against Boe’ from the Mayor, but won the respect of voters and citizens in the Red Stick. 
  2. BAD:  An apparent escalation in violent crime in the Red Stick is definitely the tip of the iceberg in our community.  As 2009 approaches the same number of murders as 2010, it is painful at best to watch the daily news.  By August 1, murders were already 48% higher than the previous year.  UPDATE:  The Advocate reported a record high for murders in East Baton Rouge Parish of 86 murders (75 in the city limits and 11 outside the city limits) .  What happened to Mayor Holden’s no tolerance for crime in the Red Stick?
  3. UGLY:  Mayor Kip Holden is accused of having an affair, and turns on his alleged accusers by demanding a federal investigation.  After Holden claims he knows who is behind the expose’, he names numerous parties one at a time to no avail in a desperate attempt to put the focus on others.  The only thing Holden accomplishes is showing his character and consistent tendency to attack others.
  4. GOOD:  For the first time that I can remember, more citizens in East Baton Rouge Parish engaged in a proposed bond issue/tax increase.  With standing room only, EBRP Metro Council meetings took on hundreds of voters both for and against the bond issue.  Seeing our community become actively engaged in a critical issue that could have affected our parish over the next 30 years was refreshing and exciting!
  5. BAD:  Learning that Mayor Kip Holden and his entourage withheld critical information from the Metro Council and voters regarding his proposed tax increase/bond issue.  No doubt, it was the kiss of death to an untimely plan to build a “Holden Legacy” that our children would pay for over the next 30 years.  It was a huge blunder to build a campaign with dishonest intentions.
  6. UGLY:  The personal attack on Lee Domingue, candidate for Senate District 16’s beloved seat in the Red Stick.  Domingue laid his past failures open for all to read about in his book Pearls of the King.  His faith was attacked, and so was his church, Healing Place, and Pastor, Dino Rizzo.  To add insult to injury, the Pennington’s power and money reached down to the front page of The Advocate in an attempt to discredit Domingue about a seven-year old business disagreement.  It proved the point that Baton Rouge still has a small town mentality.
  7. GOOD:  Thousands of voters paid a visit to the Louisiana State Capitol to voice their disdain for the national stimulus package.  Made possible by the Red Stick Tea Party, citizens once again made the argument that wasteful government spending must end. 
  8. BAD:   Sales tax revenues continued to drop in the Red Stick resulting in a 4.64 decrease as of October, 2009.  Instead of paying attention to the Mayor and BRAC’s elusive reports of how the economy has not touched the Red Stick, the facts say otherwise.  Though Holden claims services will not be cut, it is inevitable that you cannot experience a reduction in income without a consideration in spending cuts.
  9. UGLY:  In a small downtown office in the Red Stick, a Ponzi scheme was birthed which took hundreds of trusting people to the cleaners.  Today, Stanford is a name that brings even the strongest of our citizens to their knees.  An estimated $8 billion scheme confiscated life savings and retirement funds from a large Baton Rouge contingency. Offshore banks, international funds and prospectus reports that were highly inflated devastated far too many of our Red Stick citizens.  Perhaps it is more proof that when it seems to good to be true, perhaps it is?
  10. GOOD:  LSU baseball Coach Paul Mainieri brought back the gold by clinching the 2009 College World Series title.  Mainieri also was honored as National Coach of the Year and Southeastern Coach of the Year for 2009.  Tiger fans retained the prestigious position of #1 in attendance in the nation, and enjoyed a luxurious new Tiger Box Stadium that rivals the best in the country.

Although life contains the good, the bad and the ugly, it is truly my hope that 2010 will bring more of the good and that we will learn from the bad and ugly of this year. 

Those things considered to be bad or ugly in the Red Stick surround the misuse of power in ethics, moral and criminal behavior.  Anytime someone takes the position that they can exercise power over others with no regard for their life or well-being, suffering is imminent.

The good things in our community were all made possible by the gathering together of citizens that care about our community and were willing to engage in what is important in the Red Stick. 

If we continue to invest in the greater good, surely we will have a fruitful year in 2010. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The EBRP Money Tree Friday, Nov 27 2009 

 

Mayor-President Kip Holden is full of contradictions.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons I question budgetary issues in the Red Stick.  All one has to do is to pay attention, do a small amount of research and compare the endless trail of contradictions.

On one hand the Mayor’s Office released information indicating the fact that East Baton Rouge Parish income has decreased (according to a recent report in The Advocate).  Income from taxes is on the decrease in EBRP.  So much so, that the finance department is closely watching for potential challenges in city-parish spending for 2010.

Meanwhile, Mayor Holden plans to spend more of our tax dollars to lure new airlines to the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.  The increase in city parish spending would include $200,000 in advertisement and a 100% reduction in terminal rent, landing fees (that means free for the airline) for 2 years with an additional 5 cent reduction in fuel costs.  The expenditure was approved by the EBRP Metro Council on November 25th.

Flash back to 2007.  Mayor Holden cut a deal with Frontier Airlines to the tune of $1,000,000.  The promise was that the Red Stick would enjoy 3,000 indirect and 2,000 direct jobs.  As usual, the employment numbers were inflated and Frontier flew into the sunset one year later with $550,000 of our tax dollars.

Either Mayor Holden has a money tree we are not aware of, or he is banking that our tax income will not continue to drop.  If income drops just a couple more percent, city-parish’s budget will be operating in a deficit.

There is also the theory that Mayor Holden is a tax and spend liberal.  I prescribe to this belief.

Michael Acaldo, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul, indicated they served a record number of Thanksgiving meals to the needy in Baton Rouge. 739 vs 600 in past years, making that an all-time 20-year high.

Holiday Helpers normally serves 1,200 meals annually; however, they served 1,500 needy citizens this year — another record-breaking number of hungry families. 

These are specific indicators of the issues facing families in the Red Stick.  While Mayor Holden tries to convince us that the Red Stick has gone unscathed by the U.S. recession, we now have more evidence to indicate the opposite is true. 

It is so important that voters do their homework.  What we are told and the facts are sometimes drastically different. 

Is there a pending financial crisis for the city-parish, or are the coffers flowing to the point we can increase expenditures by nearly a quarter of a million dollars to lure another airline with no guarantees? 

Are families unscathed, or are they working hard to make ends meet?

Phaedrus said, things are not always as they seem, the first appearance deceives many.  The intelligence of few perceives what has been carefully hidden. 

The truth is important, and all we need to do is to look at the facts vs. political double-talk. 

How you spend someone else’s money speaks volumes.  Holden’s actions continue to prove he is spendthrift with our tax dollars.  While we are having record numbers of hungry families in the Greater Baton Rouge area, Holden is continually seeking out ways to increase spending.

Does Mayor-President Holden have an EBRP money tree?  Only if you have it hidden in your pocketbook.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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