The Devil is in the Details Wednesday, Nov 4 2009 

Devil in the Details

 

When small things have larger consequences, we say “the devil is in the details” and this precisely describes Mayor-President Kip Holden’s $901 million tax increase which will cost an additional $814 million in interest.

Holden and his entourage have already proven to be less than trustworthy in being forthcoming with the voters.  Now, it is our job to spend a little more time looking at the facts.

It’s tough to fight city hall when they use diversion tactics to keep the voters away from the facts.  Better late than never, the media finally gave the voters critical information that Holden’s entourage chose to keep private.  They are to be complimented. 

I’m not sure which of the critical details are most important, so I’ll let you decide:

So much misinformation, so little time to check the facts.  Perhaps this is the plan by Holden and his entourage?  Will it work?  Or will the voters take a hard look at raising taxes in troubled financial times and say, enough is enough?

Will the voters be swayed by groups like the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce that receives $500,000 of OUR tax dollars annually from Mayor Holden to play a public relations role by touting economic development?  What about the mirage of financial supporters to Holden’s tax increase that includes a long list of companies and individuals that will benefit from the bond issue?

Why did Holden insist on not disclosing critical information to the voters, much less his own Metro Council?  Will his tactics of attacking those who question the bond issue work as a bait-and-switch agenda to divert voters from the real facts?

I have to totally disagree with insane claims that we can triple tourism because of Alive! being built, or that it will stop the exodus of our young and talented people.  Or, that we will drastically increase events at the River Center because of an expansion and new parking garage.  We expanded it before and saw virtually no increase in events.  

The carrot keeps moving folks!

Discrediting voters and cost-sensitive residents of EBR Parish has been the focus of the entire bond issue CAMPAIGN by Holden and his entourage. 

It won’t work this time. 

The greatest thing that Mayor Holden’s proposed tax increase has accomplished is a dialogue by more EBRP citizens than in the history of the Red Stick.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that the small list of individuals supporting this tax increase has told us in the past that tax increases are not the answer, but responsible government spending is the answer.  What happened to our leaders?  It is stinking thinking to push a tax increase on us and not examine the spending habits of our Mayor.  

Every time these tired leaders want to get our attention and sway us into excessive spending, they use scare tactics and outdated sayings! 

Stop the insanity! 

Years ago we were told the Shaw Center, the rebuilding of hotels, the Casinos, updating the Centroplex, building Catfish Town, and more would save our city and make us a tourist mecca.  Oh, let’s not forget the building of an EMPTY dock on the riverfront.  Pretty to look at, but virtually unused! 

Maybe someone should talk with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne who has done more with less money and increased visitors at the museums under his purvue! 

While you are reading this, Holden’s entourage is working on getting out the vote. 

The only way you can stop this 30-year-tax-and-spend-plan for the Red Stick is to go to the voting booth and pull the lever by sending another message that we will not be bullied into increasing city-parish spending through a NEW tax! 

We cannot tax our way to prosperity, nor become the next greatest city in America by committing to a 30-year tax. 

Revolution is brewing!  Silent majority no more!  Join the Tea Party!  Vote NO to higher taxes, and Beat the Bond!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Are THEY right? Tuesday, Sep 15 2009 

 

spindocpirata

Political consultant, Roy Fletcher, said, “In politics, when you have to make a case that is not believed by the people, you better have a lot of money to make that case, because they don’t believe it in the first place.” 

Fletcher was referring to Mayor Kip Holden’s bond issue, and the fact that the people didn’t believe in it enough to pass it last fall.

Obviously money will continue to be spent on a public relations campaign targeting voters in hopes they will buy into accepting higher taxes.  Where does this money come from, and how can we find out how much is being spent?

George Kennedy, another consultant, tries to make the argument that the bond proposal pays for itself.  This is almost laughable.  If it paid for itself and was ‘free’ as Kennedy claims, we wouldn’t need a tax.  Maybe Holden should hire Kennedy to sell this wacko political spin?   

Who are the Redstick’s watchdogs?  

Not our newspaper.  The Advocate questions Jindal, but not Holden on transparency issues because they have an axe to grind with Jindal.  Everyone knows McCollister, publisher of the Baton Rouge Business Report, served as a finance chair to Jindal.  Cutting into The Advocate’s market share just adds insult to injury.  

The owners of the newspaper have made it clear that if Alive! happens, they will be pleased because it would raise the property value of their former headquarters downtown.  With newspaper sales down, they probably need to sell the building.

BRAC, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and BRAF, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, are not our watchdogs either.  BRAC and BRAF work hand-in-hand and BRAC receives $500,000 annually from Mayor Kip Holden to be the economic development arm for the parish.  They are part of Holden’s entourage.

The same goes for the Downtown Development District.  The DDD receives far too much funding and support from Mayor-President Kip Holden to  speak out against his administration.  In fact, he and Davis Rhorer, executive director, are close allies.  Besides, they have far too much invested in this tax package.

Sometimes it is up to us, the voters, to be the watchdogs. 

We, the voters, have already spoken once on this issue, and our answer was no!  72% of East Baton Rouge Parish voters turned out last fall and voted against a tax increase.  Instead of taking voters at face value, they say that Holden and his entourage have decided to bank on lower turnout to pass the proposal.

Perhaps the coffee shop talk is accurate?  If they know their facts, then funding for the public relations campaign such as Progress Is comes from Holden’s entourage and his political contributors. 

Whether they are correct or not, city-parish government has NO business spending OUR tax dollars building a tourist attraction.  Who came up with this idea? 

Some say the financing of Audubon Alive! makes building a prison more palatable to the average voter.  One thing is for sure, the economic impact figures are highly inflated.  No big surprise, they usually are.

If Alive! is such a great potential moneymaker, let the Audubon Institute raise private funds and add it to their array of facilities. 

By the way, have you checked their financial records lately? 

All of the Audubon Institute facilities combined brought in $10.3 million last year in admissions with only three facilities operated in the black:  the Zoo, the Insectarium, and the Park.  All of these facilities lost money:  IMAX, Aquarium, Wolberg, Research Center, and Survival Centers. 

That includes an annual tax millage totaling $7.2 million.  It’s always good to do your homework.  Trust me, Holden’s public relations package won’t be sharing this kind of information with taxpayers! 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Right To Vote Monday, Aug 10 2009 

 geauxvotecw

Jessie Jackson wroteIn a democracy, there is nothing more fundamental than having the right to vote.  His statement was under the premise that felons should have voting rights reinstated once they’ve paid their debt to society — an argument for another day.

Mayor-President Kip Holden to take away right to vote

Mayor-President Kip Holden, in a major political move,  set out to take away the voting rights of certain registered voters in EBR Parish for his proposed fall tax election.  They are law-abiding citizens who hail from the northern part of our parish including the bedroom communities of Baker, Central and Zachary. 

Ironically, the EBR Sheriff will not vote or be assessed if Holden removes Zachary from the tax proposal.  Life is stranger than fiction.

Councilman Joel Boe’ is under attack by Mayor Kip Holden for daring to disagree with Holden’s plan to disallow voters from the northern part of the parish from voting on the tax.  Are we One Baton Rouge when we exclude Central, Zachary and Baker from the right to vote on a 30-year Red Stick tax initiative? 

Furthermore, what is wrong with a Metro Council, elected by the people and for the people, who are willing to side with this discriminatory mentality and take away the right of their own constituents to vote?  

The game is changing so fast you have to be on your toes to keep up!  Hang with me here as we walk down memory lane . . .

Should we believe that the “38 bridges endangering Red Stick citizen’s safety” was like playing “Russian roulette by not passing the 2008 tax proposal” as Mayor Holden said last fall?  Or that our bridges are no longer in danger because funding was suddenly found to take care of the tab?   

A portion of Holden’s $887 million wish list includes Audubon Alive!  Can EBR Parish support this new venture through tourism?

Last week the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum announced changes due to the lack of traffic and funding by the state.  According to LASM, their attendance is 214,000 annually.  Strictly from a math perspective, this is an average of 586 visitors daily. 

Why is this important?  Because the Mayor’s proposed Audubon Alive! will need three times that annual attendance to survive. 

How will we triple downtown tourism? 

Can someone say ‘Catfish Town’?  For those too young to remember, Catfish Town was a $30 million dream-come-true tourist attraction that opened with a splash on July 4, 1984, and shut down within two years.  It became the home of a management company followed by the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Ten years later, Jazz Enterprises took over Catfish Town, and brought Argosy Gaming to the table with a promise of filling 150,000 sq ft with a retail wonderland of shopping, eateries and entertainment.  15 years later, we have the floating casino, the hotel and their two restaurants, one bar, and a beautiful atrium with occasional events.  The tourist mecca never came to fruition.   

There are lessons here we haven’t learned.  

The proposed building of a new prison is another issue that makes no sense in the bond issue.  I prefer to envision a press conference vs. the nightly murder report with Sheriff Gautreaux saying,

“I’m going to keep my campaign promise and put up tents or temporary buildings.  I don’t need a new office because I am going to spend my time on the streets fighting crime with my fellow deputies. I’m going to show up every morning like all of you do at your own jobs, not just when media opportunities arise.  And at the end of the day, we are going to take back our city and clean up crime across this parish.  Starting right now, there is a no tolerance policy on crime in our parish.  We are going to house all prisoners, feed them P&B sandwiches, and run a chain gang to save the city on clean-up and blight.  If you play, you will pay in our city by serving your time and becoming a productive citizen one way or another.”

I suppose it’s okay to dream and imagine what true leadership would be like?

Now that’s something to get excited about, stand behind and support! When you can do that, then you can talk to me about increasing our taxes.

If you want me to pay, then you have to prove to me that you are doing all you can with what you have already.  That is NOT happening in EBR parish.  We have become lazy.  We expect something for nothing.  Just roll out the tax plan and lead us to the voting booth to pull the lever.  Why?  Because you say so? 

What do we want from leadership?

The idea here is not to pick apart as much as it is to ask the right questions, and to demand fiscal responsibility and real leadership.  Last time I checked, you work for us, the taxpayers – WE are YOUR employers.  Where I work, if you commit insubordination you lose your job in our right-to-work state!  How dare you get angry at a councilman that asks the right questions!  How dare you send out a message to ‘calm the citizens down’!  It is OUR RIGHT to question you and demand your work ethic is beyond reproach!

‘Ahem’!  Now that we have that straight.

ALL voters in our parish have the right to vote in a tax election that will last for 30 years.  Complete details on every aspect of Holden’s tax-and-spend-bond-proposal should be made available to the public — not just a public relations campaign.

Is that too much to ask for?  Where is all of this information?  In the age of technology we do not have the details, but are expected to vote yes to more spending with a paragraph explaining hundreds of millions in expenditures.  They have done their due diligence, right?  Why not share it with the voters who will agree or disagree to pay for it over the next 30 years?

Why do we ask for FULL transparency from Jindal and not require it from Holden?  It does beg the question. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican