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

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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

Dan Claitor: The Invisible Man Tuesday, Apr 7 2009 

invisible-man

H. G. Wells wrote the science fiction thriller, The Invisible Man, a novel that might aptly describe the newly elected Senator of District 16, Dan Claitor.  

In our lifetime, we may never witness a newly elected Senator who is as barely mentioned in a barage of news articles and blogs by political pundits as Dan Claitor.  Is this the same group that convinced the voters Claitor was the ‘best candidate’?

I suppose it would be funny if it weren’t such a sad commentary of what really happened in the District 16 race.  A pitiful legacy at best, for a district that was previously held in high esteem by the election of former Senators Bill Cassidy and Jay Dardenne. 

It does beg the question, and the answer is simple. 

Claitor was not really the choice candidate.  With all due respect, I am sure Claitor thought he won of his own accord – because he had some brilliant plan for District 16.  So brilliant that no one is mentioning it whatsoever!

Instead, Claitor is learning what Louisiana politics is all about – much ado about nothing more than a group of egotistical political operatives that wanted him anyone to help them control the voters.  And that they did!

Don’t believe me?  Irrespective of Claitor, there is a growing list of articles and blogs about everyone but the new Senator.  Less than 3 days after the election, NOT ONE ARTICLE even mentions Claitor being the best candidate or anything he plans to do on behalf of the voters who were led to the voting booth like sheep to a slaughter. 

Instead, the pundits have tipped their hands as the voting booths are being audited, proving they had their own agenda.  What does this equate to for Louisiana?  Politics as usual, according the message being resounded across our good state and in the Red Stick:

  • The Advocate has authored 3 articles since Saturday with absolutely NO mention of Claitor’s plans as a new Senator. 
  • The Times Picayune’s article also fails to mention any thrust that Claitor might have as Senator and embarrassingly mentions his name only 5 times in an article where Governor Jindal’s name is listed 11 times and Lee Domingue is mentioned 12 times.  (Both men are given twice the recognition as Claitor.)  Rolfe McCollister, publisher of the BR Business Report, got the same billing as Claitor with 5 name mentions. 
  • Freelance writer, Jeremy Alford, wrote an article picked up by the Daily Report in which the only mention of Claitor’s future as a Senator is that he best ‘hit the ground running’
  • Columnist Stephen Sabludowsky wrote an article on the Senate District 16 race and does not even mention Dan Claitor’s name, making him truly invisible as a new Senator.
  • Clancy DuBos, political analyst and editor of The Gambit,  talks more about bloggers, McCollister, Jindal and Domingue than Claitor, and once again, makes no mention of anything that the Senator will do once he is sworn in to the Louisiana Legislature.
  • The Daily Advertiser also wrote more about every other player in the Senate District 16 race than about Dan Claitor.  No mention there about what Claitor plans to do once in office.

 

The Invisible Man’s legacy has begun, and his name is . . . uh, I already forgot! 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

District 16 Red Stick Lessons Sunday, Apr 5 2009 

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I’ve never been one to keep my opinion to myself.  Therefore, I would be remiss if I didn’t say I was disappointed in Saturday’s election of Dan Claitor to the Louisiana Senate District 16 seat.  It was no secret that I thought Lee Domingue was the best candidate for the job. 

There are so many great lessons to learn from life, and the Senate District 16 race is no exception:

  • Don’t make any donations to political campaigns, or for the betterment of Louisiana:  (Domingue donated to Jindal’s campaign and ‘Believe in Louisiana’.)  If you plan to run for office, just don’t contribute any money towards the good of Louisiana, else it will be used against you.
  • Don’t give endorsements in a political campaignIf you do endorse a candidate, be prepared to receiving scathing attacks from reporters and bloggers, as they will assume you have an agenda like they do.   (Both Governor Bobby Jindal and BR Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister experienced this scenario because they endorsed Domingue.) 
  • Don’t do business with any rich families in the Red StickIf you do, and dare cross the rich and powerful, (Paula Pennington de la Bretonne, et al) you will find your personal story on the front page of the local newspaper for everyone in the Red Stick to read. 
  • The Advocate’s original code of ethics has been defiled:  The Advocate has a creed, as set forth by Charles Manship, to create a newspaper with high standards of ethical behavior.  Journalists, like Marsha Shuler, have defiled ethics by reporting news based on her personal beliefs in a biased manner.  The Advocate is not a blog or forum for personal agendas, and news stories are a vast difference from the Opinion page of a newspaper.
  • Pundits will change their tune after you are elected:  Jindal was the most beloved candidate for Governor by all the political pundits and journalists while a candidate.  These same pundits, once the money train stopped, crossed to the other side in a media frenzy to attack Jindal.  No doubt, Claitor, will enjoy this privilege in due time from these same pundits.
  • Negative campaigning is still beloved in the Red Stick:  The pundit’s negative spin is more important than the positive issues that may affect voters in any given district.  This was proven by the fact that sensationalism reporting and character assassination was given precedence over critical issues that affect Senate District 16. 
  • Hide any facts about yourself if you are a candidate, but expose your opponent’s full history:  This includes your personal wealth, your background and work history, and business dealings.  (Domingue’s personal life history was used against him, even though he laid his life open on his website and in a book he authored.  But Claitor’s personal financial history and work history was hidden from public view.)

Dan Claitor worked very deceptively behind the scenes to win this senate seat.  He also lied on the radio claiming I was working for the Domingue campaign.  I do not know either candidate and did not and will not receive any monies directly or indirectly from any candidate or their representatives in this race.  That’s more than I can say for other political websites.  Claitor has made it obvious he is a character assassin.  No doubt he will continue this character trait for years to come.  We are, after all, creatures of habit.

 

Perhaps congratulations are in order to the voters for electing the to District 16?  You have just elected a liar, and a man that worked the system like old-line politicians who, for years, have used others to do their dirty work.  I suppose that is the greatest lesson of all – and the saddest one:  that the legacy of Edwin W. Edwards is still alive and well and flowing through the veins of the very pundits that claim they want change for our state.  

 

Until next time,

 

Red Stick Republican

Lee Domingue: The Right Choice Monday, Mar 30 2009 

Update:  It took the clock to countdown to less than 72 hours of the election for The Advocate to FINALLY do ONE article that gave the candidates of Senate District 16 an opportunity to speak on a legislative issue.  The question to the candidates was in regard to whether or not welfare and food stamp recipients should be drug tested.  Both candidates felt the legislation had merit, but had caveats. Unfortunately, there are virtually NO voters in this particular district that are on welfare.  Even so, The Advocate MISSED THE MARK by not discussing REAL issues for District 16.  Why?  

lee-domingue_vu_t290

When I chose to write about the Senate District 16 race, it was because of a gut feeling.  As the campaign took flight, I saw the obvious injustices being done against one of the candidates.  This strengthened my resolve to continue to research and report the facts.

Lee Domingue is, obviously, a man who is committed to his family, his faith, his career, his community and our state.   This is something no one can argue against.

Domingue has put his money where his mouth is and stepped up to the plate to support the belief that Louisiana, and all that we hold dear, is worth fighting for right now

Yes, Domingue gave contributions to Jindal in his run for governor.  Of course, the pundits fail to mention that Jindal received more individual contributions than any previous gubernatorial candidate in the history of Louisiana.   Jindal has also been targeted, for his endorsement of Domingue.

Domingue also contributed to “Believe in Louisiana“, an organization formed to break from our past and bring ethics reform to our state, one step at a time.  It’s a process.  We didn’t get here overnight, and it will take time for change to come to fruition.  The organization is chaired by Rolfe McCollister, Jr., publisher of the Business Report, who has taken scathing attacks for supporting Domingue.  Four men in our state donated $100,000 each to BIL:  Boysie Bollinger, Joe Canizaro, Edward Diefenthal, and Lee Domingue.  They joined other business leaders from across the state who gave in excess of $10,000, and retirees and housewives that gave $100 each. 

Lee Domingue is the founder of Cyrus International, an organization that reaches out to those oppressed by human trafficking, the hungry, and orphans.  He and his family attend Healing Place Church, and he also authored a book, Pearls of the King,  laying his past open for inspection, for all to read. 

When an heiress and her attorney felt scorned in a decade-old business deal, and rumors abounded, Domingue put the documentation on his campaign website and spoke openly to the media to clarify the details.  Nothing was hidden by him.  Nevertheless, apparent bitterness on the part of the other parties have taken over their lives to the point that they felt it necessary to work in cooperation with Marsha Shuler, a reporter at The Advocate, to make this front page news.

Meanwhile, nothing negative has been revealed about the other candidate, Dan Claitor, by The Advocate.  

Neither has the newspaper addressed important issues, as they have in every other campaign they have covered in our community and state. 

Did you know that in the archives of The Advocate, Marsha Shuler has written only 27 articles with the words “ethics reform” in over 13 years?  (Dating back to Governor Buddy Roemer’s administration)

But in 4 months, Shular has written 18 articles about the District 16 Senate race, with 15 targeting Domingue.  These are the statistics I stand on when I write about Lee Domingue.

For all of us, it begs the question.  What are they really saying to us? 

What’s really wrong with Lee Domingue?  His faith in God?  His commitment to his family?  His membership at Healing Place Church?  His contributions to support the Governor?  His contributions to ‘Believe in Louisiana’?  His business that employs Louisiana workers?  His willingness to author a book on his past and the effect faith has had on his life?  His openness in discussing a decade-old business deal that the other party is unhappy with?  His transparency?  His honesty?

Gee, aren’t these the very things we have begged for in a candidate?  Have I not read and heard since Edwards went to prison how badly we need reform and candidates that will lay their public and private lives, and business dealings open to the public? 

How much better does it get, folks?

There are times, like these, in life that you just know that you know, regardless of media spin or political operatives, that a man is the right man for the job.  I see no real criticism that has a foot to stand on here. 

What I do see is a man that has given us hope, that with the right kind of impetus, we too can live the American Dream, stand on our faith, be transparent to each other, and believe in and work toward a better day in Louisiana.

When you go to the polls on Saturday, make the right choice, and pull the lever for a man who has given us the full transparency we have longed for in politics.  That man is Lee Domingue.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Dan Claitor: Dr. Phil, please help me! Tuesday, Mar 24 2009 

Update:  The Advocate has finally revealed statistics on Dan Claitor’s legal work including the fact that he does practice as a personal injury attorney and has handled 66 criminal court cases.  They fail to mention the full array of clients he has represented, including murderers.  Nevertheless, they do finally acknowledge, in effect, that he is a trial attorney. 

 dr_phil

Today’s Dr. Phil show focuses on internal negative dialogue that prevents us from facing the real truth about ourselves.  Grab some popcorn, sit back, relax and learn!

Dr. Phil:  Today, my guest is Dan Claitor, candidate for senate District 16.  I received a call from some of Dan’s friends and family members who are concerned about the confusion he has created and today we hope to get to the bottom of it so Dan can focus on the truth.  When we face the truth, we eliminate the confusion in our minds and the minds of others.  Welcome, Dan!

Dan Claitor:  Hello, Dr. Phil.  (rolls his eyes)

Dr. Phil:  Dan, there is no doubt about it – you have been sending some mixed messages, and people are concerned.  First you said you were an assistant district attorney, then a prosecuting attorney, then a business attorney, and now you claim you are a maritime attorney.  You ran for district attorney and a few months later you decided you wanted to be a senator.  Isn’t this correct?

Dan Claitor:  No response

Dr. Phil:  Dan, I can’t help you if you don’t cooperate.  Aren’t these facts true?

Dan Claitor:  Yes

Dr. Phil:  Dan, today I have invited a few of your former law partners to help us sort this out.  Everyone, please welcome personal injury and trial attorneys, Greg Murphy and Chandler Loupe. 

Audience:  (applauds)

Dr. Phil:  Now, Greg and Chandler have agreed to help Dan figure out who he really is today.  In order to accomplish this, we need to take a short walk down memory lane.  Let’s start with Chandler.  Chandler, would you please explain to us your relationship with Dan.

Chandler Loupe:  I am a personal injury attorney, and Dan was my former law partner, along with Greg.  I now have my own firm and specialize in wrongful death, chemical exposure and other typical trial attorney cases.  Right Greg?

Greg Murphy:  That’s right Chandler.  Dr. Phil, I am also a personal injury attorney and one of my specialties are maritime accidents.  We were all three partners, but now I have a new partner and firm.  Perhaps this is why Dan lists maritime law?

Dan Claitor:  I am not a trial attorney.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, it’s important that you face the truth today.  Denial is not just a river in Egypt, and you can’t move forward if you don’t face the past. 

Dan Claitor:  Can’t you help me out by just talking about Lee Domingue, my opponent.  That seems to keep the focus off of me!

Dr. Phil:  (ignoring that comment)  Now, Dan, according to The Advocate and Times Picayune, you represented numerous cases of a personal injury nature.  These cases include suits you filed, on behalf of your clients, against various law enforcement agencies.  What about the cocaine distribution case where you filed a $750,000 law suit and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court about an illegally obtained search warrant.  Do you remember representing that client? 

Dan Claitor:  Vaguely.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, what about the case where you sued a city in Louisiana claiming that your client deserved more money because the man who assaulted your client was their employee at the time of the incident? 

Dan Claitor:  Vaguely

Dr. Phil:   Dan, do you have any recollection of being a law partner with these two personal injury attorneys?  Do YOU have any memory of being a trial attorney?

Dan Claitor:  Vaguely

Chandler Loupe:  C’mon Dan!

Greg Murphy:  Dan, please!

Dan Claitor:  Yes I remember, but I am running for the high office of Senate in one of the most conservative districts in the state and that part of my life is something I prefer to not face.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, this is why there is so much confusion surrounding your desire to be in politics.  Voters expect politicians to make mistakes, but they are looking for candidates that know who they are and are willing to reveal their background.  Confusion circling your identity is not positive, and today we want to simply help you to face the facts.  The truth will set you free, Dan!

Dan Claitor:  I would rather talk about the other candidate.  I learned, as a prosecutor, to attack others on the witness stand.  I prefer to watch them squirm. 

Dr. Phil:  Dan, we have one more special guest today that might shed some light on your state of denial.  Please welcome East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney, Hillar Moore.

Hillar Moore:  (walks out in baseball jersey and cap while holding a bat)

Dr. Phil:  (laughing)  Hillar, welcome!  Tell the audience why a DA would dress in baseball attire. 

Hillar Moore:  Dr. Phil, thank you for inviting me today.  This is my way of letting Dan know that his attacks against me in the campaign for district attorney didn’t work.  He is very passive-aggressive, and tried to discredit me to the public by making my community service as a baseball coach a reason to not elect me.  It didn’t work, I’m the new DA!

Dan Claitor:  Hillar, let’s not talk about my past, okay?

Dr. Phil:  Dan, that’s why we are here today.  I want to give you some homework!  I want you to write these words, “I was a trial attorney”.  I need you to write them down 5,000 times, and hopefully the truth will sink in your head. 

Dan Claitor:  I can’t do that.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, okay, let’s try this:  just take these contrasting comments you have made over the past year or so, and study them every day for one week, please!  (hands Dan a list that pops up on the large screen)  Dan, this list will help you face your confusion.  For instance, you said you would be ‘tough on crime’ in the last political race you ran, but you represented the likes of drug dealers and drunk drivers.  All I want you to do is to see the confusion in your own mind, and therefore, in the mind of the voters of district 16.

Dan Claitor:  (grabs his cellphone and texts Marsha Shuler at The Advocate)

Dr. Phil:  I’m not sure we made much progress today, but I want my listeners to know that in order for you to serve the people effectively, that you must first serve the truth.  Facing who you are is a good start.  If we can face who we are, we can better express to others who we really are behind our mask.  Go to my website and read more about finding your authentic self and how not to be at odds with your public persona.  Take my authenticity litmus test and become a better you.  I want to thank Dan for at least showing up today and hope he will agree to face his past so he can have a clearer future.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Can You Handle The Truth? Tuesday, Mar 24 2009 

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In the movie, A Few Good Men, we become intimate with the phrase “Code Red”, identified as an unofficial political strategy.  It’s an order given ‘behind the scenes’ that demands a secret that no one is to utter in public. 

Colonel Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson, is confronted in court by a novice who pushes him to the brink until he finally admits he gave the unofficial order when he screams out his confession in the courtroom.  It’s a breaktaking moment

Segue to the Senate District 16 race.  Two good men formerly served in this senate seat, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, and Congressman Bill Cassidy.  Both men were hit hard, and understand what it is like to have a “Code Red” ordered against them.

Dardenne fought a hard race against former chairman of the Louisiana GOP, Mike Francis, and Cassidy battled a horrific campaign against former representative William Daniel.  The gloves came off, and a network of political operatives labored to discredit these two good men.  Dardenne and Cassidy fought back, stood strong for what they believe, and were victorious in the end. 

History may be repeating itself in District 16 for Lee Domingue.  Willing, and even unknowing political operatives, have joined the forces of ‘Colonel Jessup’ to pull off another “Code Red“.  They have even won over a not-so-astute reporter at The Advocate as one of their pawns.

This time the net has been cast further showing The Advocate’s fear of their rival publication, the BR Business Report, and its publisher, as well as the Governor, and Domingue’s campaign staff and finance chair.

“Code Red” calls for silence among peers.  Coffee shops and calls burning up the cellular towers are the only witnesses to the plan of action.  The order is subtle, but the attack is very public. 

When the order is given, they have the false belief that the order will not be figured out easily.  Ego does strange things to men who erroneously believe they are in control.  They grossly underestimate the electorate by assuming they are ignorant. 

For far too long, the voters have become disillusioned with “Code Red” tactics in Louisiana politics.  That is why Bobby Jindal became our governor.  The days of secret meetings and plots to take down candidates died with the conviction of former Governor Edwin Edwards.

Who are the Colonel Jessup’s that ordered this “Code Red”on Domingue?  Think about that for a moment. 

I spoke with a political consultant that told me, “we lead the sheep to the voting booth and tell them what to do – and they follow our orders”.  The misconception of control does strange things to men. 

Interesting theory he had, but that dog won’t hunt anymore.  We live in the information age.  Voters are more savvy than at any time in the history of the United States.  They no longer just listen to the negative spin, evidenced by our last gubernatorial election.  The voters want someone who gives hope, because it is the anchor of our soul. 

If the conspirators of Domingue’s “Code Red” were paraded as witnesses for the prosecution, I can only imagine the veil of secrecy that would inhabit the jury box.  That is, until someone was pushed beyond their brink, like Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men, when he shouted out . . .

“You *&^%$#@ right, I gave the (Code Red) order!”

Can you handle the truth?  I believe you can.  Don’t let a “Code Red” order sway your vote.  Do you really want a trial lawyer – a personal injury attorney to lead District 16? 

Or, do you want someone that sees a brighter future for Louisiana, and speaks to us about hope, promise, and better days ahead – someone who understands what it is like to be knocked down and still stand up for what they believe.

We should all take note when a “Code Red” is ordered, whether it be against Dardenne, Cassidy, or Domingue.  As the Bible states, “Choose this day whom you will serve.”

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Domingue: A Jerusalem Peacemaker Sunday, Mar 22 2009 

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Lee Domingue, candidate for Senate District 16, understands the importance of being a Jerusalem peacemaker.  Domingue serves on the board of directors for the Road to Jerusalem organization, a movement that plays a key role in promoting positive relationships between Gentiles and Jews.  Beth Shalom is an intricate component of Senate District 16.

The Road to Jerusalem is an organization formed by Coach ‘Mac’ Bill McCartney.  Formed as a shoot-off of Promise Keepers, a 5 million man-strong organization of believers dedicated to standing up for their faith and families, they promote unity between Jews and Gentiles. 

Coach Mac, before founding these organizations, brought the University of Colorado football team to the National Championship in 1990, and served alongside his good friend Les Miles. 

Lee Domingue is close to both of these men and also formed the Red Stick support group for Coach Les Miles.

Anyone who understands the commitment and passion to mobilize the body of Christ to partner with the Jewish believer for the salvation of Israel is on the right track. 

The Road to Jerusalem was birthed thanks to Rabbi Robert Solomon of Atlanta, when he confronted leaders at a pastor’s conference attended by 40,000 religious leaders in 1996 with the resounding phrase, “you forgot about us”.

Dr. Raleigh Washington, president and CEO, is planning a tremendous Road to Jerusalem event this summer in Boulder with 3 major focuses including healing the gender divide, focusing on the divide between the oppressed/poor and wealthy, and bringing together Jews and Gentiles. 

Strengthening the relationship between the United States and Israel is critical, and in order for this to happen, like everything, it begins in our own backyard.  We need to all aspire to making the peace of Jerusalem an important aspect of American Society.  Doing so, will make standing up against the injustices of terrorism and incitement against Israel, a reality.

Realizing that Lee Domingue is a key player in the group of men and women who are Jerusalem peacemakers is important.  We need to seek out future leaders that are forward thinking – morally and spiritually.  Understanding the importance of bringing Jews and Gentiles together by pro-Israel candidates are key to the leadership of our community.

Kudos to Domingue for being committed to the peace of Israel and for taking an active role in the leadership of this worthwhile effort.  He is following in the footsteps of the former Senators, Jay Dardenne and Bill Cassidy, from District 16.  Let’s follow their examples.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Pilgrim’s Progress in the Red Stick Thursday, Mar 19 2009 

scandal7

Yesterday was a sad day for journalism in the Red Stick.  We talk about media spin, but what I was looking at on the front page of the newspaper literally took my breath away.  Questions were racing through my mind so fast that my head started to spin. 

I looked around Starbucks and spotted a few heavy hitters and started wondering who had crossed them.  Would they be willing to go public to garner front page news about a ‘he said-she said’ scenario almost a decade ago? 

I doubt it.  Most community leaders would not be interested in using a news publication to bring down someone they agreed to a settlement with eight years ago.  

So, what is really behind this front page breaking news?  After all, the candidate, Lee Domingue, openly addressed it on his website

What is the real message to the readers?  What questions are we to ask?  Is a “substantial amount of money”, defined as $140,000 in the news article, really ‘substantial’ to a $600 million inheritance? 

Why this story now? 

Unfortunately, this ‘news’ story was about as biased as the seam on my pants.  It’s the ongoing saga of a group of individuals who are willing to bet on a trial attorney, Dan Claitor, to represent Senate District 16 vs a Christian businessman, Lee Domingue.  Maybe the word Christian is the rub?  What is really going on here?

Front page news is like grabbing the golden ring for a reporter. 

What really happened?  Did the pressman call and say, “hey, we have some prime space and need someone to come up with a real zinger”?  Did the red sea of the back page part the heavens of the front page open for this reporter? 

The only congratulations that can be given to this reporter, Marsha Shuler, is proving that the local newspaper is now a vehicle for the powerful to send a message to us.

Some might say, “here’s a quarter, call someone who cares”.  We should care, though.  There is a lot more to this story than meets the eye.  Besides, tomorrow the story might be about one of us.  The Advocate isn’t a blog, it’s a newspaper delivered to 100,000 citizens in the Red Stick!  I think I hear Charles Manship rolling over in his grave.

It’s a message to ‘outsiders’ that the Red Stick is still like a ‘small town’. 

I’ve heard that for years, and now I believe them.  It’s part of the reason that we lose our best and brightest.  It’s the narrow kind of thinking that sends a message that we are willing to do whatever it takes to ‘win’ – not counting the cost.  Small minds carrying around big sticks threatening anyone who dares to become a member of the ‘insiders’ who ‘run this town‘.  It’s business as usual in the Red Stick.

It explains so much – not about the man they set out to discredit and ‘shame’ publicly for daring to fail until he can live the American dream.  After all, we know these powerful men and women have never failed, right?  (If you believe that, I have some land to sell you!) 

We won’t be reading stories about their child that may be on drugs, or the employee who gave their all and was let go because they had a bad day.  We won’t be reading about all the ‘less fortunate people’ they took advantage of, will we? 

Of course not. 

In the archives of The Advocate, there is not one story to be found on the front page of the newspaper that has ‘exposed’ a disagreement similar to this one:  A satisfied business transaction that most likely involves a much deeper story that remains to be told.

This is why it took my breath away.  Domingue’s desire to serve the people has become a real comparison to the classic by Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress – except this time, the story is in the Red Stick. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Statistic:  Out of 18 news stories written by this reporter on the Senate District 16 race, 15 articles were written targeting Lee Domingue.  NO articles were written targeting Claitor.  This begs the question as to what the connection is between the reporter and candidate, Dan Claitor or his  political operatives?

What Makes Dan Claitor Tick? Tuesday, Mar 17 2009 

trial-lawyer 

A couple days ago, I wrote a story on what makes Lee Domingue tick.  Today is Dan Claitor’s turn.  Neither candidate received a majority in the primary and will face each other in the Senate District 16 run-off.  Only 749 votes separated the two front runners.

Dan Claitor made his first run for public office in the Red Stick last year for district attorney against Hillar Moore, and announced his decision to run for senate right after Moore was sworn in as DA.

Claitor grew up in the Red Stick working in his formative years at his family’s book store, Claitors.  A graduate in finance, he decided to not pursue a career in that field and chose law.  For nearly 3 years he was an assistant prosecutor in Orleans Parish, leaving to open a private practice in 1990 as a trial lawyer.

A search for Claitor’s name in regard to community involvement did not produce any results to speak of.  Past senators of this district were active in community and/or their church. 

Claitor told The Advocate he spends time in his legal practice and handling the Claitor family assets including real estate and publishing holdings.

Claitor’s campaign finance reports indicate majority contributions from himself, the Claitor family and their holdings and trial attorneys.  Just Follow the money.

One of Claitor’s contributors on his 2/5/09 report includes FAIR, a PAC chaired by Alton Ashy according to the Louisiana Ethics website.  Ashy, a big time lobbyist for the gambling industry, criticized Governor Blanco for calling his donations “dirty gambling money” in an attempt to proclaim the gaming industry is a legitimate business.  Ashy normally works on behalf of Democrats and is closely aligned with the Democratic Party.

According to The Old River Road bloggers, Claitor perfected his art of mud slinging by hiring the same firmthat created the mailer last year exposing Mayor Kip Holden’s alleged affair.  This is evidenced in one of Claitor’s finance reports

Claitor has a passive aggressive approach of attack.  In forums and to the media, he makes ‘suggestions‘ such as when he attacked the Governor regarding his endorsement of Domingue saying it needed to ‘be investigated by the press’

During his run against Hillar Moore, he responded ‘I earned my endorsements’ ‘suggesting‘ his opponent received his otherwise. 

A pattern has developed; we are creatures of habit.  It is befitting for a trial attorney to suggest reasonable doubt.  These patterns reveal Claitor’s mindset, and such actions are far from subtle to the voters.

Claitor told The Advocate “although some folks might consider being a lawyer a bad thing, I think it’s a good thing down at the legislature”.  Claitor defines himself as an attorney, always omitting the fact that he is a trial lawyer.  On google he is listed as a personal injury attorney.

Laurinda Calongne, also went back on her word that she would not endorse, originally saying, “the people of the district have the good sense to evaluate the candidates”.   Days later she chose to endorse Claitor.  Claitor attacked her in the primary for being a lobbyist and for her faith.    Ironically, in an interesting twist, Claitor now embraces Calongne’s endorsement.  Politics make for strange bedfellows.

Claitor opposed rezoning for Acadian Village fearing visitors would park at his property across the street.  Response from council member, Micky Skyring, was that he ‘doubted anyone would walk across busy Acadian Thruway’.   The zoning was approved.

In all fairness, and based on information released about his opponents, it is important to mention that Claitor has had several lawsuits filed against him as well. 

Public records show a $3,000,000 default loan that was allegedly in default according to Chase Bank for the Claitor family including R. G. Claitor’s Realty which lists Dan Claitor as a partner according to the Secretary of State.  The suit was dropped when an agreement was reached to refinance the loan and interest was paid, according to The Advocate. 

Other public records indicate both Claitor and his partners had suits filed against them.  Disposition of the cases are not listed.  Though these plaintiffs may not be from prominent Red Stick families, I am sure they felt their litigation was just as important. 

Candidates are famous for attacking opponent’s records without realizing their own records are open for inspection.  Perhaps Claitor’s strategy is to make his opponent’s records the only transparent ones? 

Only one case is listed in the Times Picayune regarding a case Claitor prosecuted.  A 19 year old perpetrator shot a man twice in the chest and once in the back.  The murderer received only 42 years in prison.  I would have hoped he received life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

I guess what makes Claitor tick is more difficult for me to figure out.  He has served as a trial lawyer and an assistant prosecutor which sends somewhat of a mixed message.  Maybe his passive-aggressive nature is a key to what makes him tick? 

Based on the conservatives that have held the District 16 Senate seat in the past, it begs the question:  Do you really want a trail lawyer to serve as your next senator?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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