Mayor Kip Holden: The Two Faces of Crime Thursday, Feb 21 2013 

Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde_by_Kaym

When I hear Mayor Kip Holden speak on the issue of crime in the Red Stick, I am always unsure what position he will be taking.  Will I be hearing from Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

For those with any form of recall whatsoever, you will clearly remember how Mayor Kip Holden has spent the last 12 months defending the incredible job that the Baton Rouge Police Department has done, led by Police Chief Dwayne White, on working tirelessly to make Baton Rouge a safer city and parish.

All of his opponents in the last mayoral election suffered at the hands of Mr. Hyde/Mayor Kip Holden as they were almost shamed into making crime an issue in the campaign.  Holden was very clear that we were on the right track, and that anyone who even hinted that crime was an issue was simply using it for their own political gain in the election.

Now that the dust has settled from the election of Holden’s third term in office, suddenly our Police Chief Dwayne White has failed.  Publicly shaming him and even going so far as to blame him for the uptick in crime is the order of the day.

The flip-flopping of the political machine called Kip Holden is so incredible and mystifying, that it reminds me of the power that Jim Jones held over his followers that led to 909 followers drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide poisoning.  It was, I believe, the largest mass suicide in history.

Fortunately, the Kool-Aid that Holden has his followers drinking isn’t laced with physical poison — it is, however, a poison that is extremely powerful, as it controls the mind of his followers causing their vision to be skewed like a sailor on the open seas in a thick fog.  It can be just as dangerous and far-reaching as Jones’ Kool-Aid mixture.

Police Chief Dwayne White was in the process of being led to the Town Square for public flogging when he appeared to reach around and grab the cat’o’nine’tails and turn it on his accusers.  I am still studying his remarkable comments and video where he firmly answered each and every charge made against him in a press-ridden public forum.

Fascinating to say the least.

White is surely a man of conviction.  It is no secret to anyone that is acquainted with those in law enforcement, that this line of work is not for the weak of heart.

Men and women who choose to wake up every morning and strap a gun to their hips are a different breed.  They stand on the front lines every day, and take on the criminal element to fight the good fight against evil.  It takes a disciplined mindset to stay fit, remain passionate, and to make a cognizant decision that you are willing to serve and protect knowing your life is on the line every day.  The 21 years of service and grooming that brought White to the position he held as Police Chief were long, arduous and surely challenging.

You don’t garner the rank of Major overnight.  To have overseen the SWAT Team, served his initial years in the BRPD on the streets, and then to move on to LSP to move up in the ranks was no easy task.

The job that Police Chief Dwayne White has done in his tenure was applauded by Mayor Kip Holden (prior to the election last fall) as well as the East Baton Rouge Metro Council, community leaders, and in particular African American pastors and leaders in the Red Stick.

How did we suddenly wake up one morning with the acknowledgement of a ‘crime uptick’ and rumors that White would be fired shortly after the re-election of Holden to his third term?

Why was crime discussions during the mayoral campaign, according to Mayor Kip Holden, a fallacy dreamed up by the likes of those who were seeking the office of Mayor-President ‘only for political gain’?

When did everything suddenly turn around?

How did we go from being ‘on the right track to addressing crime increases’ to the complete failure of the Police Chief in his duties?

These are the questions one must ask Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (also known as Mayor-President Kip Holden)?

White was on the right track according to residents in the 70805 zip code.  For the first time since I left that zip code, I have watched closely and listened carefully to those residing in 70805 as well as those in authority and leadership applaud the efforts and strides that have taken place in this drug-ridden, violent crime area of our city.

BRAVE and other programs were making huge steps forward…there were no steps being taken backward.

Suddenly, the Kool-Aid has appeared.

Please, please, please, I implore you to not drink the concoction being developed in the political laboratory of Mayor Kip Holden and his cronies. Think.  Think back over the past months on the progress that has been made.  Put aside Union thinking, political persuasiveness, and really face the facts that we were taking baby steps and big steps toward a safer city and parish.

For the first time in years, all of our law enforcement agencies were coming together for the greater good in a way I do not recall.  Territorial adversity was not the order of the day.  We were forming coalitions, think-tanks, committees, crime initiatives that pulled all of our law enforcement personnel together to make our city safer.

Don’t be fooled.  You can’t say one thing for 21 months, and then suddenly turn on someone and try to convince everyone that everything you said was no longer true.

We knew, as a community, that we had a serious crime problem.  It is no secret.  The only individual that I am aware of that refused to acknowledge that fact was the political candidate who was seeking a third term as Mayor.  Now, that he has convinced you to re-elect him, he suddenly is saying ‘that is not the way it really was’.

The firing of Police Chief Dwayne White was personal.  The facts are coming out.  White was indeed being micromanaged by the Union, by Mayor Kip Holden via his CAO William Daniel, and he was slowly being led to the slaughterhouse.

We must seek the truth, and no longer accept the lies and misleading of candidates who are more interested in re-election, power and control and support those individuals that were making positive changes in one of the most critical areas of our family’s lives — public safety.

For now, I will continue to stand by former Police Chief Dwayne White and applaud him for his efforts and the strides he made during his tenure as the top in command of the BRPD.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Farrakhan Treated ‘Presidential’ by EBRP Thursday, Oct 25 2012 

Let me begin by stating clearly to everyone, including Mayor Kip Holden and his entourage, that this topic has nothing to do with race, unless you subscribe to, or support the preachings of the proclaimed leader of Islam, Louis Farrakhan.

If you want to understand the recent controversy between Mayor Kip Holden and Mayoral Candidate Mike Walker, you need to do a little fact checking.

  1. Farrakhan’s Security Detail:  Louis Farrakhan travels with his own private security detail.  Anyone, including myself, who has personally heard Farrakhan speak through the years — or has witnessed any video clips of him speaking for that matter, would plainly see that he travels with a full entourage of security. ( In fact, in about 2010, you may recall incidents between Farrakhan’s security detail and the Secret Service detail on the White House lawn.)  He never travels without them. 
  2.  Who is Louis Farrakhan?  The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Louis Farrakhan as the head of the Nation of Islam, with a fundamentally anti-white theology, an anti-semite that blames Jews for plantation slavery and for dominating and controlling the U. S. Government, and calls the state of Israel wicked
  3. What does this have to do with the EBRP Mayor’s Race?  It seems that Farrakhan was ‘shepherded’ from the New Orleans Airport to Southern University with law enforcement from the Baton Rouge Police Department and Louisiana State Police.  This fact upset Mayoral Candidate Mike Walker, who in turn created a commercial saying that Mayor Kip Holden needed to spend money fighting crime in EBRP vs. sending officers to provide security for Farrakhan.
  4. What was the reaction of Kip Holden?  He called a political press conference to charge Mike Walker with sowing seeds of racism.

HOLD THAT THOUGHT.  Back up a minute.  Let’s think about this a second!  Stop Kip’s Tipsy Taxi!   Did I hear that correctly? 

Mayor Kip Holden finally found a way to play the race card, in his usual fashion, which is to counterattack those attacking him.  That’s a desperate political strategy there Kipster! 

Unfortunately, that dog won’t hunt.  The only racist in the triangle is Louis Farrakhan. 

Now, ask me how I know?  Simply put, his own words out of his own mouth through decades of preaching racism.  Many years ago, I even sat in an audience at Southern to hear him speak.  Curious as a young person to hear what this self-proclaimed leader had to say.  It was disappointing and frightening.

Now, back at the ranch, the head of our BR Police Department, Chief White, proclaimed that this ‘shepherding’ (i.e. escorting Farrakhan) to and from the airport was similar to arrangements to protect presidential candidates such as Romney, Gingrich and Clinton in the past.

Whoa!  Stop the presses!  When did Louis Farrakhan rank among the same ranks as presidential candidates? 

C’mon folks; let’s stop the madness!  This was definitely a waste of taxpayer money.  This time Mayoral Candidate Mike Walker definitely got it right.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Kip Holden and Louis Farrakhan Tuesday, Oct 16 2012 

I received this by email today and thought it worthy of passing on….read it and weep!

Kip Holden and Louis Farrakhan

 

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan recently spoke at Southern University and was provided a taxpayer funded BRPD escort from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and back. Additionally, members of the BRPD S.W.A.T team were pulled off the streets and stationed at Southern to provide security for Farrakhan.

Here’s a YouTube video of Farrakhan thanking Kip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO8oqc4MBak

Just who is Louis Farrakhan? Here’s some background information from the Southern Poverty Law Center: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/louis-farrakhan

Does anyone remember the Black Panther’s visit to Baton Rouge in 1970’s when camera man Bob Johnson was brutally attacked, and Baton Rouge residents lived in fear going to downtown Baton Rouge for years, causing many economic and social problems with negative impact to our hometown? This event was sponsored by the Southern University Student Government Association and the Nation of Islam Students.

Why were our tax dollars and BRPD personnel used to escort a man who preaches hate? And why, when we already face a critical shortage of police officers, were police pulled off the streets to provide security for this man? Would we have done the same for other speakers who preach violence and racial hatred on tax-supported college campuses? Would we extend the same courtesty to Christian, Jewish or ideologies? Are we promoting acceptance of Sharia Laws and radiacal Islamic conversions at Southern, and other universities?

Here are 5 things you can do right now to let Kip Holden know this is NOT okay!

1. Email or call Kip Holden’s office. His number is (225) 389-3100 and his email address is mayor@brgov.com.

2. Email the Metro Council. You can email all members using this address: metrocouncil@brgov.com

3. Write a Letter to the Editor. The Advocate: www.theadvocate.com/help/letters

Central Speaks: Email letter to: info@centralspeaks.com

The Zachary Plainsman: Email to: stacy.gill@zacharytoday.com

Central City News/Capitol City News: Email to: centralcitynews@hotmail.com

4. Share the YouTube video on Facebook and let others know about Kip’s use of your tax dollars to chauffer Farrakhan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO8oqc4MBak

5. Cut, paste and forward this email to 10 friends and encourage them to do the same.

Let’s vote carefully and wisely in this upcoming election!

Billy

EBR Republican Connection

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crime and Budget Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The numbers speak volumes. 

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

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

As I began, so shall I end. 

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

EBR Crime Statistics Sunday, Feb 19 2012 

Every 6 months or so, I read with great interest the crime statistics provided by East Baton Rouge Parish via our media outlets.  It’s one thing to say ‘the murder rate is down’; it’s entirely another task to understand the methologies and numbers as they really exist. 

Let’s discuss murders in 2011.  Understanding, of course, that we do not have access to all of the detailed data, we can read the archives of The Advocate and determine what is reported to the taxpayers of EBR Parish.

There are a lot of different statistics to consider: 

  • 81:  On Sunday, February 5, 2012, The Advocate reported there were 81 murders in EBR Parish (incorporated and unincorporated city limits). 

  • 64:  On February 18, 2012, The Advocate reports there were 64 murders in the incorporated city limits of the Red Stick, according to the BR Police Dept. 

  • 17:  Subtracting The Advocate’s report of 64 city murders vs. 81 parish murders equates to only 17 murder in the unincorporated portions of the parish.  (Unfortunately, the murders in the unincorporated sections of EBR Parish are not identified on the EBR Sheriff’s website.  (EBRSO stats are from 2009; a bit out of date guys!)

There are some flaws in the Uniform Crime Reporting as far as tracking crime.  I know this because I read the entire archives of The Advocate for 2011 and found more than 17 murders in the unincorporated portions of our parish. 

Though I do not believe all murders are storied in the daily newspaper, I do think those murders reported are actual.  Unfortunately, we are left to the tracking of law enforcement under the guidelines of Uniform Crime Reporting system which can make a significant determination in the method in which crimes are reported. 

The City of Baton Rouge has 227,818 residents in the city limits with 64 murders; 81 in the Parish.  New Orleans has 343,829 residents in their city limits, and UCR statistics show 105 murders in their city.   They have 66% more residents than we do, and we have 60% of the murders they have.  It puts things into perspective.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker stated last week while announcing his Mayorial intentions that Baton Rouge has crime equal or worst to New Orleans.  Earlier that same day,  Mayor-President Kip Holden stated that serious crimes were on the decline. 

Any way you cut it, we have a crime problem.  Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker recognizes, along with District Attorney Hillar Moore, that crimes are repeated by many of the same offenders. 

On the other hand, the percentage of those commiting the actual murders are often commiting only one murder each.  I certainly do not discount those repeat offenders that commit multiple murders; the numbers are simply smaller. 

Crime does escalate in the eye of a perpetrator.  Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker got it wrong by stating that we need to crack down on misdemeanors such as parking violations, etc. and keep a misdemeanor jail open 24/7.  Parking violators and such are not in the same league as those commiting crimes that escalate to violent crimes. 

Furthermore, Walker touted Baton Rouge Serial Killer Derrick Todd Lee as an example of a perpetrator that passed through the court system numerous times.  This was an unfortunate example to use because Lee’s crimes were of a much more serious nature.  We can’t compare stalking and masturbation outside of women’s bedroom windows with those individuals committing parking violations.

This gap in linking serious crimes with non-violent crimes that do not escalate concerns me greatly on Walker’s behalf, even though I am a fan of Walker and have respect for some of the intitiatives he has implemented during this political career.

I am digressing to the Mayor’s race, but if we are to look for the right candidate for the Office of Mayor-President while addressing the apparent spike in crime (regardless of crime statistics shared), we must find a candidate that is not a politician. 

Baton Rouge, and East Baton Rouge Parish, needs to address crime head-on and properly classify perpetrators, while admitting we have a huge, escalating crime problem in the Red Stick.

Who is that candidate? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

MOHSEP Grants Misused? Saturday, Nov 5 2011 

Update:  The Baton Rouge Metro Council met yesterday to delve into the details of the Homeland Security Grant debacle.  By a majority vote, they determined it was in the best interest of the taxpayers that a full investigation take place in regard to MOHSEP, Mayor Kip Holden’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.  Unfortunately, they are giving MOHSEP until January 15th to resolve pending issues before pursuing the investigation.  Amazing how MOHSEP was able to ‘buy some time’ on the investigation.  Is this appropriate?

Perhaps a whistleblower among us might be able to shed light on the proposed investigation into the alleged misappropriations  of grant monies arising out of the office of the Mayor-President Kip Holden’s office and MOHSEP (Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness)?

According to OHSEP (Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness), both Mayor Kip Holden and JoAnne Moreau, Director of MOHSEP, refused to follow state and federal guidelines.  Basically, they did not submit the proper paperwork as follows:

  • Failure to submit complete project applications
  • Failure to present potential expenditures to the Parish Emergency Management Advisory Committee (PEMAC)
  • Failure to get GOHSEP’s, the State Administrative Agency’s (SAA), approval on intended expenditures
  • Failure to obtain Environmental Historical Preservation (EHP) assessments as required by federal law

To add insult to injury, Mayor Holden and JoAnne Moreau misspent funds, did not receive approval for certain expenditures, and failed to supply details on past and future expenditures. 

Among those issues are the spending of $159,000 used for salaries while grant rules capped total salary payments at $95,500.  There is another $362,784 in spending that will not be reimbursed by OHSEP; that money will now have to come out of the parish general fund because the Mayor already spent the money!

There is a total of $1.3 million in spending that has already taken place by Mayor Kip Holden.  The potential exists that, without the proper documentation, that funding will not be reimbursed to the city-parish from OHSEP.  You should never spend money without funding, especially when the terms of reimbursement are clear. 

One of the precedents for grant receipt is to properly complete paperwork prior to receipt, to provide detailed confirmation on the spending of grant monies, and to be good stewards of the monies received.

Good stewards.  Sometimes this concept is foreign, once power and control take priority.

There is good news, however!  Chandler Loupe, a councilman on the EBR Metro Council, flanked by Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, is making a move to request a full investigation and audit of funds received by the Mayor’s Office.  It is my hope that the full council votes next week to comply with this request.  No doubt, Mayor Kip Holden will be lobbying against this request.

Mayor Kip Holden has proven time and time again that he does not like being questioned — even when he is spending the taxpayer’s money — our money.  Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of all elected officials to comply with total transparency.  A concept that the Mayor does not embrace.

Where there is fire, there is smoke. 

The challenge set forth by anyone investigating the reason that OHSEP reallocated federal homeland security grant funding from Mayor Kip Holden and gave the authority to the Sheriff’s Office of EBRP and Ascension Parish is to find the truth.  The amount they were given authority over totals $4,033,033.

If Mayor Kip Holden and JoAnne Moreau of MOHSEP have nothing to hide, then they will embrace this investigation and provide detail necessary to get to the bottom of this issue.

Unfortunately, I fully expect Holden and Moreau to continue this debacle by not complying, refusing to participate with the investigation in a friendly manner, and continuing to hide the facts.

Holden and Moreau have been long-time compadres.  Yet, some believe that Holden will use Moreau as his scapegoat.  I disagree.  Anyone who has ever met Moreau knows she will not be thrown under anyone’s bus — including the Mayor’s.

The public deserves a full-blown investigation and the facts to be presented.  Of course, so did GOHSEP when they required that MOHSEP and the Mayor’s Office to supply details required by the grant.  All other parishes complied. 

Why didn’t Holden and Moreau comply?  The devil is in the details.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Mayor Kip Holden Horse Trades Wednesday, Oct 12 2011 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayor-President Kip Holden was marked as unfriendly to business, a tax and spend liberal and named as one of two ”King of Legislative Junketeers” according to The Advocate in 1997.  By 2004, Ginger Sawyer from Louisiana Business & Industry proclaimed Holden as the candidate with one of the worst LABI ratings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

EBRP Metro Council Attacked Saturday, Sep 24 2011 

Here we go again. 

Baton Rouge Business Report owner, Rolfe McCollister, Jr., has shown his disdain for the East Baton Rouge Metro Council in his most recent editorial focusing on a lack of vision for the Red Stick.

McCollister’s claim is that the EBRP Metro Council members lack understanding as to how a ‘vibrant riverfront’ will attract young residents that are educated as well as companies that will create jobs.

The claim is made that individuals against downtown progress want to preserve their cluster of suburbs and rarely leave a five mile radius except to travel to their jobs.

I disagree.   

On any given day, you can find venues from Perkins Rowe to shopping venues across EBR parish packed with residents from far outside of their five mile radius.  Restaurants are brimming to the gills with families and individuals (even educated ones) every day of the week. 

The other side of the coin should be considered. 

We are living in continuously changing times.  Priorities can and will evolve.  Still, a great deal of focus and funding in EBR Parish has been dedicated to the growth of downtown Baton Rouge.  

According to the Downtown Development District, over $1.8 billion was dedicated to the redevelopment of downtown from 1987 to 2008 alone, and $300 million more is on tap.  

According to the 2010 Census, the EBRP Population is 440,171.  The only figure I can find for downtown Residents is in the 4,000 range.  That is 1% of the population of our parish.  If funding for projects was determined on population alone, downtown would not have been a priority. 

There are, as we know, other factors to consider.  The question is are those factors of the utmost importance to all of the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish?

The City of Pittsburgh was cited by McCollister as a ‘best practice’ example for a successful growth of city.  Former Pittsburgh Mayor, Tom Murphy, recently spoke at the Growth Summit hosted in Baton Rouge.  It was there that we heard the challenge of the importance of not pandering to the “lowest common denominator”. 

Unfortunately, this phrase is now being used to refer to anyone disagreeing with a $1,000,000 expenditure to build a stage canopy and art design in downtown Baton Rouge.

Furthermore, such characteristics as small minds, visionless, blind to the future, myopic, parochial, and hypocritical were ascribed to our current Metro Council members who are reconsidering this lavish expenditure.  If you disagree with this expenditure, these characteristics penned by McCollister might describe you as well.

Or, perhaps not?

The truth about downtown Pittsburgh is that they had their own challenges.  The steel industry was broken and their downtown was nothing more than a red light district with 20+ massage parlors.  They currently have approximately 5,000 residents and they are thriving. 

If we want to talk about an example, let’s take a harder look at former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy. 

In only two terms, Tom Murphy reduced their city workforce by 1,000 individuals (21%), and turned a budget deficit into a budget surplus. 

Murphy renovated almost 169 playgrounds, built world-class facilities for both baseball and football teams, and refurbished neighborhoods by a landslide.  He also attracted companies that created so many jobs that they cannot be filled — companies like Alcoa.

Under Murphy’s watch, the city of Pittsburgh experienced their lowest levels of crime in over 30 years.

Yes, Murphy is an example of ‘best practices’.  Addressing the entire city’s best interests was Murphy’s claim to fame. 

Anyone who considers downtown as our only crown jewel, and fails to consider the entire parish is truly the one who lacks vision.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Is the Mayor Pro-Tem the Real Problem? Sunday, Sep 18 2011 

J. R. Ball, Baton Rouge Business Report columnist, gave a dressing down to Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker of the Baton Rouge Metro Council for questioning an additional $1 million expenditure for a downtown stage covering and an artistic design.  

Who dares to question the expansion of downtown Baton Rouge, much less Mayor Kip Holden.  It almost seems Ball is channeling Holden in his scathing attack on Mike Walker!

Ball claims that Walker’s only reasoning for his change of mind is because of his political aspirations to become the next Mayor of EBR Parish.  

Ball’s scathing opinion of Walker was met with opponents and proponents of his assessment as noted by opinions expressed on the page of Ball’s opinion

Additionally, the Baton Rouge Business Report did a poll asking readers “Do you think the Metro Council should reconsider spending $900,000 for a state covering at the Galvez Plaza development downtown?”  51% voted no, while 41% voted yes. 

The fact is that the expenditure for Galvez Plaza was reassessed, and the amount was increased drastically earlier this Spring. This is a common concern with EBR City Parish spending, and should be noted by taxpayers – and J. R. Ball. 

A simple review of past Metro Council meetings indicate consistent excessive spending beyond the original bids accepted on projects.  The Mayor’s Office is always ‘going back to the till’  (aka “our pocketbooks”) !

Perhaps spending is the REAL problem? 

Then again, attacking Walker might be the path of least resistance with the current Mayor who seems to have no issue with overspending. 

Constituents of East Baton Rouge Parish (those who learned that an additional $1 million was approved for a project that was already previously bid on at a lower cost) got upset. 

Spend more money?  On Downtown?  On a sculpture and stage that admittedly will be used less than 10% of the time?

My bet is that if you did a poll of the citizens of EBRP as to whether they would approve an additional $1 million on a building project from their contractor,  their answer would be a definitive NO. 

Is an additional $1 million necessary for a stage cover and artistic design? 

The good news about J. R. Ball’s article is that he does state that Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker was formerly “the Mayor’s puppet”.  The bad news is that the article is a direct attack on an elected official that has found the courage to step out from being a ‘yes man’ to Mayor Kip Holden and doing what he was elected to do — serve the people who elected him and become a voice of the parish. 

Kudos should also be given to other Metro Council members who raised legitimate concerns:  Bones Addison, Smokey Bourgeois, Alison Gary, and Scott Wilson.

51% on the Baton Rouge Business Report poll said no to the expenditure.  Last time I checked, that was a majority. 

We elect the Metro Council to be wise in spending practices for the parish.  It is our hope that they will ‘take our place’ at meetings and make decisions that are in our best interest. 

My guess is that even if the Metro Council does approve the additional $1 million, that another change order will be forthcoming before the project is complete in 2012.  Hint:  The Mayor’s spokespersons said they can not guarantee that additional spending might not take place. 

So, what is the issue that concerns the voters?

The political aspirations of Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, or the fact that we are continually being asked to open our pocketbooks with NO accountability or limits by Mayor Kip Holden?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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