Senator Mary Landrieu . . .The Consummate Politician Sunday, Sep 14 2014 

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Louisiana’s democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is, always, the consummate politician.

I begin by recalling her calm demeanor in the face of the Katrina disaster when speaking with Anderson Cooper — her focus was to thank her fellow politicians rather than discuss the real issues at hand (i.e. lack of response by the government, dead bodies in the street, etc.)

To add insult to injury, Landrieu also went to great links to play politics by issuing a public statement congratulating Governor Blanco for her handling of Katrina.

Unbelievable, right?

Then, at the 2008 DNC when she had an opportunity to ‘play politics’, she chose to speak out against FEMA and the failure to respond properly for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In the world of political analysts, the response would be “Well played, Mary, well-played!”

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, is also an avid blackmailer.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Two particular instances come to mind to support this argument.

The first was when she issued a press release stating she would hold up the vote on the confirmation of budget director, Jacob Lew, until the administration modified the moratorium that was set after the BP Oil Spill.

The second time Mary refused to endorse a public health care option until the administration agreed to provide Louisiana with $300,000,000 as a trade for her vote.

Some might say this is great because Mary held out for what was in Louisiana’s best interest.  I suppose that depends on how you feel about the outcome.

Are we better off with the current handling of oil production and sales in Louisiana?

Is the Affordable Care Act working for or against the average citizen at this time?

Perhaps the better question is — how do you feel now that you have the knowledge that a Senator representing you in Washington is an avid blackmailer?

Senator Landrieu also claims Washington as her official ‘home’ — even though she calls herself the senior Senator from Louisiana.

Evidence of this fact was taken on recently by one of her opponents in the upcoming Senate race when he brought out the fact that Landrieu did not even own a home in Louisiana.

Mary claims her parents home as the location she resides in while visiting her home state.

It is VERY important to note that I am about to put together the pieces of this puzzle:

  1. Judge Wilson Fields, a fellow Democrat, ruled that Senator Mary Landrieu’s residence is not relevant until election day according to the law, delaying this legal challenge until, and if, Mary is re-elected.
  2. Judge Wilson Fields is the brother of Cleo Fields, Democrat.
  3. Cleo Fields is an endorser of May Landrieu, Democrat.

Is this all a coincidence?  Perhaps, I will allow the reader to decide.

Mary Landrieu also has a propensity to spend taxpayer money for personal use.

This situation was uncovered, only after being challenged by an opponent, that Landrieu was spending taxpayer dollars on personal fundraising events by charging the government for her flight costs.

Once this was made public, Landrieu’s political operatives decided to go on the offensive by performing an internal audit of their flight costs and calendar.

Landrieu was aware that you do not mix ‘personal’ or political events with official Senate business.  All elected officials are aware of this rule of law; especially a seasoned ‘senior official’ from the good state of Louisiana.

At least 136 political functions were scheduled during 43 official Senate business flights since 2002.

Landrieu blamed the problem on faulty bookkeeping, and has now decided to use accounting software that other congressional elected officials use to avoid this problem.  Are you kidding me?

Mary has now cut a check to the good people of the U.S. — taxpayers who elected her — in the amount of $33,727.02 to the U.S. Treasury.

 Senator Landrieu’s endorsement may uncover questions.

Boysie Bollinger, one of the most powerful individuals in the State of Louisiana, has endorsed Mary Landrieu for re-election.  Mr. Bollinger is a multi-millionaire and the proprietor of Bollinger Shipyards.

Bollinger Shipyards received a $255 million contract to build Fast Response Cutters for the Coast Guard.  Landrieu is the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee that approved that expenditure, and took credit by announcing the awarding of this contract.

Enough said.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

EBRP Coroner’s Office Troubling Sunday, Oct 30 2011 

The Office of Coroner has caused me pause over the past few months.  While doing extensive research, I have been troubled at the facts that have come forth.  It all began with a friend who had trouble obtaining a death certificate investigated by the Coroner’s Office  in short order.  Evidently, the backlog of death certificates in the Coroner’s Office is pretty extensive. 

Then, without warning to the public, a death investigator was killed in a murder-suicide a few months ago at one of my favorite restaurants, T.J. Ribs.  It was a very sad story that slowly unfolded. 

Perhaps it was then that the public began to made aware of significant issues that seemed awry. 

According to The Advocate, both Coroner Shannon Cooper and Chief Operating Officer Don Moreau spoke on occasion with the death investigator, Raymond Levie, about his relationship with a mentally ill woman.  This fact was verified by Moreau and the Baton Rouge Police Department reports.

The Coroner’s Office website states they are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, to evaluate the mentally ill, chemically dependent and handle death investigations. 

Furthermore, their website states the conditions under which CEC’s (Coroners Emergency Certificates) are issued in order for a physician to perform a psychiatric evaluation of a patient under an Order of Protective Custody (OPC) ordered by the Coroner.

In the case of Raymond Levie, as a death investigator, who is on call 24/7 — 365 days a year, it appears that Levie took the liberty of getting involved with a mentally ill patient and went beyond the perimeters of his responsibilties by entering into a relationship with the patient.

What is more troubling is that the relationship was volitile and the mother of the patient repeatedly made efforts to put the death investigator’s personal involvement to a stop.  The Coroner and the Chief Operating Officer were both aware of the request for a restraining order, requested by the mother, and the fact that the death investigator continued the relationship.

As things unfolded, Coroner Shannon Cooper denied that the patient was mentally ill.   The truth is that the patient was mentally ill and perhaps chemically dependent according the BR Police Department reports.

In short order, we also learned that the deceased death investigator had a large amount of personal property taken from the scene of death investigations in his apartment.  Those items included drivers licenses, other types of ID’s, and medication. 

The Coroner should have either dismissed or placed the death investigator on probation, as he was made aware of the situation in December, 2010, when a search warrant was performed at the residence of the death investigator when the BR Police Chief requested that Coroner Shannon Cooper meet with him.

The death investigator died in June, 2011.  One must ask if action had been taken by the Coroner prior to that time if two unnecessary deaths could have been avoided?

Additionally, it was not until after the death of the investigator that The Advocate checked in to the situation further to learn that the medications and personal property of those investigated by the Coroner’s Office had been confiscated in the December 2010 search warrant. 

This caused Coroner Shannon Cooper to publicly state he would implement a ‘new’ policy aimed at better tracking of drugs removed from death investigations.

In response to this ‘new’ policy, The Advocate Editorial Staff issued an Opinion stating the policy should not be verbal, as stated by Cooper, but should be stated clearly in writing.

The fact that Coroner Shannon Cooper stated he was implementing a new policy is troubling at best.

With a little research into the Louisiana Constitution, I found a written policy already in existence, in fact it is the law:

  • RSS13:1551 – Part II Coroner – Subpart A General Provisions — 1567:  Retention of Decedent’s Person Effects — plainly states that the Coroner shall take charge of person effects and property of the deceased at the scene of death.  Once complete, the Coroner is to return the property to the lawful person and/or provide it to law enforcement in ongoing investigations. 

The law is clear already.  Coroner Shannon Cooper and his office personnel were in violation of a law that was already in effect.  It seems to me that by ‘reinventing a policy’ that is already law, Cooper has diverted the attention from the real issue. 

Furthermore, Ron Coe, Coroner for Livingston Parish, told The Advocate in February, 2005, that his investigators had collected medications worth thousands of dollars over the past six months and donated them to the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy.  At that time, Coroner Shannon Cooper stated he has implemented the same policy.  That was 6 years ago!  If that is the case, how did drugs find their way to the residence of a death investigator?

All of this is extremely disturbing.  Evidently Cooper has taken on the characteristics of Pinocchio during his effort to hold on to his post in a highly contested election that will continue to play out during a run-off set for November. 

Pinocchio is often a term used to describe an individual who is prone to telling lies, fabricating stories and exaggerating or creating tall tales for various reasons. 

The people deserve a Coroner that will enforce the laws that already exist  — one that is not prone to ignoring the laws, but enforcing them.  The Advocate had it right in their Opinion; however, the laws are already on the books.

This may be the tip of the iceberg.  Usually, where there is smoke, there is fire. The truth is that the story is a sad commentary on what is apparently going on behind the scenes at the EBRP Coroner’s Office. 

Unfortuantely, Coroner Shannon Cooper made a cognitive decision to ignore the law.  Is this the type of man we want to re-elect?

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

Putting Together the Pieces Thursday, Sep 24 2009 

For two days in a row, the media rocked my world by finally asking for details of Mayor Kip Holden’s proposed tax increase that will come in the form of a bond issue this fall.  How much better can life get?  Baton Rouge Business Report’s JR Ball is asking some questions that community and business leaders have failed to ask.  Kudos to JR!  Read more here.

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So many pieces, so little time to put them all together.  Some say this is exactly what Mayor-President Kip Holden and his entourage are banking on in regard to this fall’s proposed tax increase.

I subscribe to the old adage of judging someone by their questions rather than their answers.  Weak leaders attack those who ask questions — something we have witnessed from Holden and his administration repeatedly.  Enough said.

While secrecy appears to be the mother’s milk of the EBR Mayor-President Kip Holden’s strategy, there are so many unanswered questions remaining:

  1. Why haven’t taxpayers been provided with full and complete disclosure on each aspect of the bond proposal package vs a one paragraph overview?
  2. How much of our tax dollars are being spent for the public relations portion of the bond proposal?
  3. What studies have been done on each aspect of the bond proposal and where can taxpayers access these reports? 
  4. Are we expected to fund nearly $1 billion for a 30-year tax with simple power point presentations?
  5. Who is really behind Progress Is, an organization set us as a non-profit promoting the bond issue?  
  6. Why should taxpayers be forced to choose an all or nothing plan because of a hard-headed-spendthrift Mayor-President?
  7. Why are we being led to believe that local government cannot make the necessary cuts in order to fund the real needs of our parish vs increasing our taxes?
  8. Who made the decision to assume that Downtown Baton Rouge should be the location of the proposed Audubon Alive! facility?

With all due respect, improving Downtown Baton Rouge has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of life for Red Stick residents whether you hail from Baker, Zachary, Central, Shenandoah, Highland Road, Gardere or Brookstown.  

Perhaps this is where “trust me, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” comes in?  If it is, I’m not buying what they are selling.

Since the days of Catfish Town, we have struggled to make downtown a thriving metropolis.  The visitor statistics for downtown already reveal a dismal report on a failed attempt at increasing tourism.  Building of The Shaw Center, two complete makeovers at the River Center, the USS Kidd, a complete makeover of the LASC, millions spent to upgrade the Old State Capitol, a barrage of bars and restaurants, and of course, our two major gaming facilities surrounded by an Atrium that remains empty are signs of more troubles to come for downtown Baton Rouge should we spend millions more on another ‘savior’ attraction.  

These facilities speak louder than any editorial publisher Rolfe McCollister, Jr. can write trying to convince us to spend more tax dollars downtown. 

There are more politics in this bond issue than you can shake a stick at — but the average taxpayer isn’t privy to this information.  The former shadow mayor, bond issue participants, public relations firms, and financial supporters of the Holden administration stand to make millions of dollars at our expense should this tax pass.  Hard facts, but true.

When will the business leaders of this community stand up, once and for all, and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?  When will you side with the hard-working citizens who are struggling to make their own neighborhoods safer? 

What happened to the former mayoral candidate Rolfe McCollister that said, “I don’t believe you tax your way to prosperity”?   I guess a lot changes in nine years, eh?

Though Mayor Kip Holden said last year that he planned to present this tax proposal, when he was first elected in 2000, he said, “Public Safety is the only thing for which I would ask the voters to raise taxes”!   

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said he would put temporary housing at the EBR Parish Prison.  Was this a lie or is he willing to keep his campaign promise?  Right after the election, a study done by former sheriff Greg Phares indicated that temporary housing and adding beds could be done at no extra cost except for a slight increase in food, beds and staff.  This was nearly two years ago!  What happened?

Putting the pieces together is tough given a shroud of secrecy, but I am committed to continue to seek the truth and shout it from the rooftops, and demand that business leaders and politicians stop the madness.  Say NO to higher taxes, and YES to fiscal responsibility!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Joel Boe’ –> Vox Populi Thursday, Aug 13 2009 

voice of the people

Simply put, we have found a member of the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council that has become:

Vox Populi, the ‘Voice of the People’  

We are watching a true leader walking the walk, not just talking the talk.  

Councilman Joel Boe’ not only stood up for his constituents in District 9, but he stood in the gap for the entire parish by standing strong against a foolish plan by Mayor-President Kip Holden. 

The Mayor attempted to stack the deck in his favor by shutting out certain portions of the parish and excluding them from their right to vote on a parish tax increase this fall. 

Holden’s divisive move is a show of his true colors gone wild

Without doing his due diligence, Holden made a single-minded decision to exclude areas of the parish that previously voted against his proposed tax increases.  Coffee shop talk reveals that Holden and his consultant’s believe he is invincible based on past political polls

This was an unfortunate position to take. 

When Boe’ spoke against Holden’s divisive move, the Mayor went to great lengths to put Boe’ in his place and verbally attack him in the media.   

On the other hand, cool as a cucumber, Boe’, took the verbal assaults by Holden and still spoke for the people. 

Boe’ showed signs of a true leader.

Holden’s hot-headed nature has become more prolific.  In spite of his personal attacks on Boe’, the councilman remained calm, stood his ground, and won by forcing Holden’s hand.  Yesterday Holden was surrounded by hundreds of citizens crowding into the Metro Council Chamber.  They had come to support Boe’ and to let the Mayor know he works for the people.

The voters have longed for a voice of the people.  Boe’s leadership caused Holden to back down and finally do the right thing by including all of the parish of East Baton Rouge.

Boe’ has won the support of many groups including members of the local Tea Party, several North Baton Rouge African-American organizations and leaders, his constituents, and others who have been longing for real leadership in the Red Stick.

Holden soon found out that whatever he says doesn’t necessarily fly with the voters.  In fact, two of the three areas Holden set out to exclude met this week to voice their desires to be a part of the tax decision.

My hope is truly renewed. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing!

It’s almost like having a glimpse of character traits that would be attractive in a future Mayor when I observe Boe’. 

Stranger things have happened in the Red Stick.

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

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

 pay to play

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

Maybe they hope you are willing to blindly say yes?

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

Or is it important to you?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Bully Mayor Holden, Bully! Thursday, Jul 23 2009 

 

Baton Rouge’s Business Report Poll of the day Results indicates that 70% of the people believe that the entire parish should have the opportunity to vote on Mayor Holden’s $880 million bond issue/tax!  Over 1,300 individuals participated in their poll. 

1921-06-04-The-Country-Gentleman-Norman-Rockwell-cover-Bully-Before-no-logo-140-Digimarc

Bullies are normally reserved for the playground; however, it seems Mayor-President Kip Holden is proving that bullies are still alive and well in the world of politics and the ‘next greatest city’‘ —  the Red Stick. 

Councilman Joel Boe’ had the audacity to speak out publicly about his concerns regarding the Mayor’s proposed $880 million dollar bond issue/tax. 

Boe’ feels that excluding Baker, Central and Zachary from voting on Holden’s upcoming tax increase is divisive for the parish, and was a distinct move to make a previously failed tax pass on the second go round. 

It’s common banter that Holden’s tax proposal failed last year due to a lack of support from the northern part of EBR Parish.  In fact, polls were discussed post-election and political consultant, Roy Fletcher, made it very clear that polls reflected a message being sent by Central and Zachary that their wishes were being ignored by Holden. 

In turn, Mayor-President Kip Holden chastised Boe’ on television saying, “he needs to grow up”.  Holden further stated, “For Mr. Boe’ to come out and make an arbitrary statement without any findings that I tried to manipulate the system in order to win.  I think there is some growing up that needs to be done.”

If anyone reading this doesn’t believe that the Mayor read the same polls Roy Fletcher read, then I have some land to sell you. 

Do you think Boe’ failed to receive the memo stating that Holden has a strong preference for yes men?  Evidently so.

What is happening here folks is a public education in good ole’ Red Stick Politics. 

Registration in ‘Professor’ Holden’s political science class is normally open only to those in his inner circle.  Yet, it’s the tip of the iceberg and a very small glimpse into politics in its truest form.

In fact, Holden is so good at the game of politics, you may have noticed that neither the BR Business Report or The Advocate covered Boe’s comments or Holden’s public flogging of Boe’.  (Keep that breaking news a coming now, you great journalists of Baton Rouge!)

Kudos to WAFB for their exclusive coverage.

The voters elect officials to represent the people, ask questions, stand up, speak out, and bring their communities together for the greater good.  Councilman Joel Boe’ was doing exactly what he was elected, by the people, to do.

A little secret someone needs to let the Mayor in on:  the greatest leaders are those who surround their self with men and women who bring a different perspective, ask the tough questions, and seek out all options available for solutions to the issues.  Those willing to say no, or at best to not always say yes.

Boe’ evidently fits that profile.  Holden doesn’t like it though, and used his bully pulpit to attempt to demean Boe’ publicly for daring to voice an opinion opposite of the all-powerful, all-knowing Mayor-President Kip Holden. 

We were told we needed NEW, YOUNG, BRIGHT LEADERS with FRESH PERSPECTIVES.  We do, don’t we?  Please tell me that we really do want to elect these type of individuals?   I beg you to prove to me that a NEW, YOUNG, BRIGHT LEADER with a FRESH PERSPECTIVE can speak out, ask tough questions and not have to suffer being publicly flogged by our Mayor.

Tell me again.  How do we expect to get more people involved?  To believe?  To stand up?  To be accounted for?  To vote?  To listen?  To care?  Is this what they can expect from us when they step up to the plate for a thankless job as they stand in the gap for the people?

Sooner or later, we had better decide what we really want for the ‘next greatest city’.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Dan Claitor: The Character Assassin Monday, Mar 9 2009 

 assassinscreed-61

Senate District 16 candidate, Dan Claitor, has a history of attacking his opponents with vigor.  While returns were coming in, no doubt Claitor was giving his political consultants orders for more personal attacks against Lee Domingue for the upcoming runoff in which only 749 votes separated the two candidates.

Just three months before he announced he was running for Senate, Claitor thought he wanted to be District Attorney.  He set out to personally attack one of the most respected individuals in the justice system, his opponent Hillar Moore.  Claitor’s commercials and attacks were like the kiss of death.  

Hillar has spent his lifetime in the Red Stick coaching and making a positive impact on our children.  Claitor ran ads mocking Hillar by saying “if you want a baseball coach, vote for Hillar” and that we did.  This was a real mistake on Claitor’s part.   Never attack someone for the good works they do in a community, especially when it makes a difference in children’s lives.

On election night as Hillar Moore was accepting victory as our new District Attorney, he pulled out a baseball cap and bat, taking the attacks in good humor, and said he ‘guessed the people wanted a baseball coach after all’.  The truth is that Hillar was not only a baseball coach, but an extremely seasoned attorney with a beloved following. 

In the senate primary, Claitor used his political operatives to attack Lee Domingue.  One of his main attacks centered around Domingue’s life change due to his faith.  Domingue was extremely open and spoke freely of his past and how his faith in God changed his way of living.  Nothing to mock.  Never, never, never attack a person’s faith – it’s bad politics and in poor taste.

Attacking Hillar Moore for his endorsements, Claitor attempted to portray that unlike Moore he “earned his support” for DA, insinuating Hillar ‘bought’ his endorsements.  Perhaps Claitor was upset that the former DA, Doug Moreau, who is extremely well respected in the Red Stick, endorsed Moore?  Claitor did not do his research.  Moore received contributions from both sides of the aisle and won the hearts and endorsements of people because of who he was, not because he had to pay for them.

Claitor also attacked Lee Domingue in the senate primary for endorsements from Rolfe McCollister, publisher of BR Business Report and Governor Bobby Jindal.  Furthermore Claitor’s political operatives tried to paint a picture that Domingue winning Businessperson of the Year was ‘bought’ through contributions he made.  This backfired. 

In fact, The Advocate printed a clarification and retraction of the facts as a result of this untrue attack by Claitor.  The committee choosing honorees is independent of the Business Report and Junior Achievement, the organization that benefits from the annual event.

In the DA’s race, Claitor said “I’m running low on other people’s money, but I’m not running low on my money”.  Moore did not have to put his own money in the race because he was receiving enough support from the people he would serve.  It seems the same scenario fits for Domingue.

Claitor also attacked Domingue for a few rookie mistakes in the primary including when Domingue’s people said he was endorsed by the Greater Baton Rouge Area Chamber.  It was a faux pas in that it was the Chamber’s PAC, CHAMPAC that endorsed him.  Probably a typographical error someone overlooked?

Oddly enough, Claitor made his own faux pas when running for district attorney by sending out a picture of him with presidential candidate John McCain giving the impression he was endorsed by McCain.  He was not.  Here is the unauthorized picture:

claitor unauthorized

At first I thought Dan Claitor might be a viable candidate.  His family name is well known and respected in the Red Stick.  But somehow I do not feel he represents their family well when he reduces himself to attacks that have no validity.  I addressed this in a previous blog about Domingue continuing to dominate the Senate District 16 race.

Claitor did not do this once, but in two political races back-to-back.  Two days after Hillar Moore was sworn in as DA, Claitor announced he was running for senate. 

Candidates who lose races and then jump quickly into the next race trouble me greatly.  It was the kiss of death for another Dan – Dan Kyle.  It sends the wrong message and makes you appear to be confused, therefore confusing the voters.

Claitor says he is a good attorney and was a good prosecutor in the Big Easy.  He touted the number of cases he prosecuted claiming he personally handled more than the entire Red Stick DA’s office.  If that’s the case, I agree with Passer Le Bâton when he said Claitor should ask District Attorney Hillar Moore for a job.  We need good prosecutors and that sounds more like Claitor’s forte’.

Wishful thinking would be to see Claitor talk about his own character instead of attacking his opponents.  Then again, the old saying “Your actions speak louder than your words”might fit here.  Perhaps Claitor IS showing us his character as ‘the character assassin’.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

My Christmas Gifts to EBRP Leadership Sunday, Dec 21 2008 

christmas-giftsMerry Christmas

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

Sometimes the best gifts come in forms we least expect:

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

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

  • Sages – profound philosophers with wisdom and sound judgement

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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