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

Fired Baton Rouge Police Chief Responds to Mayor Kip Holden Monday, Feb 18 2013 

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Under any other circumstances, what took place today would most likely have not happened.  Unfortunately, Mayor Kip Holden and his Chief Administrative Officer, William Daniel, fired Police Chief Dwayne White last week.  This came after both Holden and Daniel vehemently denied to the media (when rumors were swirling over this potential firing) that there was any truth to the rumors.  Really?  Is anyone surprised that Holden and his partner in crime, Daniel, lied to the media and public?  Furthermore, the Mayor released a letter to the media last week charging the Chief of Police with a laundry list of allegations as to why he was fired.  Today’s one hour hearing was an opportunity for the Police Chief to answer those allegations — and he chose to do so in front of the media and community.

My first response is kudos to ‘former’ Police Chief Dwayne White for answering each charge in great detail, by providing a binder with documentation to back up his ‘evidence’ against each charge made by the Mayor, and for allowing the community and media to hear his side of the story.  I was intrigued and mesmerized that someone in our great city finally had the impetus to stand up to Holden.  For that alone, I applaud White!

I am a lifelong resident of the Red Stick; raised in North Baton Rouge — and in particular grew up and lived in the 70805 zip code until I was in my 30’s.  No one can tell me anything about ‘70805’.  It is one of our most drug-ridden, gang-infested, high crime areas in our city.  Not the same neighborhood I grew up in; nevertheless, just two weeks ago, I drove back to my old homestead (as I do at least once annually) and stopped on my old street to speak with a gentleman that lives across the street from the home I grew up in.  We talked about several murders that have taken place recently on my old street, as well as arrests of late for numerous violent offenders just a few houses down the street.

Let me be clear that I have never met, nor do I know Police Chief Dwayne White.  What I did learn about him today, however, is that he is a man of faith, a man that believes in his principals, a man that chose to not play politics, but to openly answer each charge publicly in order to answer to the community whom he serves as to the charges lodged against him.  He appeared to be full of conviction in his position that he had the best interest of the community in mind with all of his decisions as Police Chief, and that the charges made against him were full of misinformation and innuendo without substance.  Frankly, I remain impressed with him.

White’s attorney, Jill Craft, understands the system well.  She specializes in a very difficult area of the law — discrimination and labor law.  It can be complicated, yet she has had great success in defending individuals who were dismissed from their employment due to unfair labor practices.  Craft is no stranger to the Supreme Court either, which made bode well for White.  No doubt, the fact that White answered the charges against him both publicly and in writing fulfill one of the requirements of the law in this, Craft’s specialized area.

To know Kip Holden in his full political regalia, is to understand that he is secretive, knows how to play the game, and is quick to accuse others without evidence.  On the other hand, he has publicly denied allegations made against him and even gone so far as to file suit against anyone defaming him — later dropping the charges once time passed.  With no public apology to those he easily despaired, I might add.  It begs the question.  Here is a public figure that refuses to be held accountable, overreacts without all of the facts, and simply does as he pleases.  I am continuously shocked that he has been re-elected, and is serving his third term as Mayor.

The majority of the charges lodged against Chief of Police Dwayne White appear to be ridiculous.  Likewise, because of the history of Mayor Kip Holden’s past actions, I tend to believe all of the comments White said Holden told him behind closed doors.  Holden does not like for anyone to disagree with him.  The Mayor is very close to Chris Stewart, head of the Union of Police.  Stewart was transferred; White says Holden called him in — rumors floated that White would be fired; Holden denied the rumors — Holden fires White.

The case is pretty simple.  Stay tuned.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Election Cover-ups – U.S., & EBRP Sunday, Nov 18 2012 

United States:

This week we witnessed the fall of another governmental leader — General Petraeus, who sadly chose to mar his image as an American hero.

Ironically, as serious as the choice that Petraeus made to commit adultery and its consequences are, it begs the question as to what was really going on in the form of a cover-up to not release the information publicly until post-election.  Of course, Petraeus’ mistress had access to his emails, which is a key question in the sharing of classified information that will now be investigated.

To add insult to injury, the apparent cover-up of what really happened in Benghazi, and the investigation that was delayed post-election is a sad commentary for America.

Anyone taking an honest look at this situation will realize that all the events surrounding Petraeus was a definitive cover-up during the Presidential Election.

East Baton Rouge Parish

Post-election, it seems fairly clear to me that the individuals who were previously criticized for attempting to “divide us” and “focus on crime” in the Red Stick’s recent Mayoral Election were accurate.

Post-election, the head of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber president, Adam Knapp, in today’s newspaper explains the ‘challenge’ of selling EBRP to companies considering us as a destination to do business due to the CRIME RATE!  What?  Huh?

Where was Adam Knapp during the Mayoral Election with these facts?

Good job to Kip Holden and his political operatives for getting the likes of Knapp, McCollister, FuturePac, the Baton Rouge Police Union, Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White, Pat Felder, Walter Monsour, John Noland, Rev. Raymond Jetson, et al.  to jump on Holden’s bandwagon endorsing him, crying racism, and refusing to address the crime increase in our parish during the election.  I am so disappointed in these community leaders for misleading us.

The inability of Kip Holden and his entourage to properly address the fact that crime is up in EBRP was a blatant cover-up to ensure his re-election and ignore the facts.

Post-election, the topic of increased crime is now up for discussion?

Let’s be clear on this article where Knapp is quoted about firms questioning the crime rate, seeing billboards and discussions about the crime rate.

The election was held November 6th, and the billboards went up less than 30 days ago.  Anyone who believes that we have had a surge of companies visiting in the past 30 days might be interested in some land I have for sale.  Ha!

As a researcher, I work on facts, and am not a conspiracy theorist.  At the same time, some would say this was a conspiracy properly planned by Kip Holden and his political operatives to ignore the facts, or should I say hide the facts from the public until post-election.

Unfortunately, all of the ‘so-called’ conspiracy theorists have been proven accurate in that nationally, and locally, information that should have been properly discussed in an honest and forthright manner was withheld from the voters until after the election.

To all those who endorsed Holden, you made your bed, now you will have to sleep in it — sharing Holden’s bed seems to be a commonality in EBRP!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Influence Peddling in EBRP? Sunday, Jul 29 2012 

Let’s talk about one of the oldest political tricks in the book — Influence Peddling.  It come in many forms, and is referred to by many names.  The key is to recognize Influence Peddling in some of its truest forms in East Baton Rouge Parish prior to the fall election.

In some political circles, influence peddling is extremely effective and considered a legal business deal — depending upon your viewpoint (i.e. lobbying). 

For those who are in tune with the media — behind closed doors or via quick mobile dialing — it can also be extremely advantageous (i.e. keeping things under wrap).

In the community, it comes in many forms including controlling the flow of information, determining where focus is put, and deciding where and from whom and to whom funding will flow.

The examples could be lengthy, but why prolong our pain?  Let’s just get to the point, shall we? 

Influence Peddling has come to mind in the current climate of East Baton Rouge Parish politics and current leadership — especially in light of the coming fall election. 

Let me be very clear whom I refer to when considering ‘current’ leadership. 

  • They are the individuals who decide the who, what, where, and how.  
  • Simply put, they are the ‘powers that be’ — those behind the scenes who direct and determine what is, and what is not, done.
  • Depending on your working knowledge of who is really in control of such matters, they include members of the media, key community leaders, heads of community organizations and businesses, and a handful of politicians who both need and desire to be peddled regardless of what is right or wrong. 
  • They are the true decision makers and spin doctors of our political, economic, and financial climate in the Red Stick. 
  • For the past dozen or so years, they have determined where we are headed and how we will get there.

They should also be held accountable for where we currently are — something they are attuned to and very good at blaming on others.  Blame-shifting and influence peddling go hand-in-hand.

God help you if you should ever choose to disagree or question these influential peddlers or their political figureheads.  They are able, and more than willing, to strike back with a vengeance.

After all, influence peddlers stick together and are much like a brotherhood that almost appear to have unlimited powers to cut you off or make you into a spectacle — whatever suits the scenario.

They remind me of the mafia — a brotherhood of sorts that stick together against those who might interfere with their desires or whims.  The power of the political machine or editorial pen can be enormous in their world — and in yours. 

I am not a conspiracy theorist.  I work completely on the premise of truth revealed through extensive research that brings forth a working knowledge of the facts. 

Freedom from spin will set you free, and allow you to make more informed decisions.

Unfortunately, not everyone wants to know the truth.  In biblical times, they wanted to believe a lie, so God allowed a messenger to tell them what they wanted to hear: II Thessalonians 2:11.

Don’t be caught unaware.  Don’t be willing or desirous to believe a lie.  Do your homework.  Avoid the spin doctors.  Look long and hard at the facts.  And, above all else, be an informed citizen.  That is your responsibility before entering the voting booth.  Your vote does count. 

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

The Curious Case of Trayvon Martin Wednesday, Mar 28 2012 

Update:  Florida State Attorney Angela Corey has announced that 2nd degree murder charges have been filed against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  Corey says that charges are not being filed due to public pressure or petition, referring to a petition that garnered over 2 million signatures calling for the arrest of Zimmerman.  The charge of 2nd degree murder can include a sentence of up to life imprisonment.  Regardless of your position on this curious case, there is no doubt the case will be a barnburner.

Watching with great interest, the curious case of Trayvon Martin has become a national phenomenon.  No doubt, the death of any teenager is a heartbreaking tragedy. 

We are being subjected to an incredible amount of ‘spin’ by thousands of individuals, organizations, and the media in an effort to determine the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, the self-confessed shooter of Trayvon Martin.

By now, everyone has heard the story. 

George Zimmerman calls 911 to report what he suggests is a suspicious black male walking in his neighborhood.  During his 911 call, he admits to following the black male, to which the operator says “we don’t need you to do that”. 

Stop!

This may be, for me, the only fact that we know for sure.  Memories fade, witnesses have differing accounts, and the victim is not here to tell his part of the story. 

Why did George Zimmerman, after calling 911, get out of his vehicle to follow the ‘suspicious’ black male on foot? 

It seems to be the biggest mistake of Zimmerman’s life. 

What we don’t know is what really happened between the 911 call and what followed.  Screams for help, numerous 911 calls from neighbors hearing a scuffle, a single gunshot, a dead teenager, a police chief steps aside, the Feds get involved, and a surmounting civil rights cry goes out by thousands of individuals protesting that the shooter has not yet been arrested.

It’s been more than a month since the shooting.  People have questions. 

I have a question, or two myself.

Where were all the protesters when other young black males were being murdered on the streets of America? 

Are those protesting aware of the real statistics surrounding murder and race?

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, in 2010 there were 12,996 murder victims in the United States:  6,470 african-american, 6,043 caucasian, 331 ‘other’, and 152 ‘unknown race’. 

Furthermore, the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator is eye-opening.  The FBI Uniform Crime Report’s breakdown of relationships indicates that acquaintances top the list, with family members coming in second, friends, and finally strangers very last. 

Perhaps this is why the FBI Uniform Crime Report’s breakdown indicating the race of the offender vs. the race of the victim indicates that white on white crime and black on black crime is the rule vs. the exception.  Furthermore, male on male crime and female on female crime appears to be prevalent.

By no means, does this diminish the current dilemma of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. 

It simply begs the question of the level of violence we are currently experiencing across the country, as well as the fact that it is more common for murders to be committed in ‘known’ circles than by offenders who do not know their victims.

It proves the fact that the curious case of Trayvon Martin is an exception to the rule.  Amazing, isn’t it?

You would think, by the media attention and the cries of those who are claiming that this is a prevalent problem (i.e. white on black murders), when in fact it is the exception.

I am dismayed anytime people jump on a bandwagon without all of the facts.  It’s important that we do some extensive research in order to make an informed decision.

It just doesn’t seem right to me when the lines are blurred by those who go off half-cocked making statements they can’t back up with the facts.

The curious case of Trayvon Martin will bring out the best and the worst of people. 

Those who have a personal axe to grind will take the untimely death of this young man and use it for their own personal gain.

A lot of missteps have taken place in the last few weeks. 

Perhaps a more detailed investigation should have taken place from the onset; hopefully that will be done now and law enforcement will do their best to find the truth.

Gun advocates and pessimists may use this opportunity to take a stronger stand for or against the ownership and use of firearms.

More importantly, we must address the issue that has come to the forefront in the curious case of Trayvon Martin:  Ignorance.

Ignorance has reared its ugly head through the actions and words of many.  They have expressed their true self at the expense of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

Spike Lee re-twittered someone’s home address causing an elderly couple to be forced out of their home because they were ‘fingered’ as the parents of George Zimmerman.  They were not the parents of ‘the’ George Zimmerman who pulled the trigger.

I suppose Spike Lee should take a dose of his own medicine and learn how to ‘Do the Right Thing’.  Perhaps we all should? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

To Investigate Or Not To Investigate, That Is The Question? Thursday, Mar 8 2012 

 

 

 

Investigations are required in order to solve the mystery of a crime – or potential crime.  To investigate is to do so by taking all leads and fully examining information presented with care and accuracy. 

As I continue to follow the storyline of alleged malfeasance in office possibly committed by Mayor-President Kip Holden, I have questions regarding how far the investigation has advanced thus far. 

Someone may need to help me interpret what is being reported, taking in to consideration the fact that the public is not always privy to the details of investigations. 

After all, the facts as presented to us are confusing at best. 

It was just a few years ago that we recall a flyer mailed to a select number of residents of East Baton Rouge Parish describing an alleged affair between Mayor Kip Holden and a woman (other than his wife). 

The flyer brought on accusations by an unnamed source at the time against Mayor Kip Holden.  Once made public via the newspaper, the Mayor began making counter-accusations by naming numerous individuals that he felt were responsible for the flyer. 

One by one, the Mayor (in an attempt to get the focus off of him) marched individual’s names before the media as the supposed source of the flyers that alleged he had an extramarital affair.  It caused quite a stir in the media, followed by the hiring of an attorney and investigator who proceeded to jump on the bandwagon of accusations.

I am always fascinated when someone is targeted by another party, especially when the response is a counter-accusation.  It reminds me of being on the playground as a child when the focus is now on the messenger vs. the alleged guilty party.  Sometimes ‘shooting the messenger’ works, and suddenly they are the bad guy vs. the individual who performed the dastardly deed.

For awhile, it seemed that Mayor Holden was successful in the public’s eye by attacking the sources of the flyer vs. the actual content of the flyer. 

After much ado, the creator and the distributor of the flyers were named publicly and the Mayor promised to sue them both for defamation of character.  Successfully, the Mayor got the attention off of the content of the flyer and on to the individuals responsible for sharing the information. 

This must have made the Mayor and his entourage very happy?

Unfortunately, nothing really happened.  The rumors died down, the creator and distributor were basically forgotten and all seemed as if nothing ever happened, with the exception of the whispers among those questioning the validity of the information contained in the flyer. 

Believe it or not, there are many people who really do believe that a betrayal of a marriage shows the true character of a person.

Fast forward to 2012.  Lawsuits begin flying back and forth about possible defamation of character and personal attacks that may or may not have validity.  A court date is set and we all watch with various degrees of interest.

Then, while we are all caught unaware, public records laws reveal that another party is asking for a full investigation into activities surrounding the prior accusations.  The ex-boyfriend of the woman who Mayor Holden supposedly had an affair with reveals that the woman shared with him confidentially that she received trips, gifts and cash from the Mayor that she believed to be from the city coffers. 

The plot thickens.

Now hold on!  Just when you think that a full investigation might take place to find out if the accusations are true, it appears that the investigation is thwarted because a Judge, a Sheriff, and God knows who else, claim that the former boyfriend’s story is considered “here say”.

Whoa!  Hold on!  This is where I may need some assistance. 

Let me get this right.  If I call or write a judge or law enforcement officer and tell them I know of someone committing what I believe to be a crime because ‘someone else’ told me that ‘John Doe’ is spending thousands of dollars on them that they believe came from the commission of a crime (and taking money from city coffers for use other than it was intended is considered a crime), will they just dismiss me because this is here say?

Let’s up the ante.  I talk to someone’s parent who tells me their child committed a murder, but since they believe it is self-defense, they are not going to tell anyone.  If I call with that information, am I dismissed because this is considered here say?

Well, I know the answer to that question.  Any law enforcement officer worth his salt will look into this alleged murder and will not dismiss my call as here say. 

So, why is the information from the ex-boyfriend considered here say?  Just because you are a jilted lover does not make every piece of information you share not worth fully investigating.

Maybe an investigation is still ongoing?  Let’s hope so. 

Thus, the topic of this piece. 

Hamlet asked “To be or not to be, that is the question?” 

I ask “To investigate or not to investigate, that is the question?”

In the age we live in, I say that you fully investigate possible wrongdoing.  We have watched Mayors in surrounding communities falling like flies because they chose to line their own pocketbooks vs. the pocketbooks of the taxpayers. 

Why should these accusations warrant any less attention? 

To dismiss information without carefully and fully questioning all those potentially involved in the potential commission of a crime would prove to me that the system is functioning even worst than I believe it to be.

As an officer of the law, you should not ‘pick and choose’ who you investigate and who you do not investigate regardless of their stature. 

Unfortunately, many of us already know this is a problem that needs to be thrown into the public eye for consideration when viewing the inadequacies of the legal and judicial system as it exists today.

We are watching and waiting to see if investigators will fully investigate charges that Mayor Kip Holden spent thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on a woman — or anyone else for that matter.

As an elected official, you have a duty to uphold the responsibilities of the office which you are entrusted by the people.  If, for any reason, you fail to be responsible with your time, taxpayer money or resources, you have failed to fulfill the duties of your office — and committed a crime referred to as malfeasance in office. 

In ending, one last burning question exists in my mind. 

What if the elected official entrusted to perform the investigation has some of his own skeletons, and the individual who he is charged to investigate knows those details?

I long for the days when I could say ‘ignorance is bliss’!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Advice for Coroner Shannon Cooper Wednesday, Nov 16 2011 

They say honesty is the best policy.  In the case of Coroner Shannon Cooper, I might disagree — unless you are a voter in East Baton Rouge Parish who wants to understand just how he rolls. 

When I read yesterday’s Daily Report edition of the Baton Rouge Business Report, my first thought was that Coroner Shannon Cooper needed a new political consultant.

Cooper chose to reveal his true self by honestly responding as to his intention of how to deal with protestors that planned to show up at his office today: 

IGNORE THEM!

Cooper’s words spoke volumes as to how our Coroner really feels about the 7,000 to 8,000 families his office deals with annually.

Cooper’s words are powerful:

Cooper said he had no plans of speaking with any protestors that showed up his office today.

Where is the compassion for families who have lost loved ones? 

How much time would it have taken for Cooper to drive from the Baton Rouge General Hospital  or Surgical Specialty Center, where he is listed as a staff member?  Either one of these locations are less than 30 minutes away from the Coroner’s Office. 

Instead of taking a few minutes out of his private practice, Cooper takes the position that this is much ado about nothing. 

Try telling that to families who have lost their loved ones.

Is Cooper a man we want to re-elect? 

Can Cooper possibly explain to the voters and residents of East Baton Rouge Parish why he so cavalierly wrote off families who had legitimate questions? 

What about the Temple family who was there to ask why their son’s drivers license was found at the home of death investigator, Raymond Levie, in December, 2010?  Their son was killed in 2006. 

The Traylor family was also present at the protest.  Keith Traylor, the organizer of the protest, is the father of Jeremy who died of a drug overdose in 2009.  This family has suffered unbelievable heartaches because the Coroner misdiagnosed their son’s death, and changed the cause of death after they buried their son. 

Heartbreaking stories!

Nearly 50 families whose loved ones died in East Baton Rouge Parish, are not even aware of the fact that the drivers licenses, ID cards, and medications was stolen by death investigator Raymond Levie, taken to his home, and kept in body bags and closets. 

Maybe you know some of the families listed in the Baton Rouge Police Department Report?  Maybe you are one of those families?

Perhaps the most disconcerting issue is the fact that the Coroner claims he was unaware of these facts. 

This is not true according to the BR Police report.  That report states that 6 months prior to the murder-suicide that resulted in the death of Raymond Levie by Shawn Jones (who then turned the gun on himself)  at T. J. Ribs, the Coroner was contacted by the acting Police Chief in an effort to have Cooper come to his office to discuss numerous complaints and the contents of a search warrant performed on Levie’s home. 

The Coroner also dismissed the Police Chief by responding that if he wanted a meeting, he could come to his office because he wasn’t going to the Chief’s office.

That is arrogance in its highest form. 

I wonder which one of Cooper’s offices he was referring to? 

One thing I have learned through this story is that EBR Coroner Shannon Cooper doesn’t even go the Coroner’s Office most of the time.  I personally called all three of his offices to find out that he works as a pathologist outside of the Coroner’s Office — that he has turned over the reigns of the Coroner’s Office to his Chief Operating Officer, Don Moreau, who is the only person that is willing to even take your calls.

Clarification:  Though Cooper met with Traylor awhile back, he refused to supply their family with requested documents.  Furthermore, Cooper refused to acknowledge Traylor and other families on the day of their protest. 

According to the Traylor family, when they met with the Coroner, Moreau talked over Cooper and took over the meeting in short order, refusing to provide the family with documentation they requested.  This confirms who is really in charge at the Coroner’s Office, and it’s not Cooper!

What we have here is yet another politician who is glad to claim a title, the prestige of an elected office, to pick up a paycheck — but not show up to perform the duties he was elected by the people to do.  My understanding is that paycheck is significant – nearly $100,000 annually.  Pretty hefty check for someone who doesn’t show up! 

Instead of dismissing these families/protestors, perhaps it would have been in Cooper’s best interest to show up and take a moment or two to share a little compassion for these family members whose lives were turned upside down?

Instead, Cooper said:

It will be business as usual.

The EBRP Coroner’s Office is on call 24/7; they are charged with the responsibility of investigating untimely deaths, determining causes of death, and assessing whether individuals require commitment for further assessment or treatment that are mentally ill or drug dependent.

I have some advice for Coroner Shannon Cooper:

Keep your job at the Baton Rouge General and Surgical Center, because we prefer to elect someone who will show a little kindness, and commit to the responsibilities of their office!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

To Mrs. Levie, who responded to me in writing regarding this blog:  I have made two corrections, as noted in red above, to clarify statements. 

Regarding your question as to what good would it have done for Dr. Cooper to go out side and speak with the protestors, I would respond that he was elected to serve the public, and if a family asks for a second, or third meeting, it should be granted with the Coroner or one of his appointed representatives.  To not do so is to ignore the very families he claims he is mindful of on his website — those left behind.  They deserve nothing less.  I am saddened by the loss of all families who have lost loved ones whether by murder, suicide or drug overdoses.  My condolences to you.  Let’s hope that the new Coroner has a better open door policy.

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

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

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