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

Tiger Woods: Coming Undone Wednesday, Dec 9 2009 

 

No one can argue that Tiger Woods is #1 in the golfing world and in the lives of individuals who have followed his incredible career.  We have stood beside him, cheered him on, and hailed him as a hero.

Better yet, ten million young people have been touched by the Tiger Woods Foundation, an organization founded by Tiger and his father, Earl, to promote character development, setting goals, and achieving your dreams through applying yourself. 

Tiger Woods claims that the foundation was established on the character traits he learned from his parents:  Integrity, Honesty, Discipline, Responsibility and Fun.

Nike, one of Tiger’s sponsors, even went so far as to create what ESPN claims was the most profound TV commercial in sports history known as I am Tiger Woods.  Children of every nationality have been inspired by Tiger Woods’ story and ability to show that hard work pays off.  It truly has been a phenomina.

It wasn’t just the golf, or the life-long dream realized that made us fall in love with Tiger.  It was the man, his story, his dedication, his persistence, his character.  Character:  moral excellence.

Now we find ourselves in a dilemna.  As we mull over the definition of character and the persona of a man that we have hailed as a hero to our children, we learn he has flaws we never dreamed existed. 

Now, we gleen into the life of someone we thought we knew.  It doesn’t mean that his incredible golf feats are less, but simply that once again a hero has allowed his personal demons to lower him to a level we never imagined.

We did not judge him on the color of his skin, but on the content of his character.  So what are we to believe now?

The jury is still out.  Rumors and innuendos are circling above Tiger’s million dollar mansion.  No doubt there is some truth to the accusations when 10 16 women come forward sharing the details of torrid love affairs with Tiger, a married man.  An admission of shortfallings and causing harm to his family by Woods was just short of a confession of guilt. 

The personal life Tiger fought so hard to keep private is now being played out on a stage like a bad play on Broadway.

Time will tell where Tiger’s transgressions will take him. 

All eyes are upon him, and the debates are already tiring.  No matter how much some try to justify or excuse his behavior, the truth is that we are watching another icon tumble. 

Tiger Woods has spent a lifetime telling us that responsibility and commitment are the keys to a better life. 

As always, the world is watching and waiting Tiger.  How will you handle what really matters in life?  How will you reconcile a life coming undone? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Ethics Board Gone Wild! Saturday, Aug 15 2009 

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The Louisiana Ethics Administration presented Mayor-President Kip Holden a birthday present this week by agreeing to become a pawn in a dangerous political game gone wild.

Louisiana law set up the Ethics Administration to oversee, investigate and rule in matters related to campaign finance, lobbyist disclosure, and conflicts of interest. 

Procedures are in place to allow citizens to submit concerns in writing.  In turn, the ethics board reviews the matter and determines whether to move forward in pursuit of specific violations of the ethics laws.

Several ironies exist in this format. 

One is that the process clearly states that it is a misdemeanor to reveal any information regarding an ethics investigation.  Yet, we read about this investigation in The Advocate.  This is another case of the law making no sense, unless this isn’t about ethics?

Another irony is that the man charged, Scott Wilfong, is not even required to file a campaign finance report which, in essence, makes the charges and complaint erroneous.  Vendors of campaigns are not required to file campaign finance reports.  Those hiring them must file whether they are the political candidate, a PAC, or interested citizen.

The greatest irony is that ethics is about morality which is the basis for the flyer.  The ethics board has chosen to investigate the source, but not the content of the flyer.  

There’s more to the story. 

Mayor-President Kip Holden allegedly committed an immoral act (adultery) coupled with an unethical one (using police officers after hours) which was the thrust of the anti-Holden flyer. 

Holden hired an attorney and private investigator to pursue the matter and obtain the name(s) of individuals responsible for the flyer to no avail.  Holden also accused numerous individuals at varying times as being responsible for the flyer. 

When the allegations could not be proven by Holden, an ethics complaint was filed to force the hand of Wilfong to reveal who paid him to mail the flyer.  To date, the Mayor has accused 4 different individuals as being the source of the flyer. 

Truly, this is political scheming and unethical behavior in its truest form.  And people wonder why the ethics board is not respected or why more individuals do not file ethics complaints?

The legislature took away the privilege of anonymously filing ethics complaints.  This allows alleged perpetrators to know their accuser unlike proven whistleblower programs like CrimeStoppers.  This was a mistake. 

The politically powerful have far reaching arms in the Red Stick, and those seen as violating the rules of secrecy pay dearly.   It also prevents law-abiding citizens from filing complaints that are sure violations of the law.  Who needs the grief?

The bottom line on this entire fiasco is simple in that we reap what we sow: 

  • If you don’t want to be embarrassed publicly, be faithful to your partner. 
  • If you use security, don’t bring them to the scene of your illicit activities. 
  • If you are accused of impropriety, don’t fuel the fire by showing the media the flyer.
  • If you are a vendor engaged in any political-related work, be prepared to be exposed for your involvement and possibly become the scapegoat.
  • If you are smart enough, you can use the ethics board to do your dirty work without them even realizing they are your pawn.

Any way you cut it, this is a slap in the face for the intent of the ethics laws for the state of Louisiana, and a huge step backwards for the Red Stick.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

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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

Investing in Our Youth, Our Legacy Sunday, Jul 19 2009 

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Perhaps kids had rights when I was young, but someone failed to inform us.  Our parents spoke.  We listened and obeyed.  If we didn’t, Dad’s razor strap showed us how to listen next time.  Dad worked.  Mom stayed home.  School wasn’t an option.  Hard work was a way of life.  Dinner together was a nightly event. 

The end result was that the investment our parents made in us paid off.  We are their living legacy.

Life was fairly simple compared to the complexity of today’s society. My Mom talked regularly with the Principal, our neighbors had the authority to punish us, and elected leaders sat around our kitchen table getting personally involved in our lives.  They were simpler and happier times.

Today, we have more single parents than in the history of the world.  They hold down two jobs, send the kids to daycare, buy dinner at the take-out, and have surmounting debt.  All of this, under the umbrella of worry should something happen if a catastrophic illness beset them because healthcare is not affordable. 

Worst yet, in some households, juveniles are running in the streets instead of sitting in classrooms.  Real guns have replaced slingshots and Mary Jane is no longer a candy, it’s the entry ticket to a world of endless drugs pouring into our neighborhoods at epic proportions.

Oh, how I long for the simplicity of yesterday in the neighborhoods of the Red Stick.  The difference began at home, and continued through the personal touch of leaders in our community.

The Joneses were watching after our children, and not someone we were trying to keep up with.  The Gautreaux’s weren’t trying to figure out who Daddy is sleeping with this time, because his legacy and family were far more important than anything another woman could offer.

If violent crime has increased and juvenile offenders are more prolific in the Red Stick, we need to walk down memory lane and understand what has changed to cause these phenomena. 

Juveniles are extremely vulnerable. 

We must reach children prior to the 7th grade to influence them.  In these formative years, they learn how to relate to others, the consequences of their actions, and what responsibility means.

While we are moving in the right direction by addressing truancy, there are other factors that require attention including teenage pregnancy, broken homes, absentee parents, and a lack of after-school activities that are appropriate.  Risky behavior eventually escalates into aggressive or violent behavior. 

Law enforcement doesn’t need bigger prisons; they need engaged parents, stronger laws, tougher judges, caring neighbors and employers willing to hire students for part-time jobs.  Time out doesn’t work for kid’s carrying around guns.

In order to take back our neighborhoods, we have to return to our roots.  Instead of turning a blind eye to what is going on, we need to clean up in our own backyard and spend time investing in what really matters — our youth. 

To be America’s next greatest city, we have to work with our young people and families to get them on the right track. 

We need our leaders to throw off their double-breasted suits and body guards and go back into neighborhoods, roll up their sleeves and sit around kitchen tables working one-on-one with parents who need guidance.  When our leaders are willing to set these examples, then we will begin to see a change. 

Everything comes back to where we are investing our time and money. 

It is a fact that we spend money and time on what is important to each of us.  When I review the City-Parish budget, I know that we need vast improvement. 

Last year’s proposed tax increase/bond issue proves we are seeking to invest further funds in buildings and not in people.  We don’t need new hotels, tourist attractions and parking lots, we need money and time invested in our at-risk youth. 

There is no argument that can win against investing time or money in our youth. 

Juveniles may not listen to everything we say, but they are always watching what we do.  What are we doing to influence our youth in a positive way?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Pearls of Politics Wednesday, Apr 8 2009 

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Pastor Dino Rizzo and the Healing Place took enormous heat for Rizzo’s personal support of candidate Lee Domingue.  This is baffling given the history of church and pastoral involvement in politics in the Red Stick.

It’s no secret that pastors and churches in the Red Stick have been actively involved in political races through the years. 

As one Baptist pastor said, “If you read the scriptures, Jesus was involved in the politics of Palestine”.  Another pastor said, “There is a working relationship between pastors and politicians that’s often not talked about”.  No truer words were spoken.

For years, it has been common knowledge that the doors of churches in the Red Stick have flung open for political forums.  These actions have often been followed by the support of pastors for particular candidates based on their faith and common beliefs in what is right for the community they pastor.

Some names of churches that come to mind, that are easily verifiable through The Advocate archives, are Jefferson Baptist Church, Mt Pilgrim Baptist Church, New Gideon Baptist Church, Woodlawn Baptist Church, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church – all listed in past articles of The Advocate for their political involvement in the Red Stick.

No one seemed to take issue with the barage of letters written for or against specific candidates by Pastor Tommy French.  Neither has anyone criticized the list of black pastors that supported Mayor Kip Holden, including Reverand Raymond Jetson.  Sheriff Sid Gautreaux was endorsed publicly by several pastors during his political race.  None of these pastors or churches were criticized, even though the personal lifestyles of their candidates have been questioned sorely for lacking christian character.

Faith-based organizations in the Red Stick have also hosted forums and wound up working ‘behind the scenes’ with specific candidates running for political office.  WIN (Working Interfaith Network), and the Interfaith Federation of Baton Rouge, a 60-congregation membership of Christian and Jewish churches in the Red Stick,  have been very active politically through writing letters, and inviting politicians to speak to their congregations.  Flyers are often generated and passed out as members exit church on Sunday encouraging them to support candidates.  Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that? 

The Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues is well known as an active political machine in the Red Stick.  Members of all of these organizations have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political candidates, though the organization itself is dissallowed by the IRS from making church contributions. 

They are many politically-savvy ministers – involved, in touch, and actively working with and for politicians and candidates.  In fact, election day activities are often run out of church annexes with members being paid for hauling getting out the vote.

To date, I have not seen any of these faith-based organizations, pastors or churches called out for these hands-on political activities. 

Yet, Dino Rizzo and Healing Place Church were targeted numerous times during the Senate District 16 race.  The truth is, this is the ultimate discrimination by political pundits.  It’s the politics of old we abhor. 

I do not know Dino Rizzo, but I have watched his service on TV numerous Sunday mornings.  He is, obviously, a man of faith that is grounded in the word of God and has been active in the Red Stick community for over a decade.   

Why shouldn’t Rizzo stand behind someone he personally knows and believes in for political office?  

Why discriminate against one pastor, but turn your head when other men of God are deeply involved in Red Stick politics?

Dino Rizzo and Healing Place Church has all the ‘gravitas’ they need in this community, and supporting someone he believes in, for political office, will not affect his standing in the Red Stick.  His pearls of wisdom are needed and wanted in our community.  That is, unless you consider yourself swine?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Lee Domingue: The Right Choice Monday, Mar 30 2009 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much better does it get, folks?

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Can You Handle The Truth? Tuesday, Mar 24 2009 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why this story now? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course not. 

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

What Makes Lee Domingue Tick? Saturday, Mar 14 2009 

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When someone runs for office, I always wonder what makes them tick.  Lee Domingue is running for the Senate seat in District 16 of the Red Stick.  Why are the political pundits and his opposition, Dan Claitor, so frightened of him? 

Research shows that Lee Domingue was chosen as 2008 Business Person of the Year for developing a billion dollar business, App One, out of the basement of a rent house. 

This honor puts Domingue in the league of past winners such as Lee Michael Berg, Mike Wampold, Bob Davidge, Kevin Reilly, Jr., Gary Mockler, Charlie Valluzzo, Tom Sawyer and a barrage of Red Stick community leaders.  The list is like a who’s who of successful individuals, so I took note and thought Domingue must be a guy worth betting on.

Cyrus International was mentioned in the article announcing Domingue as a man who felt a ‘true calling’.  A look at this organization that Lee Domingue and his wife created indicates they have a three prong mission:  Cyrus’s TraffickingHOPE campaign combats human trafficking by providing safe houses, medical care, legal support, rehabilitation and vocational training to victims,  Cyrus’s OrphanHOPE campaign provides relief to orphans by supplying water, food, shelter, clothing and medical aid around the world, and Cyrus’s DreamHOPE campaign works with inner city groups to develop Dream Centers to educate and train youth and give them opportunities to succeed in life.

This equates to Domingue sharing his wealth to effect other’s lives in a positive way which impressed me.  There were other things about Domingue that caught my attention including his faith and self-proclaimed changes in his personal life.  Faith can change everything. 

Both Domingue and Calongne were mocked about their faith in a commentary stating “they appear to be off to a fine christian start”In this same blog, Domingue was specifically targeted as unfit for the office of Senate because his lifestyle changed due to his new found faith in God.  Evidently, the goal was to attack his past and discredit any change.  That was a mistake by the Claitor camp.

It is amazing to me that you can attack someone for a positive change in their life.  It would be like attacking an alcoholic that made a positive change by choosing to no longer drink.  What the? 

All blogging aside, I believe candidate’s lives and records are open for inspection.  However, I do not believe that any candidate’s faith or attendance at ANY church is open for attack.  In fact, here’s a little secret:  Attacking anyone’s faith is ignorant and always backfires.  As they say, Karma is a …..

Let’s be clear, politics is not for the faint of heart.  It is, however, for those strong individuals who hold family and their faith in high regard.  The history of our country has been built upon “In God We Trust”.  Let’s not attack the very foundation on which we stand.  On my About Red Stick Republican page, I list my favorite quote from author Malcolm Gladwell: 

“What must underlie successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock of belief that change is possible, that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus”. 

This is what apparently happened to Lee Domingue.  It begs the question of what legacy we leave behind.

I hope to one day have a conversation with Lee Domingue and tell him that I support the positive things he is doing to make our community and the world a better place.  When time permits, I hope to read his book, Pearls of the King

After looking into Domingue’s past failures, current successes and the mission of Cyrus International, I believe what makes him tick is something District 16 voters need:  A champion that is willing to be transparent, openly share their past, prove that success is possible in spite of past failures and be a living example that we can positively change our world if we are just willing to answer the call.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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