Spendthrift Sheriff Sid Gautreaux Tuesday, Apr 27 2010 

Ten years have passed since a 3.73-mil property tax was implemented to support the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says “If these funds are not renewed, then we will have to severly cut our services to the community, including the number of deputies we have patrolling the streets.” 

Gautreaux has taken an age old Democrat position:  Threaten the public with reduced services if taxes are not enacted or renewed.  It’s a tired argument.

Perhaps the issue is not the tax, but the spendthrift practices of the new Sheriff?

The EBRSO’s figures used to promote the tax renewal appear to be a bit out of kilter.  On the EBRSO website, a flyer promoting the election indicates that the millage generates $12.3 million for the EBR Sheriff’s Office, while The Advocate reports that the EBRSO’s take is $13.8 million from this millage.  That’s quite a gap.  Which figure is accurate?

While there is no doubt that we need to support law enforcement, taxpayers would be better served to receive consistent, accurate information when asked to renew a millage that has a $1.5 million chasm.

Furthermore, in reviewing the Louisiana State Audits of the EBR Sheriff Office, some interesting facts caught my attention.  It also changed my mind about the tax renewal.

Good news, bad news.

The good news is that assets exceed liabilities.  The current reserve is $26.2 million in total assets.

The bad news is that those assets are rapidly decreasing due to Sheriff Sid Gautreaux’s spendthrift practices.  Take a look at the annual budget figures indicating revenue and expenditures:

  • Before Sheriff Gautreaux took office as Sheriff:
    • The 2007 budget indicates annual net assets of $2.2 million, annual revenue of $61.3 million, and annual expenditures of $59.1 million. 
  • Gautreaux took the helm of the Sheriff’s Office in January, 2008:
    •  2008 budget figures indicate annual net assets of $3.3 million, annual revenue of $68.5 million, and annual expenditures of $65.2 million. 
    • This is an increase of $7.1 million in annual revenue, and an increase of $6.1 in annual spending.
    • In 2009, with Gautreaux in his second year in office, the budget indicates  he overspent to the tune of $1.9 million, with annual revenue of $72.6 million, and annual expenditures of $74.5 million. 
    • This is an increase of $4.2 million in annual revenue, and an increase in annual spending of $9.3 million.

What does this tell us? 

In two short years, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux is quickly spending the assets of the EBR Sheriff’s Office.  The revenue has increased by $11.3 million, while spending has increased by $15.4 million under his watch.

If Gautreaux continues to overspend, we are looking at a need for even more tax dollars to underwrite his spendthrift practices.  Do the math.  As we all know, if you continue to overspend, you will eventually deplete your savings.  No wonder Sheriff Gautreaux wants us to renew the tax millage. 

Although I have great respect for Tax Buster’s leader, Fred Dent, I can’t help but wonder if he took time to read the State Auditor’s reports on the Sheriff’s Office annual budget when he so readily said we should support law enforcement by voting yes to the tax renewal.

Again, I have to say NO to taxes – even though it is a renewal. 

It is important that we not endorse spendthrift practices of our tax dollars, and that we hold our elected officials accountable for balancing budgets and spending less than we take in — otherwise, we are headed down another slippery slope.

When Gautreaux ran for office, he clearly stated that he could increase services without raising taxes.  Was this just more political talk to get elected?  Why has there been such a dramatic increase in spending?  How long can we afford to spend more than we take in at the EBR Sheriff’s Office?

Mayor Kip Holden endorsed Gautreaux for Sheriff.  It all makes more sense now.  Spendthrift birds of a feather flock together.

Crime is on the increase in EBR Parish, and so is the EBRSO budget.  This speaks volumes.  Say NO to the tax renewal, and YES to spending less than we take in at the EBRSO.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Red Stick on Need to Know Basis Saturday, Oct 10 2009 

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Whether you call Mayor-President Kip Holden’s Alive! bond issue Waterworld, KipWorld, KipLand, or what it really is — a tax increase — one thing is for sure:  Voters are on a “need to know basis”.

Government is famous for the “need to know basis” that is indicative of individuals who do not want unwelcome scrutiny of their work or project.  Yet voters are intelligent enough to know that anytime there is a lack of information there is a reason. 

Former shadow mayor Walter Monsour was awarded a new position with a compensation package of $365,000 as the head of the East Baton Rouge Parish Redevelopment Authority.  That’s quite a little compensation package given the fact that he has been totally free to spend the majority of his time as a consultant and advisor to Mayor Kip Holden on the Alive! project.  Then again, it’s tax dollars, so who cares.  Right?

Now, do you understand how Red Stick politics works?

JR Ball of the Baton Rouge Business Report is digging deeper into the Alive! controversy and painting it in a very accurate light.  Yesterday, Ball portrayed Holden’s bond issue as a campaign coming undone with Alive! barely hanging on life support.  His acknowledgement that anyone not agreeing blindly with Holden and his entourage are immediately attacked hit the nail on the head.  In fact, it’s just further proof of the “need to know basis” campaign that Holden and his entourage have been running.

It’s pretty simple folks, and I know you are smart enough (given the facts) to figure it out.  2 + 2 = 4  

Buyer beware!  There is not one investor worth his salt that would invest nearly a billion dollars without having every inch of the detail of the deal.  Ask the Donald.  Any acquisition requires an extensive Due Diligence in order to be assured you are making a wise decision.  It’s common sense!

Oh, I suppose if you are spending someone else’s money (like the taxpayers) you might not worry about doing a comprehensive checklist of crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s.  This is what our Mayor and his entourage have done.  It’s a sad commentary on city-parish government and what has been going on behind the scenes for years.

Alas!  We wanted NEW, fresh leaders on the EBR Parish City Council.  We got them.  Thank God!  They are like the new kids on the block and I feel like a proud parent cheering them on from the sidelines.  They are to be commended for their leadership and inquiring minds.  Joel Boe’ caught my eye as did Trae Welch, Chandler Loupe, Scott Wilson, Alison Cascio and Tara Wicker.  Go, Go, Go!  You do your jobs by representing the people:  VOX POPULI is your cry.  You are even converting and giving wings to potential leaders like Smokie Bourgeois.  There is strength in numbers!

Citizen Kane, also known as Lane Grigsby, has long been a huge supporter of electing fresh new leaders with a vision of the future and the ability to effect change.  Lane understands the principle that he will not be here forever and wants to leave a legacy of strong young leaders behind to carry on.  He has been highly criticized from time to time for his political antics, and I cannot always endorse his methods.  As they say, though, to know him is to love him if you understand his motivation to see new leadership rise to the top.   He was responsible for some of these new leaders.  Thank you Lane!

All of these things that I have screamed from my soap box for the last few years tie together.  The voters need to be informed, active and not dismissed.  Politicians need to be more open and honest.  We are adults here and we do not need to be coddled or treated on a “need to know basis”. 

As in my profile, I always say and believe that if the people are provided with the full picture they can make an informed decision.  All of our decisions may not be right, but at least we have the facts and will learn from our mistakes. 

Government spending is out of control.  No one will argue that fact.  At the same time, while we are excited about LSU, Pennington Biomedical, Perkins Rowe, and the widening of I-12, we still have a long way to go in properly funneling and controlling city-parish spending.  I will never give up my belief that the people of this parish need to be respected and treated like first class citizens and not sheep being led into the voting booth for slaughter.

Get out the black vote?  Give them info on a need to know basis?  Stand on polls that show a 93% favorable rating?  Promise no more downtown studies while we are studying away?  Tell them what we think they want to hear?  All of these things are based on political strategies that may have worked in the past, but no more.  Enough is enough! 

While Holden and his entourage may have the support of organizations that receive city-parish funding such as the Redevelopment Authority, Downtown Development District and Baton Rouge Area Chamber, there is a larger and more important constituency that is against the Alive! bond issue.

Never underestimate the power of the voters.  If you believe a woman scorned was difficult to deal with, welcome to the world of enlightened voters.

Until the next time,

Red Stick Republican

Secrets of the Red Stick Sunday, Sep 27 2009 

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It’s easy to understand why some refer to the Red Stick as “Kip World” or “Kipland” if you simply check the Webster’s Dictionary.  The definition of despotism is an individual or tight knit group of individuals that rule with absolute political power. 

Now we are getting to where the rubber meets the road in East Baton Rouge Parish. 

For those who are unaware of the tremendous political power held by a handful of individuals in the Red Stick, you need only to keep your ear to the ground and read carefully between the lines.  

History was not my favorite subject in school, but now I completely understand the importance of the past in order to understand the present.

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 changed little for Holden’s political ventures.  Last year, former Councilman David Bonneno proposed a tax decrease for businesses in regard to new equipment and machinery.  Monsour quickly put a halt to the proposal at the direction of Holden. 

Now, Holden wants us to pay more taxes and build a downtown Epcot.  Holden took exception to the term ‘Epcot’ though it was birthed by the Downtown Development District, one of the main drivers of the proposed Audubon Alive! project — not the media as Holden claimed.

Holden makes a lot of claims that have no substance.  Examples include claiming there is no ownership issue with the proposed site for Alive! when in fact there is an issue with the railroad that was never resolved — or that he plans to have the state fund the $40 million required to raise the batture out of the swamp when in fact there was no discussion or approval. 

It’s part of the Secrets of the Red Stick that those in power hope we won’t notice or discuss.  I refuse to aspire to that mandate.  Instead, I will continue to ask the tough questions of our leaders and hope the newfound questions by the media will continue on behalf of the community they are charged with representing. 

The fact that the EBR Parish Metro Council was not made privy to these issues is proof in itself that Mayor Kip Holden believes he is large and in charge with no regard for others.  In fact, just yesterday it was revealed that Clerk of Court Doug Welborn was not told by Holden that his office was to be moved until Welborn viewed a slide show presentation.  Amazing!

Our community, political and business leaders need to realize that to whom much is given, much is required.  Their legacies should not be rooted in higher taxes, building larger buildings and entertainment complexes, or funding organizations that duplicate services. 

We can no longer ignore the obvious.  The truth is that our leaders are allowing Mayor-President Kip Holden and his entourage to spend millions of dollars at taxpayer’s expense while our real needs go unmet in the Red Stick.

The truth is painful. 

We can never be the next greatest city as long as we have children that are hungry, women that are abused, men that are absentee fathers, teenagers that are committing more crimes than in the history of our parish.  So much so that District Attorney Hillar Moore is proposing a full blown truancy program.

As long as we spend $500,000 annually to fund the Baton Rouge Area Chamber for economic development and approve contracts in the amount of $49,999 so that these expenditures do not have to be made public at Metro Council meetings, we are allowing Mayor Holden and his entourage to fail us as leaders. 

I suppose I shouldn’t even mention the hours spent doing ‘security sweeps’ by the Mayor’s security team before he enters facilities?  All the while witnesses to crime cannot be protected and murderers are set free.  It’s a  slap in the face to victims and their families.

Meanwhile, our citizens are tracking in the sludge from a failing sewer system into their homes making their children sick.  Perhaps it is true this is one reason our staph infection is at an all time high in the Red Stick? 

What on earth are we doing here in the Red Stick?  When will this madness stop?  At what point will JUST ONE LEADER in our community stand up and demand that we stop the excessive spending and taxation? Where is Tax Busters and Fred Dent when you need them?

If we truly want to be America’s next greatest city, we will stop the insanity of city-parish spending, address a failing sewer system as promised, house our inmates in tents as promised, have a no-tolerance for crime stand as promised, stop raising taxes, stop duplicating services, stop creating contracts for campaign contributors, and stop attacking those who question these ungodly practices.  Questioning is our duty!  These are the Secrets of the Red Stick that are injustices to our citizens.  

Somehow we have lost our way.  As a mayoral candidate, Rolfe McCollister, Jr. said, “I don’t believe in taxing our way to prosperity”.    What changed?

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

Red Stick’s Bermuda Triangle Wednesday, Sep 23 2009 

Alas! The Advocate has a reporter that has researched and revealed that Mayor Kip Holden and his entourage have not done their due diligence in regard to land use for his proposed Audubon Alive!  As mentioned previously in my posts, who do you know that would plan to build a $229 million complex without clearing the land title?  Better yet, why should your tax dollars be spent financing a project without title clearance?    Kudos to Michelle Millhollon for her excellent article in  this morning’s newspaper!

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Along the edge of the Mighty Mississippi sits a 22 acre triangular-shaped piece of property in the Red Stick that some believe is our Bermuda Triangle.  It is a batture that is partially underwater and can be viewed here.

For 10 years the Downtown Development District, City of Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana, and The Audubon Institute have presented the tax payers with various scenarios for this batture on the riverfront.  From sports venues to DeSoto Park to Audubon Alive! ideas have been pursued, and sometimes partially funded.  

BREC was shut out years ago from potential involvement, even though all parks in our parish are overseen by them.  Why wouldn’t BREC be involved in a new park, and a potential moneymaking venture?  Some say the decision was political.

The Audubon Institute convinced city and state officials in 2002 that this same property should be the site of DeSoto Park. 

In 2004, unfortunately, the courts ruled that the State of Louisiana did not own the batture across from the Pentagon Barracks, and that the railroad had owned the property for over 130 years.  This immediately halted forward movement of the proposed DeSoto Park.

One of the major issues, besides ownership, was the fact that the property is under water and floods regularly.  In order to address this problem, a proposed expenditure of $41 million was required to ‘raise the dirt’ in order to avoid future flooding. 

At that time the State of Louisiana’s financial coffers were supposedly overflowing and the money was approved to address potential flooding issues.

The State of Louisiana, however, stopped the project immediately and DeSoto Park was no more than a bad memory in the minds of state officials who failed to run a check on who owned the property.  I suppose this would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. 

Who do you know that can or would build any project without having all the proper land clearances in advance?  

To add insult to injury, $11 million was already spent according to Commissioner of Administration Mark Drennan, with Coastal Bridge Contractors in Phase I of DeSoto Park.  Though attorney Charles Landry and DDD Director Davis Rhorer claimed they expected an agreement to happen, the project did not make a comeback, and the land remains for the most part under water.  My research did not result in an explanation of those funds Drennan said were spent other than the fact that the work had begun and stopped abruptly.

Perhaps this will help you to understand why I am so adamate over the lack of details for the proposed Alive! project. 

Unwise decisions and careless spending of our tax dollars is of no concern to politicians.  After all, it is not their personal monies involved — it’s yours. 

Imagine knowing you have millions of dollars at your disposal to fund your pet peeve projects on someone else’s dime, and full disclosure isn’t required in advance of your vote to fund the projects. 

Perhaps the best question to ask is why is this information not laid out in its entirety for taxpayers?  Maybe its because the math doesn’t add up? 

The Audubon Nature Institute has an annual payroll of over $6.6 million annually according to their financial reports.  They indicate 600 employees on their payroll and 518 volunteers required to run their properties.  The Institute runs the Zoo, the Park, the Insectarium, the Wolberg Park, Research Center, Survival Center, Imax and Aquarium.  If this is the case, how does Mayor Holden expect us to believe that we will generate 1,000 jobs upward to 2,000 jobs permanently for Alive!? 

There is no doubt that Audubon and all their entities are great attractions.  Our family has enjoyed them for years.  Let’s not get caught up in the pitch.  We should demand, as taxpayers, the accurate detailed information. 

Of course, if you don’t provide all the details, you can’t be held accountable.  Can you?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Are THEY right? Tuesday, Sep 15 2009 

 

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Political consultant, Roy Fletcher, said, “In politics, when you have to make a case that is not believed by the people, you better have a lot of money to make that case, because they don’t believe it in the first place.” 

Fletcher was referring to Mayor Kip Holden’s bond issue, and the fact that the people didn’t believe in it enough to pass it last fall.

Obviously money will continue to be spent on a public relations campaign targeting voters in hopes they will buy into accepting higher taxes.  Where does this money come from, and how can we find out how much is being spent?

George Kennedy, another consultant, tries to make the argument that the bond proposal pays for itself.  This is almost laughable.  If it paid for itself and was ‘free’ as Kennedy claims, we wouldn’t need a tax.  Maybe Holden should hire Kennedy to sell this wacko political spin?   

Who are the Redstick’s watchdogs?  

Not our newspaper.  The Advocate questions Jindal, but not Holden on transparency issues because they have an axe to grind with Jindal.  Everyone knows McCollister, publisher of the Baton Rouge Business Report, served as a finance chair to Jindal.  Cutting into The Advocate’s market share just adds insult to injury.  

The owners of the newspaper have made it clear that if Alive! happens, they will be pleased because it would raise the property value of their former headquarters downtown.  With newspaper sales down, they probably need to sell the building.

BRAC, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and BRAF, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, are not our watchdogs either.  BRAC and BRAF work hand-in-hand and BRAC receives $500,000 annually from Mayor Kip Holden to be the economic development arm for the parish.  They are part of Holden’s entourage.

The same goes for the Downtown Development District.  The DDD receives far too much funding and support from Mayor-President Kip Holden to  speak out against his administration.  In fact, he and Davis Rhorer, executive director, are close allies.  Besides, they have far too much invested in this tax package.

Sometimes it is up to us, the voters, to be the watchdogs. 

We, the voters, have already spoken once on this issue, and our answer was no!  72% of East Baton Rouge Parish voters turned out last fall and voted against a tax increase.  Instead of taking voters at face value, they say that Holden and his entourage have decided to bank on lower turnout to pass the proposal.

Perhaps the coffee shop talk is accurate?  If they know their facts, then funding for the public relations campaign such as Progress Is comes from Holden’s entourage and his political contributors. 

Whether they are correct or not, city-parish government has NO business spending OUR tax dollars building a tourist attraction.  Who came up with this idea? 

Some say the financing of Audubon Alive! makes building a prison more palatable to the average voter.  One thing is for sure, the economic impact figures are highly inflated.  No big surprise, they usually are.

If Alive! is such a great potential moneymaker, let the Audubon Institute raise private funds and add it to their array of facilities. 

By the way, have you checked their financial records lately? 

All of the Audubon Institute facilities combined brought in $10.3 million last year in admissions with only three facilities operated in the black:  the Zoo, the Insectarium, and the Park.  All of these facilities lost money:  IMAX, Aquarium, Wolberg, Research Center, and Survival Centers. 

That includes an annual tax millage totaling $7.2 million.  It’s always good to do your homework.  Trust me, Holden’s public relations package won’t be sharing this kind of information with taxpayers! 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Politics Wins Out Thursday, Sep 3 2009 

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On days such as these, there is little that needs to be said other than to share the facts:

Councilman Rodney “Smokie” Bourgeois said he disagreed with Mayor Kip Holden’s approach for the impending bond issue claiming it was a MISTAKE BASED ON HIS CONSTITUENT’S FEEDBACK BUT WOULD GO ALONG WITH THE MAYOR ANY WAY.

Congratulations Smokie!  You have now graduated from Professor Kip’s School of Politics!

Welcome to Kip’ World folks! 

Who needs a new downtown project like Alive! when we have our own hurricane reinactment in the heart of the Metro Council Chambers? It may not be as exciting as a new Audubon project, but it is certainly as costly to the citizens of the Red Stick.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

P.S.  Kudos to the ONLY three council persons who voted according to their constituents:  Alison Cascio, Joel Boe’, and Scott Wilson  If they can survive the Holden administration, they will be leaders to keep an eye on . . .

Who’s the New Kid? Friday, Aug 7 2009 

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There may be a new sheriff in town, but the guy we have our eye on is the new kid on the Metro Council.  Yep, that’s him.  The one who stood up for his constituents.  Right.  The guy with the funny name.  Boe’.

Joel Boe’ is a 32 year old project manager for a local construction company, who made his first run at politics winning the District 9 Metro Council seat last October with over 64% of the vote. 

During his campaign, Boe’ made it clear that he felt Mayor-President Kip Holden’s bond issue contained components that were sorely needed in our parish. 

At the same time, Boe’ said he had concerns the bond issue would not pass last fall, and told The Advocate he would like to “see the bond proposal split up to allow voters to decide which aspects of the plan they want to support”.

Once Boe’ called for the Metro Council to include the northern parts of EBR Parish (Baker, Zachary and Central) he was sorely chastised by Mayor Kip Holden.  (The Mayor’s harsh words came because Boe’ disagreed with Holden’s plan to exclude the portions of the parish that caused last fall’s vote to fail.)

As I mentioned in Bully Mayor Holden Bully, our Mayor doesn’t like it when someone disagrees with him.  Once they do, he runs amuck to the media in a no-holds bar plan of action against his intended target by ranting and raving nonsense.  Holden shows his true colors and disdain for anyone who dares to disagree.  

There really is something special about leaders who are willing to ask the tough questions.  The ones that stand by their convictions.  To do so is definitely not in step with the path of least resistance.  Nor is it a ticket to winning some of the powerfully influential politicians who prefer to manage by intimidation and control.

So, what will happen to the new kid on the block?  I suppose time will tell. 

It is my hope that Boe’ will spur on other young leaders to step up to the plate, speak their minds, represent the people (not the few, but the many no matter what part of our parish they reside).  That we will support Boe’ and those like him.

I would love to see us prove that we DO want new, fresh leadership that will help us see the bigger issues.  That these new leaders do not have to fold their hands because their opinions are different than those in ‘control’.

No doubt Joel’s parents are proud of him.  He comes from good stock.  I have not seen him, nor spoken to his parents in many years.  Ralph and Linda, I applaud you.  As I watch from afar, I am excited to see the fruits of your labor.  Thank you for equipping the new kid on the block with the tools he needs to serve us in his new capacity.

To Joel, keep on doing what you believe is right.  Do not be discouraged or dismayed.  With bright young leaders such as yourself, we CAN be the next greatest city in America. 

My hope has been renewed.   

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Mayor Kip “Spendthrift” Holden Thursday, Feb 5 2009 

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Mayor Kip Holden never ceases to amaze me with his spendthrift plans for taxpayers of East Baton Rouge Parish.  While the entire country continues to make cutbacks, “our Mayor” seeks out new ways to hit voters in the pocketbook.  Since his tax plan failed last fall, he has continued to seek out ways to get around voters and fund his own selfish desires to spend our money extravagantly.

Attention Mayor Holden:  Every dime you spend has to find a source.  That source is the taxpayers.  Ever heard of saving money?  Has the thought struck you to find ways to cut back spending?  Evidently not!

Some of Mayor Holden’s latest spendthrift philosophies include:

  • Going to Washington, D.C. to ask for $800 million of President Obama’s stimulus package.  Instead of encouraging Washington against spending more of our tax dollars and reducing long-term debt, Holden is vying for funding of his special projects.  He was so bold as to say he should “come out of there with a pretty good chunk of change”. 
  • Asking the EBRP Metro Council to spend $1 million for land to put up a parking lot. 
  • Spending $17 million to expand the River Center that expands meeting rooms from 8 to 15 for the upcoming bowling congress. 
  • Renewed a $500,000 contract with BRAC (Baton Rouge Area Chamber) for economic development of EBR Parish.  This brings total payments to BRAC in the amount of $1.5 million since 2007.
  • Pushed through a $110 million bond issue for the Green Light Plan with the new Metro Council even though the CSRS project manager could not specify which projects would be funded.  What the ?

To add insult to injury, Mayor Holden is planning on pushing his $989 million tax proposal again this fall to voters, and excluding any benefit to the bedroom communities of Central, Baker and Zachary.  (These areas helped defeat the tax proposition.)  Interesting.

As of January 1, 2009, our spendthrift Mayor Kip Holden has already spent or has plans to spend a grand total over $928 million in tax dollars.  When you add the proposed tax plan this fall of $989 million in new tax dollars, you come up with a super grand total of $1,918,000,000 (yes that is $1 billion $918 million).

Wow!  This unrestrained spending by Holden must stop!  It was no secret I did not support Holden for Mayor.  I believe he lives with reckless abandon in so many ways and spending our tax dollars is probably #1 on his agenda.

At what point will Mayor Kip “Spendthrift” Holden stop?  Where is the old watchdog group TaxBusters when we need them?  Fred Dent, are you out there?  (Gotta give ole’ Fred credit for speaking out against the $500,000 BRAC expenditure – so I know he’s out there!)  Watchdogs are an important necessity when we have a Mayor that insists on spending vs. cutting back in these troubled times.

I cannot stand by and listen how great our community is doing from Mayor Holden and how we need two new downtown hotels when I read in the Business Report how our downtown hotel business is down 14-17% from this time last year.  Of course it is, FEMA guests stimulated our hotel industry . . . temporarily!  Wake up folks!

Mayor Holden is definitely out of control on spending.  We are one month into his new term and he already has visions of an increase of nearly $2 billion in spending.  When will the madness stop?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican