EBR Crime Statistics Sunday, Feb 19 2012 

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

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

There are a lot of different statistics to consider: 

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

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

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  (EBRSO stats are from 2009; a bit out of date guys!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is that candidate? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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EBR Parish Crime Commission Moot Sunday, Feb 5 2012 

Here we go again!  The local East Baton Rouge Crime Commission, according to Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, “is a dead issue” for voters of our parish in the Spring.  More bureaucracy, more delays to address one of the most critical issues of our parish — CRIME!

The Crime Commission includes law enforcement agency heads, the District Attorney, a Metro Council representative and the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ Mayor-President’s office (who originally balked at the idea because it was not his own, claiming he addressed some of the issues in his past tax issues.)

No doubt, we have a huge crime problem in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Residents of the Red Stick have made this a daily conversation at the dinner table, water cooler, twitter, facebook, etc.  It’s a huge concern for anyone living in our parish.

For some time, I have addressed the serious crime issues of our parish, and my personal concern as I watched an escalating problem in the Red Stick.  All you have to do is view the murder rate map at The Advocate to see how serious the murder rate alone has become for our parish.

The EBR Parish Crime Commission has discussed issues many issues such as:

  • Building a new prison at a cost of $165 million — an issue I absolutely do not understand.  When Sheriff Sid Gautreaux was elected, he clearly stated that he would increase the beds and capacity at the current prison through modular housing by aggressively pursuing federal grants.  (The Advocate, September 30, 2007, Sheriff Candidates Differ on Details) This promise has not happened!
  • Creating a new Juvenile Services Facility at a cost of $45 million.  This is an initiative of District Attorney Hillar Moore. 
  • A new/shared Public Safety Headquarters housing the Baton Rouge Police Department and the EBR Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $102 million.
  • Increasing space for a Addiction Treatment Facility at a cost of $2.5 to $5.5 million (a widely proposed cost with no definitive cost).
  • Additional funding for the District Attorney’s Office at $5 million.  This expense also includes ‘other unspecified operation costs for other law enforcement agencies’.  (Costs that should be clarified down to the penny!)

There is a lot of complexity in the facts surrounding these proposed public safety (crime) infrastructure improvements such as land that was purchased by the city parish that has yet to have been used, lease agreements, donated land, money owed to the city parish by some agencies, the precise size of facilities yet to be agreed upon, etc.

Side issues that were also considered:  a Truancy Jail, a Misdemeanor Jail, and taking over the soon-to-be-abandoned Woman’s Hospital as a Public Safety Headquarters.

To add insult to one part of this plan is the fact that Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says that it will take $1 million annually to operate a new Parish Prison, which he does not have in his annual operating budget.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, one of the largest failings of the Crime Commission aka Crime Prevention Committee was to include the Judges that rule the bench and the Legislators from our parish.

We can complain about crime while law enforcement arrests offenders, but it is the Legislators that create the laws governing our parish and the Judges that enforce those laws. 

Until we include everyone that has a say in the laws and sentencing of criminals, we are putting a band-aid on the problem of crime in our parish.

If a perpetrator commits murder, it is up to the laws of the land and the interpretation and enforcement of those laws that really matter.

Judges, the District Attorney and Law Makers are key to carrying out the proper sentences before a perpetrator stands before a Judge and/or Jury.  If the law doesn’t have enough bite, if the DA doesn’t go for the strongest sentence possible, and if the Judge doesn’t rule to keep the perpetrators in jail until and after sentencing, we are wasting our time on the other issues.

I am sorely disappointed that we have yet to find a Mayor-President for this parish that will make public safety the #1 priority.  All of the false campaign promises of a Sheriff that promised to increase housing at the prison and a Mayor that said we will not tolerate crime has worn my patience thin.

All the while, criminals are trolling our city committing horrific crimes on our citizens.  Once arrested, if they are identified, they are bonded out by Judges and allowed to serve menial sentences that put them back on the streets to commit more crime.

Any law enforcement officer worth his salt, will tell you that the majority of perpetrators are repeat offenders.  When will we address the heart of the problem?

It begins with the law and is followed by the Judges that we must hold accountable.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

Valid Question for Red Stick Saturday, Jul 11 2009 

KidsPlaying

Whose life is more valuable? Mayor-President Kip Holden or witnesses to violent crime in our parish? Sounds like an ignorant question, but it is a valid one.

Records released last year showed that three bodyguards making between $42k and $68k each worked for Holden.  This means your tax dollars will pay between $336,000 and $544,000 over an eight year period while Kip Holden serves as Mayor.  Holden is currently serving his second term in office. 

Holden also is chauffered in a Lincoln Town Car that costs taxpayers $642 per month according to public records.  That equates to $61,632 for 8 years.  Can’t you buy a car for that leased price for less?  Don’t get me started on the extravagant spending that comes out of his office.  It is a slap in the face to taxpayers of our parish.

See how quick it is to find $600,000 in budget cuts?  This is not rocket science folks, and it doesn’t take a CPA to figure it out!

On the other hand, East Baton Rouge voters were recently told there is not enough money in the coffers to protect witnesses of violent crimes in our parish.  Newly elected District Attorney, Hillar Moore, found out he is fighting an uphill battle for funding to protect witnesses.  If there is a way out of this mess, I know Moore will find it.  He has my vote of confidence.

Therefore, the logical answer on the table is: 

Whose life is more valuable? 

You see, in order for us to clean up crime in our parish, we must ask the hard questions of ourselves. 

I have heard consistently from Chief Jeff Leduff that he does not have the resources to protect witnesses.  Recently, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux touted the problem with witnesses not coming forward.  And they wonder why?

Just two weeks ago, another witness to a violent murder in our city was killed.  I wrote about this in great detail in the story, 5 Related Murders in EBRP

The Mayor waited until AFTER we had one of the bloodiest months and highest incidences of violent crime in our parish to finally go on TV and say enough is enough. 

We have to pull the funds from ridiculous expenditures and spend the money where it is needed.  “Building new jails is not the answer” as told to us by former candidate for EBR Sheriff Dalton Honore’. 

Let’s dig deeper than talking about taxes to build new prisons.  We must drive much further into neighborhoods than talking on the news. 

So, back to the valid question of the day for Red Stick citizens:  Whose life is more valuable?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Dan Claitor: Dr. Phil, please help me! Tuesday, Mar 24 2009 

Update:  The Advocate has finally revealed statistics on Dan Claitor’s legal work including the fact that he does practice as a personal injury attorney and has handled 66 criminal court cases.  They fail to mention the full array of clients he has represented, including murderers.  Nevertheless, they do finally acknowledge, in effect, that he is a trial attorney. 

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Today’s Dr. Phil show focuses on internal negative dialogue that prevents us from facing the real truth about ourselves.  Grab some popcorn, sit back, relax and learn!

Dr. Phil:  Today, my guest is Dan Claitor, candidate for senate District 16.  I received a call from some of Dan’s friends and family members who are concerned about the confusion he has created and today we hope to get to the bottom of it so Dan can focus on the truth.  When we face the truth, we eliminate the confusion in our minds and the minds of others.  Welcome, Dan!

Dan Claitor:  Hello, Dr. Phil.  (rolls his eyes)

Dr. Phil:  Dan, there is no doubt about it – you have been sending some mixed messages, and people are concerned.  First you said you were an assistant district attorney, then a prosecuting attorney, then a business attorney, and now you claim you are a maritime attorney.  You ran for district attorney and a few months later you decided you wanted to be a senator.  Isn’t this correct?

Dan Claitor:  No response

Dr. Phil:  Dan, I can’t help you if you don’t cooperate.  Aren’t these facts true?

Dan Claitor:  Yes

Dr. Phil:  Dan, today I have invited a few of your former law partners to help us sort this out.  Everyone, please welcome personal injury and trial attorneys, Greg Murphy and Chandler Loupe. 

Audience:  (applauds)

Dr. Phil:  Now, Greg and Chandler have agreed to help Dan figure out who he really is today.  In order to accomplish this, we need to take a short walk down memory lane.  Let’s start with Chandler.  Chandler, would you please explain to us your relationship with Dan.

Chandler Loupe:  I am a personal injury attorney, and Dan was my former law partner, along with Greg.  I now have my own firm and specialize in wrongful death, chemical exposure and other typical trial attorney cases.  Right Greg?

Greg Murphy:  That’s right Chandler.  Dr. Phil, I am also a personal injury attorney and one of my specialties are maritime accidents.  We were all three partners, but now I have a new partner and firm.  Perhaps this is why Dan lists maritime law?

Dan Claitor:  I am not a trial attorney.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, it’s important that you face the truth today.  Denial is not just a river in Egypt, and you can’t move forward if you don’t face the past. 

Dan Claitor:  Can’t you help me out by just talking about Lee Domingue, my opponent.  That seems to keep the focus off of me!

Dr. Phil:  (ignoring that comment)  Now, Dan, according to The Advocate and Times Picayune, you represented numerous cases of a personal injury nature.  These cases include suits you filed, on behalf of your clients, against various law enforcement agencies.  What about the cocaine distribution case where you filed a $750,000 law suit and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court about an illegally obtained search warrant.  Do you remember representing that client? 

Dan Claitor:  Vaguely.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, what about the case where you sued a city in Louisiana claiming that your client deserved more money because the man who assaulted your client was their employee at the time of the incident? 

Dan Claitor:  Vaguely

Dr. Phil:   Dan, do you have any recollection of being a law partner with these two personal injury attorneys?  Do YOU have any memory of being a trial attorney?

Dan Claitor:  Vaguely

Chandler Loupe:  C’mon Dan!

Greg Murphy:  Dan, please!

Dan Claitor:  Yes I remember, but I am running for the high office of Senate in one of the most conservative districts in the state and that part of my life is something I prefer to not face.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, this is why there is so much confusion surrounding your desire to be in politics.  Voters expect politicians to make mistakes, but they are looking for candidates that know who they are and are willing to reveal their background.  Confusion circling your identity is not positive, and today we want to simply help you to face the facts.  The truth will set you free, Dan!

Dan Claitor:  I would rather talk about the other candidate.  I learned, as a prosecutor, to attack others on the witness stand.  I prefer to watch them squirm. 

Dr. Phil:  Dan, we have one more special guest today that might shed some light on your state of denial.  Please welcome East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney, Hillar Moore.

Hillar Moore:  (walks out in baseball jersey and cap while holding a bat)

Dr. Phil:  (laughing)  Hillar, welcome!  Tell the audience why a DA would dress in baseball attire. 

Hillar Moore:  Dr. Phil, thank you for inviting me today.  This is my way of letting Dan know that his attacks against me in the campaign for district attorney didn’t work.  He is very passive-aggressive, and tried to discredit me to the public by making my community service as a baseball coach a reason to not elect me.  It didn’t work, I’m the new DA!

Dan Claitor:  Hillar, let’s not talk about my past, okay?

Dr. Phil:  Dan, that’s why we are here today.  I want to give you some homework!  I want you to write these words, “I was a trial attorney”.  I need you to write them down 5,000 times, and hopefully the truth will sink in your head. 

Dan Claitor:  I can’t do that.

Dr. Phil:  Dan, okay, let’s try this:  just take these contrasting comments you have made over the past year or so, and study them every day for one week, please!  (hands Dan a list that pops up on the large screen)  Dan, this list will help you face your confusion.  For instance, you said you would be ‘tough on crime’ in the last political race you ran, but you represented the likes of drug dealers and drunk drivers.  All I want you to do is to see the confusion in your own mind, and therefore, in the mind of the voters of district 16.

Dan Claitor:  (grabs his cellphone and texts Marsha Shuler at The Advocate)

Dr. Phil:  I’m not sure we made much progress today, but I want my listeners to know that in order for you to serve the people effectively, that you must first serve the truth.  Facing who you are is a good start.  If we can face who we are, we can better express to others who we really are behind our mask.  Go to my website and read more about finding your authentic self and how not to be at odds with your public persona.  Take my authenticity litmus test and become a better you.  I want to thank Dan for at least showing up today and hope he will agree to face his past so he can have a clearer future.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

What Makes Dan Claitor Tick? Tuesday, Mar 17 2009 

trial-lawyer 

A couple days ago, I wrote a story on what makes Lee Domingue tick.  Today is Dan Claitor’s turn.  Neither candidate received a majority in the primary and will face each other in the Senate District 16 run-off.  Only 749 votes separated the two front runners.

Dan Claitor made his first run for public office in the Red Stick last year for district attorney against Hillar Moore, and announced his decision to run for senate right after Moore was sworn in as DA.

Claitor grew up in the Red Stick working in his formative years at his family’s book store, Claitors.  A graduate in finance, he decided to not pursue a career in that field and chose law.  For nearly 3 years he was an assistant prosecutor in Orleans Parish, leaving to open a private practice in 1990 as a trial lawyer.

A search for Claitor’s name in regard to community involvement did not produce any results to speak of.  Past senators of this district were active in community and/or their church. 

Claitor told The Advocate he spends time in his legal practice and handling the Claitor family assets including real estate and publishing holdings.

Claitor’s campaign finance reports indicate majority contributions from himself, the Claitor family and their holdings and trial attorneys.  Just Follow the money.

One of Claitor’s contributors on his 2/5/09 report includes FAIR, a PAC chaired by Alton Ashy according to the Louisiana Ethics website.  Ashy, a big time lobbyist for the gambling industry, criticized Governor Blanco for calling his donations “dirty gambling money” in an attempt to proclaim the gaming industry is a legitimate business.  Ashy normally works on behalf of Democrats and is closely aligned with the Democratic Party.

According to The Old River Road bloggers, Claitor perfected his art of mud slinging by hiring the same firmthat created the mailer last year exposing Mayor Kip Holden’s alleged affair.  This is evidenced in one of Claitor’s finance reports

Claitor has a passive aggressive approach of attack.  In forums and to the media, he makes ‘suggestions‘ such as when he attacked the Governor regarding his endorsement of Domingue saying it needed to ‘be investigated by the press’

During his run against Hillar Moore, he responded ‘I earned my endorsements’ ‘suggesting‘ his opponent received his otherwise. 

A pattern has developed; we are creatures of habit.  It is befitting for a trial attorney to suggest reasonable doubt.  These patterns reveal Claitor’s mindset, and such actions are far from subtle to the voters.

Claitor told The Advocate “although some folks might consider being a lawyer a bad thing, I think it’s a good thing down at the legislature”.  Claitor defines himself as an attorney, always omitting the fact that he is a trial lawyer.  On google he is listed as a personal injury attorney.

Laurinda Calongne, also went back on her word that she would not endorse, originally saying, “the people of the district have the good sense to evaluate the candidates”.   Days later she chose to endorse Claitor.  Claitor attacked her in the primary for being a lobbyist and for her faith.    Ironically, in an interesting twist, Claitor now embraces Calongne’s endorsement.  Politics make for strange bedfellows.

Claitor opposed rezoning for Acadian Village fearing visitors would park at his property across the street.  Response from council member, Micky Skyring, was that he ‘doubted anyone would walk across busy Acadian Thruway’.   The zoning was approved.

In all fairness, and based on information released about his opponents, it is important to mention that Claitor has had several lawsuits filed against him as well. 

Public records show a $3,000,000 default loan that was allegedly in default according to Chase Bank for the Claitor family including R. G. Claitor’s Realty which lists Dan Claitor as a partner according to the Secretary of State.  The suit was dropped when an agreement was reached to refinance the loan and interest was paid, according to The Advocate. 

Other public records indicate both Claitor and his partners had suits filed against them.  Disposition of the cases are not listed.  Though these plaintiffs may not be from prominent Red Stick families, I am sure they felt their litigation was just as important. 

Candidates are famous for attacking opponent’s records without realizing their own records are open for inspection.  Perhaps Claitor’s strategy is to make his opponent’s records the only transparent ones? 

Only one case is listed in the Times Picayune regarding a case Claitor prosecuted.  A 19 year old perpetrator shot a man twice in the chest and once in the back.  The murderer received only 42 years in prison.  I would have hoped he received life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

I guess what makes Claitor tick is more difficult for me to figure out.  He has served as a trial lawyer and an assistant prosecutor which sends somewhat of a mixed message.  Maybe his passive-aggressive nature is a key to what makes him tick? 

Based on the conservatives that have held the District 16 Senate seat in the past, it begs the question:  Do you really want a trail lawyer to serve as your next senator?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

Senate District 16’s David & Goliath Friday, Mar 13 2009 

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The District 16 Senate race reminds me of the biblical story of David & Goliath.

Claitor, I mean Goliath, was a tall Philistine, and quite the bully.  Every day Goliath would send out the word through his minions attacking and mocking the Israelites while daring them to fight – a somewhat passive-aggressive approach.

Domingue, I mean David, was of small stature, and was a servant to his brothers laboring and sharing with others freely.  David had a brave heart and refused to wear armor in his fight against Goliath.  Instead, armed with simplicity – a simple slingshot and 5 smooth stones he took on the bully.  

David won his battle.  We love David because he was the underdog, and we identify with him because he no one likes a bully. 

Claitor proved himself a bully in the last political race he ran against District Attorney Hillar Moore.  His passive-aggressive stabs at Moore were to no avail.  Insinuations about Moore’s contributions, endorsements and community work with our children lost the race for Claitor.

I do not personally know Domingue or Claitor, but have researched their campaign messages and personal stories. 

Claitor graduated from law school in 1987, became an assistant district attorney in Orleans Parish, and opened a private practice in 1990.  He is a trial lawyer, and told The Advocate that he spends most of his time representing his family’s holdings.  This is his second run for political office in less than one year.

Domingue is an entrepreneur.  He formerly owned an upscale car dealership that folded, and now serves as CEO of Wolters Kluwer/App One –  a business he started in the basement of a rent house that is now extremely  successful.  Domingue is also an author of Pearls of the King, a book that outlines his past personal failures and his faith in God which he says has dramatically transformed his life.  He is also the founder of Cyrus International, a not-for-profit, organization that fights against human trafficking.  This is his first run for political office.

Yesterday the District 16 Senate race took an interesting twist in this ‘battle’ when Laurinda Calongne, the losing candidate in the primary, endorsed Claitor.  This brought on an entirely new definition of political spin:

  • When Calongne ran for Congress, the political pundits attacked her for being a lobbyist and a liberal.  In this same expose’, Calongne’s contributions to democrats such as Blanco, Landrieu and Melancon caused her to be labeled a ‘friend of the Democrats’.  Claims were made that Calongne had spent far too much time in Washington and was ‘out of touch with people in the district’.
  • Just 7 weeks ago, as a candidate in Senate District 16, Calongne was attacked for her ‘missteps’ in the campaign.  She was also mocked, along with Domingue, for attending Healing Place Church and ‘appearing to be off to a fine christian start’.

Calongne must be practicing the old adage of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? 

Claitor would have beat Calongne into the ground further if he had not felt that Domingue was his strongest competition.   Even given these attacks against Calongne – Claitor and his fellow conspirators now embrace the endorsement of Calongne. 

Is this a logical decision?  No, it is simply politics in its truest form.  The strategy is clear.  Discredit and attack your opponents . . . that is, until they endorse you

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Claitor: As Predicted Wednesday, Mar 11 2009 

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Just as predicted, less than 48 hours from the primary, candidate Dan Claitor continued his attacks against fellow candidate, Lee Domingue.  This time it was targeting Domingue’s campaign staff. 

Claitor is now providing MORE erroneous information.  Is this befitting a man who wanted to be EBR Parish District Attorney just a few months ago?  Or the man who now wants to be a Louisiana Senator?

As WBRZ says, first the facts:

  • I wrote a blog about Governor Jindal asking why everyone was so surprised that he became bored so soon.  After all, Jindal has not stayed in one position more than two years.  This is the truth.  
  • Domingue’s people must have read my blog here entitled:  Dan Claitor:  The Character Assassin, and forwarded that blog via email to supporters.  Email on the internet goes around the world in 60 seconds and before the end of the day I received a copy.  Funny,  since I am not on any campaign mailing lists.
  • In turn, Claitor’s political operatives wrote a story claiming that Domingue’s people were forwarding my blog about Jindal.
  • Wrong again, Claitor!  Seems a trial attorney would get his facts straight?

Normally, I do not respond to opinions about my blog; however, I do believe it is in order to clarify a few facts since I was inadvertently targeted.  (which I find humorous and fascinating):

  • I am an independent blogger. 
  • I do not accept any campaign funds for blogging. 
  • Based on these facts, I am free to speak my mind based on the facts as I see them. 
  • Result:  That makes some people very nervous. 

To candidates like Claitor, perhaps independent blogging is a new concept? 

Politics is a full contact sport. 

The reason many registered voters do not go to the polls is because of candidates and political operatives that provide false information.  Voters often feel they are fighting a losing battle against the truth and lose hope for finding good candidates to elect.   Most voters do not have the inclination or time to research.  This leaves them open to political spin.  It frustrates them to the point that on election day they think, why bother?  I digress.

If Claitor keeps this up, he will lose one way or another.  Attacking Hillar Moore in the District Attorney’s race didn’t work, so now he is attacking another candidate in hopes of winning a different election – Senate District 16.

Furthermore, I had hoped Claitor would hit the run-off talking about his qualifications.  I truly hoped he would prove me wrong so we could have a healthy debate.  So much for wishful thinking. 

What is Claitor afraid of? 

Is this the type of behavior we can expect if he were elected?  Whatever his reasons are, I think he has proven himself unworthy of your vote.

Besides, I have not heard Lee Domingue attack Claitor yet.  If he does, then so be it – Claitor threw the first punches.  Or should I say the first dozen?

When a candidate runs for office, his life is open for inspection.  Claitor has made no bones about his opponent’s past.  What about Claitor’s past?  What is Domingue waiting for? 

Never mind that Dan Claitor, trial attorney, represented a drunken driver that hit a police officer in the Red Stick.  That’s right – a drunken driver whose blood alcohol level was .206.  (.08 = drunk while driving and if injuring someone should bring a 1st degree vehicular negligent injuring)  

According to The Advocate, Claitor said, “He’s a nice kid that made a mistake”.  How about  a huge mistake?  

The police officer was slammed into a utility pole, spent 14 days in intensive care, suffered a closed wound head injury, temporary blindness, memory loss and damage to his senses.  I guess this puts a new meaning on lowering the bar for trial attorneys?

BR police officers cannot legally campaign for candidates, but they can pull the lever.  If I were Domingue, I would contact every law enforcement officer in this parish and ask for their vote.  Somehow I feel it would be a home run for him.

Moral:  Candidates who live in glass houses and throw stones at their opponents might open their self up for more severe scrutiny.  Enough said.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Dan Claitor: The Character Assassin Monday, Mar 9 2009 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

claitor unauthorized

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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