MOHSEP Grants Misused? Saturday, Nov 5 2011 

Update:  The Baton Rouge Metro Council met yesterday to delve into the details of the Homeland Security Grant debacle.  By a majority vote, they determined it was in the best interest of the taxpayers that a full investigation take place in regard to MOHSEP, Mayor Kip Holden’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.  Unfortunately, they are giving MOHSEP until January 15th to resolve pending issues before pursuing the investigation.  Amazing how MOHSEP was able to ‘buy some time’ on the investigation.  Is this appropriate?

Perhaps a whistleblower among us might be able to shed light on the proposed investigation into the alleged misappropriations  of grant monies arising out of the office of the Mayor-President Kip Holden’s office and MOHSEP (Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness)?

According to OHSEP (Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness), both Mayor Kip Holden and JoAnne Moreau, Director of MOHSEP, refused to follow state and federal guidelines.  Basically, they did not submit the proper paperwork as follows:

  • Failure to submit complete project applications
  • Failure to present potential expenditures to the Parish Emergency Management Advisory Committee (PEMAC)
  • Failure to get GOHSEP’s, the State Administrative Agency’s (SAA), approval on intended expenditures
  • Failure to obtain Environmental Historical Preservation (EHP) assessments as required by federal law

To add insult to injury, Mayor Holden and JoAnne Moreau misspent funds, did not receive approval for certain expenditures, and failed to supply details on past and future expenditures. 

Among those issues are the spending of $159,000 used for salaries while grant rules capped total salary payments at $95,500.  There is another $362,784 in spending that will not be reimbursed by OHSEP; that money will now have to come out of the parish general fund because the Mayor already spent the money!

There is a total of $1.3 million in spending that has already taken place by Mayor Kip Holden.  The potential exists that, without the proper documentation, that funding will not be reimbursed to the city-parish from OHSEP.  You should never spend money without funding, especially when the terms of reimbursement are clear. 

One of the precedents for grant receipt is to properly complete paperwork prior to receipt, to provide detailed confirmation on the spending of grant monies, and to be good stewards of the monies received.

Good stewards.  Sometimes this concept is foreign, once power and control take priority.

There is good news, however!  Chandler Loupe, a councilman on the EBR Metro Council, flanked by Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, is making a move to request a full investigation and audit of funds received by the Mayor’s Office.  It is my hope that the full council votes next week to comply with this request.  No doubt, Mayor Kip Holden will be lobbying against this request.

Mayor Kip Holden has proven time and time again that he does not like being questioned — even when he is spending the taxpayer’s money — our money.  Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of all elected officials to comply with total transparency.  A concept that the Mayor does not embrace.

Where there is fire, there is smoke. 

The challenge set forth by anyone investigating the reason that OHSEP reallocated federal homeland security grant funding from Mayor Kip Holden and gave the authority to the Sheriff’s Office of EBRP and Ascension Parish is to find the truth.  The amount they were given authority over totals $4,033,033.

If Mayor Kip Holden and JoAnne Moreau of MOHSEP have nothing to hide, then they will embrace this investigation and provide detail necessary to get to the bottom of this issue.

Unfortunately, I fully expect Holden and Moreau to continue this debacle by not complying, refusing to participate with the investigation in a friendly manner, and continuing to hide the facts.

Holden and Moreau have been long-time compadres.  Yet, some believe that Holden will use Moreau as his scapegoat.  I disagree.  Anyone who has ever met Moreau knows she will not be thrown under anyone’s bus — including the Mayor’s.

The public deserves a full-blown investigation and the facts to be presented.  Of course, so did GOHSEP when they required that MOHSEP and the Mayor’s Office to supply details required by the grant.  All other parishes complied. 

Why didn’t Holden and Moreau comply?  The devil is in the details.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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EBRP Metro Council Attacked Saturday, Sep 24 2011 

Here we go again. 

Baton Rouge Business Report owner, Rolfe McCollister, Jr., has shown his disdain for the East Baton Rouge Metro Council in his most recent editorial focusing on a lack of vision for the Red Stick.

McCollister’s claim is that the EBRP Metro Council members lack understanding as to how a ‘vibrant riverfront’ will attract young residents that are educated as well as companies that will create jobs.

The claim is made that individuals against downtown progress want to preserve their cluster of suburbs and rarely leave a five mile radius except to travel to their jobs.

I disagree.   

On any given day, you can find venues from Perkins Rowe to shopping venues across EBR parish packed with residents from far outside of their five mile radius.  Restaurants are brimming to the gills with families and individuals (even educated ones) every day of the week. 

The other side of the coin should be considered. 

We are living in continuously changing times.  Priorities can and will evolve.  Still, a great deal of focus and funding in EBR Parish has been dedicated to the growth of downtown Baton Rouge.  

According to the Downtown Development District, over $1.8 billion was dedicated to the redevelopment of downtown from 1987 to 2008 alone, and $300 million more is on tap.  

According to the 2010 Census, the EBRP Population is 440,171.  The only figure I can find for downtown Residents is in the 4,000 range.  That is 1% of the population of our parish.  If funding for projects was determined on population alone, downtown would not have been a priority. 

There are, as we know, other factors to consider.  The question is are those factors of the utmost importance to all of the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish?

The City of Pittsburgh was cited by McCollister as a ‘best practice’ example for a successful growth of city.  Former Pittsburgh Mayor, Tom Murphy, recently spoke at the Growth Summit hosted in Baton Rouge.  It was there that we heard the challenge of the importance of not pandering to the “lowest common denominator”. 

Unfortunately, this phrase is now being used to refer to anyone disagreeing with a $1,000,000 expenditure to build a stage canopy and art design in downtown Baton Rouge.

Furthermore, such characteristics as small minds, visionless, blind to the future, myopic, parochial, and hypocritical were ascribed to our current Metro Council members who are reconsidering this lavish expenditure.  If you disagree with this expenditure, these characteristics penned by McCollister might describe you as well.

Or, perhaps not?

The truth about downtown Pittsburgh is that they had their own challenges.  The steel industry was broken and their downtown was nothing more than a red light district with 20+ massage parlors.  They currently have approximately 5,000 residents and they are thriving. 

If we want to talk about an example, let’s take a harder look at former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy. 

In only two terms, Tom Murphy reduced their city workforce by 1,000 individuals (21%), and turned a budget deficit into a budget surplus. 

Murphy renovated almost 169 playgrounds, built world-class facilities for both baseball and football teams, and refurbished neighborhoods by a landslide.  He also attracted companies that created so many jobs that they cannot be filled — companies like Alcoa.

Under Murphy’s watch, the city of Pittsburgh experienced their lowest levels of crime in over 30 years.

Yes, Murphy is an example of ‘best practices’.  Addressing the entire city’s best interests was Murphy’s claim to fame. 

Anyone who considers downtown as our only crown jewel, and fails to consider the entire parish is truly the one who lacks vision.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Lack of Leadership Saturday, Oct 9 2010 

 

 

Chief Leduff, Sheriff Gautreaux & Mayor Holden

I believe it is imperative to discuss this past week’s “crime-fighting” debacle.

It all began when Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, who is rumored at taking a run for Mayor-President in the near future, began to address the ongoing increase in violent crime in East Baton Rouge Parish as an urgent matter.  Walker declared the increasing violent crime as an emergency that needed immediate attention.  

This action by Walker, of course, met resistance from current Mayor-President Kip Holden. 

 There is nothing new under the sun since this is Holden’s MO (modus operandi).  Anyone that dares to speak against Holden’s plans, or lack of plans in this case, is seen as the target du jour.  Holden always goes for the jugular vein by attacking his opponents vs. the issue at hand.

Let’s recap the chain of events.

  • Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker announced he had plans to move funding to address the apparent problem with violent crime in our parish. 
  • Mayor Kip Holden lashed back by accusing Walker of instilling fear in the community. 
  • Holden also accused Walker of micro-managing the police department (which falls under the purview of the Mayor).
  • Walker mentioned that he would like to divert $900,000 from widening streets in downtown to the police department and district attorney’s office to fund increased police patrols and prosecutions.
  • Holden cried foul by saying the Bowling Congress needed two-way streets to be a success. (Guess he forgot the last Bowling Congress was a success with one-way streets?)
  • Holden struck back again claiming that he was being attacked, going so far as to speak of himself in the third person.  “This is not a time for a counsel member to try to attack the Mayor,”  said Mayor Holden. 
  • Council members Alison Cascio and Chandler Loupe supported Walker by stating their constituents were fearful of the crime problem in our parish and it did need to be addressed, while Joel Boe’ said he feels the crime is as bad as it has been for the past two years. 
  • Holden continued his hyperbole by going so far as to suggest that those criticizing policing efforts don’t understand what is going on in the poor black areas of our community.

I suppose that would be funny, if it weren’t such a sad statement.  No doubt, this is a mentality shared by Holden’s spin doctors who are truly out of touch with our entire community.  First of all, Walker didn’t refer to the crime problem as a black/white issue.  Race was NEVER mentioned until the Mayor brought up the topic.    This truly was political suicide for Holden.

Let’s continue with the events that brought forth the greatest political debacle affecting Holden and Gautreaux:

  • Mayor Kip Holden quickly summons the Baton Rouge Police Chief, District Attorney, State Police Superintendent, and Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish to his office to ask them ‘are you with me’?
    • This is the ultimate insult to the intelligence of the citizens of Baton Rouge.  Are you telling me that it took Mike Walker to speak out publicly to cause the Mayor to call the four leading law enforcement entities to his office to “discuss’ the violent crime problem in our Parish?
  • The cover was blown when Sheriff Sid Gautreaux repeatedly stated, at the last-minute press conference, that he told the Mayor he was in when he called the day before to ask for his help. 
    • Huh?  Is Gautreaux the ‘chief law enforcement officer of the parish’ or not?  Does he only follow the lead of the Mayor?  Is he only reactionary?  Does it take a domino effect for the chief law enforcement officer to act?  Why did Mayor Holden wait until Walker said we had an emergency to call in the top law enforcement officers for a meeting to develop a plan of action?  What kind of Mickey Mouse operation are we running here? 
  • Police Chief Jeff Leduff, who is rumored to run for Sheriff with Holden’s backing, spoke next at the press conference by saying he never understood the victims of violent crime until now.  Well, that’s a hell of a note since he is retiring at the end of 2010. 
    • Why was this a mistake?  Because it showed that Leduff has not been engaged enough with past murders and family victims.  Broken, once again, in front of the television cameras, Leduff came closer to an emotional wreck than as leader of city police.
    • District Attorney Hillar Moore seemed to be the voice of reason while stating that we needed to understand how we got to where we are today.  Understanding the past always leads to a clearer path to the future.  Moore has made it no secret that education and truancy is not only his platform, but something he has put feet to since elected.
  • Superintendent Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police, was present at Holden’s ‘come quickly to my rescue press conference’ and appeared to show the same leadership skills he normally displays as chief law enforcement officer of the State Police.  Nothing new here.

Unfortunately, the press conference proved to be full of errors:

  • Mayor Holden and Chief Leduff stated the Louisiana State Police Officers will ride in vehicles with Baton Rouge Police.
    • We learned the next day that this is NOT true, and as Gautreaux said, “this will never happen”.
  • Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said the parish prison is being modified to open up more beds for prisoners.
    • This promise was made when we elected Gautreaux; he promised to add modular housing once he became Sheriff.  This has NOT taken place.
  • State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said he was availing his office for various law enforcement agencies to work together to solve crimes.
    • This sounds good, but those on the inside know that the State Police has always opened up their campus to other law enforcement personnel.  Nevertheless, Edmonson backed up the Mayor in a show of support.
    • Additionally, Sheriff Gautreaux is already housed at the Emergency Preparedness Center near the airport where various agencies work in tandem with one another already. 
    • FINDING A PLACE TO WORK IS NOT THE PROBLEM FOLKS!

Boots on the Ground make more sense and do more good than any long list of false promises could ever make.  We have seen enough of those promises from politicians.  What we need is ACTION.

When Mayor Holden’s neighbor was murdered a year or two ago, he and Chief Leduff plainly stated that we would NOT allow this to continue.  Unfortunately, neither one of these men have kept their promise.  The criminals are running amuck in our parish and areas that rarely experienced violent crime are continuing (not just recently) to show increased activity by violent perpetrators.

Sheriff Gautreaux made a lot of promises when he was elected.  The main thing was to put more boots on the ground by drastically increasing patrols (not just in the unincorporated portions of our parish, but in the entire parish and city limits.  This has NOT happened.

Gautreaux also promised to build a coalition with ALL law enforcement agencies both INSIDE and OUTSIDE of our parish.  This has NOT happened.  Thus the press conference which resulted in a sad cover-up of what is a proven lack of leadership in the Mayor’s office, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office.

Hey, if you are unemployed or want a better opportunity to make a REAL difference in our community, I have TWO GREAT JOB OPPORTUNITIES waiting for two individuals who are committed to making a difference:

OPENING #1

MAYOR-PRESIDENT of EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH

OPENING #2

SHERIFF of EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH

ONLY THOSE WHO ARE SERIOUS, CAN TAKE ACTION AND STOP SMOOTH-TALKING THE CITIZENS OF EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH NEED APPLY.

The only way WE can make a difference in OUR leadership is when we vote at the polls.  I have my binoculars on looking in the distance for leaders that will stand up for the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Who will be sworn in to protect and serve the people of our parish?  Who is willing to stand in the gap and really lead the charge?  Not for economic development, but for public safety? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Top 10 Redstick Stories Monday, Dec 21 2009 

Update:  #8 indicates drops in sales tax revenue for East Baton Rouge Parish.  The Advocate released information that sales tax revenues for 2009 decreased by 6%, less than $2.7 million from the previous year.  Will Mayor-President Kip Holden adjust the city-parish budget now, or continue to be a spendthrift?

2009 is coming to a close, and it seems everyone is choosing their Top 10 Stories in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Unfortunately, at least from my perspective, it doesn’t seem that those stories are truly representative of what happened in the Red Stick.  So, I thought I would share my personal take on what impacted us as a community including the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

  1. GOOD:  The swearing-in of new Metro Council members that are actively engaged and more representative of our community.  One example is Councilman Joel Boe’ who defied odds by leading the charge to include the entire parish in Mayor Holden’s proposed bond issue/tax increase.  This resulted in verbal attacks against Boe’ from the Mayor, but won the respect of voters and citizens in the Red Stick. 
  2. BAD:  An apparent escalation in violent crime in the Red Stick is definitely the tip of the iceberg in our community.  As 2009 approaches the same number of murders as 2010, it is painful at best to watch the daily news.  By August 1, murders were already 48% higher than the previous year.  UPDATE:  The Advocate reported a record high for murders in East Baton Rouge Parish of 86 murders (75 in the city limits and 11 outside the city limits) .  What happened to Mayor Holden’s no tolerance for crime in the Red Stick?
  3. UGLY:  Mayor Kip Holden is accused of having an affair, and turns on his alleged accusers by demanding a federal investigation.  After Holden claims he knows who is behind the expose’, he names numerous parties one at a time to no avail in a desperate attempt to put the focus on others.  The only thing Holden accomplishes is showing his character and consistent tendency to attack others.
  4. GOOD:  For the first time that I can remember, more citizens in East Baton Rouge Parish engaged in a proposed bond issue/tax increase.  With standing room only, EBRP Metro Council meetings took on hundreds of voters both for and against the bond issue.  Seeing our community become actively engaged in a critical issue that could have affected our parish over the next 30 years was refreshing and exciting!
  5. BAD:  Learning that Mayor Kip Holden and his entourage withheld critical information from the Metro Council and voters regarding his proposed tax increase/bond issue.  No doubt, it was the kiss of death to an untimely plan to build a “Holden Legacy” that our children would pay for over the next 30 years.  It was a huge blunder to build a campaign with dishonest intentions.
  6. UGLY:  The personal attack on Lee Domingue, candidate for Senate District 16’s beloved seat in the Red Stick.  Domingue laid his past failures open for all to read about in his book Pearls of the King.  His faith was attacked, and so was his church, Healing Place, and Pastor, Dino Rizzo.  To add insult to injury, the Pennington’s power and money reached down to the front page of The Advocate in an attempt to discredit Domingue about a seven-year old business disagreement.  It proved the point that Baton Rouge still has a small town mentality.
  7. GOOD:  Thousands of voters paid a visit to the Louisiana State Capitol to voice their disdain for the national stimulus package.  Made possible by the Red Stick Tea Party, citizens once again made the argument that wasteful government spending must end. 
  8. BAD:   Sales tax revenues continued to drop in the Red Stick resulting in a 4.64 decrease as of October, 2009.  Instead of paying attention to the Mayor and BRAC’s elusive reports of how the economy has not touched the Red Stick, the facts say otherwise.  Though Holden claims services will not be cut, it is inevitable that you cannot experience a reduction in income without a consideration in spending cuts.
  9. UGLY:  In a small downtown office in the Red Stick, a Ponzi scheme was birthed which took hundreds of trusting people to the cleaners.  Today, Stanford is a name that brings even the strongest of our citizens to their knees.  An estimated $8 billion scheme confiscated life savings and retirement funds from a large Baton Rouge contingency. Offshore banks, international funds and prospectus reports that were highly inflated devastated far too many of our Red Stick citizens.  Perhaps it is more proof that when it seems to good to be true, perhaps it is?
  10. GOOD:  LSU baseball Coach Paul Mainieri brought back the gold by clinching the 2009 College World Series title.  Mainieri also was honored as National Coach of the Year and Southeastern Coach of the Year for 2009.  Tiger fans retained the prestigious position of #1 in attendance in the nation, and enjoyed a luxurious new Tiger Box Stadium that rivals the best in the country.

Although life contains the good, the bad and the ugly, it is truly my hope that 2010 will bring more of the good and that we will learn from the bad and ugly of this year. 

Those things considered to be bad or ugly in the Red Stick surround the misuse of power in ethics, moral and criminal behavior.  Anytime someone takes the position that they can exercise power over others with no regard for their life or well-being, suffering is imminent.

The good things in our community were all made possible by the gathering together of citizens that care about our community and were willing to engage in what is important in the Red Stick. 

If we continue to invest in the greater good, surely we will have a fruitful year in 2010. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Devil is in the Details Wednesday, Nov 4 2009 

Devil in the Details

 

When small things have larger consequences, we say “the devil is in the details” and this precisely describes Mayor-President Kip Holden’s $901 million tax increase which will cost an additional $814 million in interest.

Holden and his entourage have already proven to be less than trustworthy in being forthcoming with the voters.  Now, it is our job to spend a little more time looking at the facts.

It’s tough to fight city hall when they use diversion tactics to keep the voters away from the facts.  Better late than never, the media finally gave the voters critical information that Holden’s entourage chose to keep private.  They are to be complimented. 

I’m not sure which of the critical details are most important, so I’ll let you decide:

So much misinformation, so little time to check the facts.  Perhaps this is the plan by Holden and his entourage?  Will it work?  Or will the voters take a hard look at raising taxes in troubled financial times and say, enough is enough?

Will the voters be swayed by groups like the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce that receives $500,000 of OUR tax dollars annually from Mayor Holden to play a public relations role by touting economic development?  What about the mirage of financial supporters to Holden’s tax increase that includes a long list of companies and individuals that will benefit from the bond issue?

Why did Holden insist on not disclosing critical information to the voters, much less his own Metro Council?  Will his tactics of attacking those who question the bond issue work as a bait-and-switch agenda to divert voters from the real facts?

I have to totally disagree with insane claims that we can triple tourism because of Alive! being built, or that it will stop the exodus of our young and talented people.  Or, that we will drastically increase events at the River Center because of an expansion and new parking garage.  We expanded it before and saw virtually no increase in events.  

The carrot keeps moving folks!

Discrediting voters and cost-sensitive residents of EBR Parish has been the focus of the entire bond issue CAMPAIGN by Holden and his entourage. 

It won’t work this time. 

The greatest thing that Mayor Holden’s proposed tax increase has accomplished is a dialogue by more EBRP citizens than in the history of the Red Stick.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that the small list of individuals supporting this tax increase has told us in the past that tax increases are not the answer, but responsible government spending is the answer.  What happened to our leaders?  It is stinking thinking to push a tax increase on us and not examine the spending habits of our Mayor.  

Every time these tired leaders want to get our attention and sway us into excessive spending, they use scare tactics and outdated sayings! 

Stop the insanity! 

Years ago we were told the Shaw Center, the rebuilding of hotels, the Casinos, updating the Centroplex, building Catfish Town, and more would save our city and make us a tourist mecca.  Oh, let’s not forget the building of an EMPTY dock on the riverfront.  Pretty to look at, but virtually unused! 

Maybe someone should talk with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne who has done more with less money and increased visitors at the museums under his purvue! 

While you are reading this, Holden’s entourage is working on getting out the vote. 

The only way you can stop this 30-year-tax-and-spend-plan for the Red Stick is to go to the voting booth and pull the lever by sending another message that we will not be bullied into increasing city-parish spending through a NEW tax! 

We cannot tax our way to prosperity, nor become the next greatest city in America by committing to a 30-year tax. 

Revolution is brewing!  Silent majority no more!  Join the Tea Party!  Vote NO to higher taxes, and Beat the Bond!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

 need to know basis

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

Politics Wins Out Thursday, Sep 3 2009 

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

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 . . .

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

voice of the people

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

Vox Populi, the ‘Voice of the People’  

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

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

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

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

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

This was an unfortunate position to take. 

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

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

Boe’ showed signs of a true leader.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stranger things have happened in the Red Stick.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Right To Vote Monday, Aug 10 2009 

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Jessie Jackson wroteIn a democracy, there is nothing more fundamental than having the right to vote.  His statement was under the premise that felons should have voting rights reinstated once they’ve paid their debt to society — an argument for another day.

Mayor-President Kip Holden to take away right to vote

Mayor-President Kip Holden, in a major political move,  set out to take away the voting rights of certain registered voters in EBR Parish for his proposed fall tax election.  They are law-abiding citizens who hail from the northern part of our parish including the bedroom communities of Baker, Central and Zachary. 

Ironically, the EBR Sheriff will not vote or be assessed if Holden removes Zachary from the tax proposal.  Life is stranger than fiction.

Councilman Joel Boe’ is under attack by Mayor Kip Holden for daring to disagree with Holden’s plan to disallow voters from the northern part of the parish from voting on the tax.  Are we One Baton Rouge when we exclude Central, Zachary and Baker from the right to vote on a 30-year Red Stick tax initiative? 

Furthermore, what is wrong with a Metro Council, elected by the people and for the people, who are willing to side with this discriminatory mentality and take away the right of their own constituents to vote?  

The game is changing so fast you have to be on your toes to keep up!  Hang with me here as we walk down memory lane . . .

Should we believe that the “38 bridges endangering Red Stick citizen’s safety” was like playing “Russian roulette by not passing the 2008 tax proposal” as Mayor Holden said last fall?  Or that our bridges are no longer in danger because funding was suddenly found to take care of the tab?   

A portion of Holden’s $887 million wish list includes Audubon Alive!  Can EBR Parish support this new venture through tourism?

Last week the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum announced changes due to the lack of traffic and funding by the state.  According to LASM, their attendance is 214,000 annually.  Strictly from a math perspective, this is an average of 586 visitors daily. 

Why is this important?  Because the Mayor’s proposed Audubon Alive! will need three times that annual attendance to survive. 

How will we triple downtown tourism? 

Can someone say ‘Catfish Town’?  For those too young to remember, Catfish Town was a $30 million dream-come-true tourist attraction that opened with a splash on July 4, 1984, and shut down within two years.  It became the home of a management company followed by the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Ten years later, Jazz Enterprises took over Catfish Town, and brought Argosy Gaming to the table with a promise of filling 150,000 sq ft with a retail wonderland of shopping, eateries and entertainment.  15 years later, we have the floating casino, the hotel and their two restaurants, one bar, and a beautiful atrium with occasional events.  The tourist mecca never came to fruition.   

There are lessons here we haven’t learned.  

The proposed building of a new prison is another issue that makes no sense in the bond issue.  I prefer to envision a press conference vs. the nightly murder report with Sheriff Gautreaux saying,

“I’m going to keep my campaign promise and put up tents or temporary buildings.  I don’t need a new office because I am going to spend my time on the streets fighting crime with my fellow deputies. I’m going to show up every morning like all of you do at your own jobs, not just when media opportunities arise.  And at the end of the day, we are going to take back our city and clean up crime across this parish.  Starting right now, there is a no tolerance policy on crime in our parish.  We are going to house all prisoners, feed them P&B sandwiches, and run a chain gang to save the city on clean-up and blight.  If you play, you will pay in our city by serving your time and becoming a productive citizen one way or another.”

I suppose it’s okay to dream and imagine what true leadership would be like?

Now that’s something to get excited about, stand behind and support! When you can do that, then you can talk to me about increasing our taxes.

If you want me to pay, then you have to prove to me that you are doing all you can with what you have already.  That is NOT happening in EBR parish.  We have become lazy.  We expect something for nothing.  Just roll out the tax plan and lead us to the voting booth to pull the lever.  Why?  Because you say so? 

What do we want from leadership?

The idea here is not to pick apart as much as it is to ask the right questions, and to demand fiscal responsibility and real leadership.  Last time I checked, you work for us, the taxpayers – WE are YOUR employers.  Where I work, if you commit insubordination you lose your job in our right-to-work state!  How dare you get angry at a councilman that asks the right questions!  How dare you send out a message to ‘calm the citizens down’!  It is OUR RIGHT to question you and demand your work ethic is beyond reproach!

‘Ahem’!  Now that we have that straight.

ALL voters in our parish have the right to vote in a tax election that will last for 30 years.  Complete details on every aspect of Holden’s tax-and-spend-bond-proposal should be made available to the public — not just a public relations campaign.

Is that too much to ask for?  Where is all of this information?  In the age of technology we do not have the details, but are expected to vote yes to more spending with a paragraph explaining hundreds of millions in expenditures.  They have done their due diligence, right?  Why not share it with the voters who will agree or disagree to pay for it over the next 30 years?

Why do we ask for FULL transparency from Jindal and not require it from Holden?  It does beg the question. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

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