The Curious Case of Trayvon Martin Wednesday, Mar 28 2012 

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

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

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

By now, everyone has heard the story. 

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

Stop!

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

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

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

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

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

I have a question, or two myself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Advice for Coroner Shannon Cooper Wednesday, Nov 16 2011 

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

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

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

IGNORE THEM!

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

Cooper’s words are powerful:

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

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

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

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

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

Is Cooper a man we want to re-elect? 

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

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

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

Heartbreaking stories!

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

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

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

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

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

That is arrogance in its highest form. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instead, Cooper said:

It will be business as usual.

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

I have some advice for Coroner Shannon Cooper:

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

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

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

Tiger Woods: Coming Undone Wednesday, Dec 9 2009 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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!

 puppetmaster

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

5 Related Murders in EBRP Monday, Sep 21 2009 

   

Serial_killer

In memory of the victims, I am republishing their story today.

In the heart of the Red Stick, a man was beaten for 24 hours, dragged unconscious, set on fire and left to die in a remote wooded area.  Since this horrific murder took place, 3 eye-witnesses  & 1 attorney  tied to the case have been murdered. 

Got your attention yet?

In May, I mentioned this story when discussing my concern about judges in EBR Parish allowing murderers to continually be released on bond

While officials are trying to convince us that the violent crime reports are not completely accurate, violent offenders are walking down the streets of the Red Stick.  They are standing in line at the convenience store, walking in the mall, sitting next to someone at a red light – maybe next to you?  Or, worst yet, next to your child?  

Don’t even think “this has nothing to do with me”.  It’s a growing problem coming to your neighborhood soon. 

What are the chances that 3 eyewitness and an attorney, all involved with the same murder case, were ALL murdered prior to the trial?   

Denako Duheart and his brother, Dearius Duheart, along with Andrea Deon Williams were originally charged with 1st degree murderin October, 2007 in the brutal beating, burning and death of Jason Fourmy. 

But something happened.  Judge Wilson Fields allowed them to be released on a reduced bond. 

One month later, two eyewitnesses were suddenly murdered. 

As a result, the crime was reduced to 2nd degree murder

To add insult to injury, their attorney was murdered – supposedly by her husband.  What an odd coincidence!  Anyone?

Ironically, the charges were then reduced to 2nd degree battery

Walking around.  Two of the perpetrators.  In the Red Stick.  Among us.  Next to our children.  (One remained in prison; after he confessed.)

Concerned yet?  You should be.  This is only one story in the naked city of the Red Stick.

Suddenly another eyewitness is shot, but evidently survives.

A 3rd eyewitness was murdered this week – just two months prior to the trial.  A young woman shot in the head and left in a ditch to die.

Give me the definition of a serial killer again? Anyone? 

According to Mr. Webster, a serial killer is someone who murders 3 or more people over a period of 30 days or more with a ‘cooling’ period in between.

The body count is now up to 5 individuals involved in one murder case:  The original victim (Fourmy) + 1 attorney + 3 eyewitnesses = 5 

Mayor Holden, please do not insult our intelligence again by telling us that a new tax or bond issue to build a new prison will solve our crime problems in EBRParish.  Instead, remind us of your promise for zero-tolerance for violent offenders.  What happened to that promise? 

The only way we will begin to scratch the surface of crime in our parish will be to bring violent offenders to justice — for judges to realize that setting violent offenders free on reduced bail, or reducing charges because witnesses are murdered is no way to keep our citizens safe.

I see no difference between a Derrick Todd Lee or Sean Vincent Gillis in comparison to the Duheart-Duheart-Williams trio.  They all took multiple lives in our parish. 

I am my brother’s keeper.  We must seek justice on behalf of these victims.  Their blood cries out to all of us to act before more senseless murders are committed.  

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

UPDATE:  The system failed the victims and families of these murderers.  Today, September 21, 2009, the murderers were set free.  Why?    Because ALL of the witnesses were murdered.  The victims could have been your son, your daughter, your mother, your father, your friend, or you.  If we do not make serious changes in the Red Stick, our crime will continue to dominate the news and threaten the safety of our children.  I am so very saddened for the loved ones of these victims.

Dangerous Liasons Thwart Reform Saturday, Sep 19 2009 

Dangerous_Liaisons_Cover

No doubt that Louisiana politics has a dominant place in the archives of U.S. history, and some have reveled in that fact.  Perhaps it is the age of information or the downfall of American family values that has caused the average voter to long for political reform in our good state.  Reform should always start in our own backyards.

The reform movement will come at a great price.  That price includes putting a stop to dangerous liaisons that thwart true reform.

For me, political corruption in Louisiana began with the labor unions.  I remember succinctly as a child the effects of the AFLCIO on our personal lives.  My father refused to be a member of the union, and the price we paid was both physical and emotional as mentioned in a previous post.  

Mayor Kip Holden and Sheriff Sid Gautreaux are supported, funded and often work in collusion with the AFLCIO and other local labor unions.  These are truly dangerous liaisons for the Red Stick.

What is most troubling is how real corruption is camaflouged and overlooked by the media, community and business leaders.  Political corruption still abounds on a local and state level.  This must stop.

It was Senator Robert Kostelka that forced the Louisiana Board of Education and media to publicly announce that contracts were not being publicly bid.  I believe that Chas Roemer erred in saying that no-bid contracts are justified if there is only one provider. 

How do we truly know other providers do not exist without the bid process?  This type of mentality opens the door to facilitating more dangerous liaisons, especially given this particular contract totaled $625,000.

Closed meetings, no bids, private conversations among community leaders, business owners and politicians makes for more dangerous liasons.  Why do we allow these practices to continue?  Only The Advocate would allow our mayor to get away with this incident without forcing the hand of community leaders.    Interesting.

Just this past week Baton Rouge Area Chamber officials asked the media to leave the room so they could ask private questions to Mayor Kip Holden about his bond proposal.  Adam Knapp and his ‘leaders’ should have realized this would leave a negative impression in our community.  Where are real leaders when you need them?

Mayor Kip Holden gives $500,000 of YOUR tax dollars to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber annually.  Everything BRAC does is funded by local monies whether through memberships, sponsorships or municipalities.  What kind of questions could they ask that we shouldn’t know about?  I see more dangerous liaisons on the horizon.

No matter how you slice it, dangerous liaisons in political matters still abound in Louisiana.  On a local level, even more so.  What I am still amazed at the ability of the media to overlook just about everything that Mayor Kip Holden does while criticizing Governor Bobby Jindal for the same issues. 

Mayor-President Kip Holden is the king of private liasions personally and professionally.  The proposed $900 million bond issue is immersed in potential corruption and secrecy.  Will voters endorse the continued practice of dangerous liaisons in city-parish government or put them to a stop by saying no this fall?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Ethics Board Gone Wild! Saturday, Aug 15 2009 

 195564~The-Other-Woman-Posters

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

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

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

Several ironies exist in this format. 

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

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

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

There’s more to the story. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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

our legacy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Juveniles are extremely vulnerable. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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