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

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Controversy: EBR Sheriff’s Office Monday, Jun 14 2010 

 

The problem surfaced when two inmates escaped from the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, and residents needed to be notified by the EBR Sheriff’s Office of impending danger.  Something went wrong.

EBR Parish has a Community Alert System (CAL) that was set up to notify citizens of impending danger.  (The CAL System works like the robotic calls we receive during political campaigns with a pre-recorded message.)  Other systems also exist including the Emergency Alert System (EAS) which alerts both TV and Radio for emergency announcements.

Two emergency messages came through CAL by telephone to residents with erroneous messages.  Later, the media announced the messages contained errors, and the blame shifting began. 

The media dedicated itself to investigate the situation, later reporting that the EBR Parish Sheriff’s Office was ‘left out’ of the emergency system.

Really?

Casey Hicks, a spokeswoman for the EBR Sheriff’s Office, stated that the message went out later than necessary because they were required to go through another agency, the Baton Rouge Fire Department, to use the emergency alert system. 

Scott Dyer, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office, fired back stating that the EBR Sheriff’s Office could negotiate its own deal if they wish, but that the emergency alert system is limited to city-parish agencies.

Even later, the Office of Emergency Preparedness stated that the Sheriff’s Office only asked to be trained in the system, not to participate in the system.  No training has taken place.

Stories were flying as fast as Linda Blair’s head spin in The Exorcist.  Also known as CYA.

There are valid questions that the citizens of EBR Parish should now ask.

  • Why is the Mayor’s Office referring to the Sheriff’s Office as if they are not a city-parish agency? 
  • Why didn’t the Sheriff’s Office negotiate a contract with the new alert system vendor?  Or another vendor?
  • Why aren’t employees of the Sheriff’s Office trained to use the alert system?

After all the dust settled, and a lot of finger pointing took place, we were told that the EBRP Sheriff’s Office is looking into its own emergency alert system.

The escape of these two inmates have revealed other issues at the Sheriff’s Office:  According to Hicks, the inmates escaped out of the prison kitchen through a door with a ‘defective lock’.  The deputy who took a lunch break leaving the inmates alone to escape was fired.  Five individuals assisted the inmates in their escape, only two were arrested. 

Take a deep breath, there’s more to come.

The two escaped inmates also committed a murder before being captured.  Finally, thousands of dollars and endless hours of manpower was taken from multiple law enforcement agencies in order to capture the escaped inmates.  All underwritten by you, the taxpayer.

Normally, Mayor Kip Holden and Sheriff Sid Gautreaux are clamoring for time in front of the media.  Instead of addressing the prison break and emergency faux pas head on, they have both deferred to their spokespersons. 

When Gautreaux ran for Sheriff of EBR Parish, he made a lot of charges against former Sheriff Greg Phares.  One charge claimed that staffing levels at the parish prison were dangerously low.  Obviously this hasn’t changed if a deputy can leave for a 30 minute lunch with no relief. 

Gautreaux also made a lot of promises during his run for Sheriff — like building modular units at the parish prison to increase the ability to house inmates.  That has not happened. 

Another claim Gautreaux made was that inter-agency communication was poor, complicated and rarely used.  He promised to drastically improve communications and create seamless protection for EBR Parish citizens.  Is this his definition of improved communication?

Political endorsements appear to have turned into political finger pointing.    Perhaps we should have considered a law man rather than a politician.  Is that the sound of chopping wood I hear in the background?

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

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.

Holden’s Tax Plan: Follow the Money Sunday, Jul 26 2009 

 pay to play

The real beneficiaries of Mayor-President Kip Holden’s tax plan remain to be seen.  The Mayor is working hard on a public relations campaign showcasing his proposed $887 million municipal 30-year bond issue.  Holden is hopeful that voters of EBR Parish will say yes to a half-cent sales tax and 9.9 mill property tax the second time around.

Muncipal bond issues afford governmental entities the opportunity to borrow money at lower rates.  The bonds are paid back through the collection of taxes.  What is rarely discussed is the fact that municipal bond issues are huge money makers for the ‘chosen ones’ allowed to participate.

In politics, they say follow the money.  Who makes money on the issuance of muncipal bonds?

  • Public Relations consultants – designing a plan of action to market the bond issue
  • Counsel –  bond attorney serving as legal representation, providing legal opinions, preparation of documents, handling regulation and compliance issues
  • Investment banker – underwriter of the bond issue  that buys, markets, resells bonds
  • Financial advisors – design structure of bond issues, prepare  disclosure statements, solicits bids from underwriters
  • Trustee – paying agent representing the bondholders (i.e. bank)
  • Insurance company – guarantor of bond issue/credit enhancement

If the tax/bond issue passes, it will be interesting to see who is awarded these various components.  Each entity will be paid significant fees. 

These details are not part of the ‘public relations’ program currently being used to sell taxpayers.  Does it matter?   What if they have to pay to play

We are hearing a lot in the media about state government ethics in regard to those tied financially to the Governor’s office via political contributions.  The question is should those making political contributions be allowed to benefit by receiving contracts, positions, etc? 

Why isn’t anyone asking these questions about Holden’s bond issue? 

Municipal bond issues are also marketed to the public under the guise of creating jobs and generating income to local businesses.  Companies will be required to bid.  Few taxpayers, if any, will take note of the businesses participating in each project.    

Seldom does anyone have the time or information to research these tidbits of information.  Who has the time?  Even more important, who has the knowledge?  We already know The Advocate won’t be revealing these facts to us:

  • How much are consultants being paid to handle the public relations of Holden’s bond issue?  Walter Monsour is already on board as a consultant.  Who else?  What is this costing us?
  • Who is the bond attorney/counsel? 
  • What are the relationships of all of these entities to Holden? 
  • How much did they donate to Holden’s political campaign?
  • What contributions have been made to other elected officials such as Sheriff Gautreaux by these individuals and companies?
  • Who are the proposed financial advisors, bankers, trustees?   
  • Were or will these contracts bid out?
  • Who will share in contracts to build a $135 million prison? 
  • Who will move the dirt?  Hook up the electricity?  Provide the security system?  The list is endless.  The answers are key.
  • The same for a $44 million juvenile service facility, a $92 million public safety complex, $19 million for fire stations/EMS, $38 million for city hall remodeling? 
  • There are more projects including the largest of all for $255 million for a tourist attraction downtown.

The grand total for Holden’s tax plan/bond issue is $887,504,330.    In the plan shared with the taxpayers, as you can see, there is NO mention of bidding, percentages or fees to be paid. 

Why?

Let’s recap.  You are being asked to take on a 30-year loan in the amount of $887 million without all of the fee and contract details.  Are you willing to be a party to signing a note of that magnitude without the fine print?

Maybe they hope you are willing to blindly say yes?

This is government spending and politics as usual, once again, in its truest form.  It really isn’t really important.  It’s just your tax dollars. 

Or is it important to you?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Murderers Free on Bond Friday, May 1 2009 

Update:  State District Judge Mike Erwin released two men charged with attempted murder on $350,000 bond:  Melvin Vernell, Jr. and Marcus Roach.  Both men proclaim they are rap music executives.  To add insult to injury, Judge Erwin ‘sternly’ ordered the two subs to not engage in any contact with the victims, family members or witnesses involved in the case.  These same two men were charged with attempted murder in 2005, but the case was dismissed when witnesses feared for their lives and refused to testify.  Now, they are charged for the SECOND time, yet allowed on bond.  As you read this, they are walking the streets of the Red Stick. 

gunman3mb

Perhaps it’s the Red Stick murder rate that was the impetus this brought this issue to my attention.  Or, it could be the fact that I believe the prison system was built to house those who are a danger to society.  Either way, the last thing we want to see are violent offenders and murderers walking the streets of the Red Stick.

The justice system is broken.  Those words resonate with all of us.  Building larger prisons is not the answer.  If it were, we would gladly pay for a new prison in the parish.  We house criminals of all types, but allow those charged with murder to run free.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Today I am mindful of the role Judges play in allowing murderers to roam the streets of the Red Stick.  Judges are powerful individuals.  They are large and in charge of their courtrooms, and their decisions ripple throughout our community.  Judges have the power to hold or release murderers, and their decisions to set or reduce bail can be mind boggling.

When murderers are released back into society prior to their trial, I shake my head and ask one question:  “What was that judge thinking?”

Gregory Harris is charged with brutally murdering his wife, Chiquita Tate, a Red Stick attorney.  His bond was originally set at $500,000, but reduced to $300,000 by Judge Trudy White.  Harris is a convicted felon that was found to be in possession of stolen goods and driving around a stolen Mercedes.  Tate was stabbed 38 times.  38 times?  YES, 38 TIMES!  Harris is walking around the Red Stick right now on a reduced bond.

Some would argue this was a crime of passion.  Who cares?  Stolen vehicle + 38 stab wounds = danger to society!

Freddie Powell was charged with the 2004 murder of Andre Chinn in the Red Stick.  District Judge Chip Moore reduced Powell’s bond from $200,000 to $75,000.  The same morning of his court appearance in which his bond was reduced, it was later uncovered that Powell and his partners in crime broke into a home, held a couple and their children at gunpoint and robbed them of $800.  Powell was considered an armed and dangerous fugitive walking the streets of the Red Stick.  Fortunately, he was recently caught.

Some might say at least he’s been caught.  Murdered man + holding a family hostage = danger to society!

Denako Duheart and his brother, Dearieus, beat Jason Fourmy for 24 hours and then burned his body and dumped it in a remote wooded area.  The two eye witnesses to the murder were also killed.  Ironically, Chiquita Tate was Deanko’s attorney.  Judge Trudy White set his bail at $250,000, and he is currently walking the streets of the Red Stick as well.

Duheart’s brother, Dearieus, was also released on $280,000 bond.  Less than two months later, he was arrested in a traffic stop while driving at 11:20 p.m. with no headlights.  Officers found Dearieus in possession of liquid codeine packaged for sale, and for driving with an expired driver’s license.  Judge Lou Daniel set his bail in the second incident at $25,000.  He is roaming somewhere around the Red Stick as you read this post.

Some say innocent before proven guilty.  Man beat for 24 hours + burned to death + both witnessed also murdered = danger to society!

The stories are almost endless. 

They tell us that approximately 13% of criminals commit the majority of crimes, and that 50% of violent felons are repeat offenders.  Free on bond.  Violent perpetrators.  Walking around freely.  Driving alongside you in the Red Stick, passing by your children on the playground.  Dangers to society!

I find it most disconcerting that we scrutinize political candidates, but when Judges run for office very little media is focused on the men and women who will make some of the most critical decisions that affect public safety.  If we were provided with the disposition of Judge’s cases, would we be willing to re-elect those who cavalierly release murderers and violent offenders back into society? 

Let’s see if I get this right.  We won’t release Edwin Edwards, but we’ll release a murderer back on the streets of the Red Stick?  Yes, the system is more broken than we are willing to admit. 

Now, explain to me one more time why Mayor Holden’s tax to build a new prison is a good idea?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Obama: Politics As Usual Sunday, Jan 25 2009 

politics20as20usual20-20cd_lg

Obama’s campaign promise:  “I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of  setting the agenda in Washington are over.”  November, 2007

Obama’s reality:  Raytheon lobbyist, William J. Lynn, III, has been appointed by President Obama as the #2 man for the U. S. Defense Department. 

Obama’s campaign promise:  “No political appointees in my administration will be permitted to work on areas that directly and substantially related to their employer for two years.”

Obama’s reality:  Lynn stopped lobbying in July, but not before he spent $1.15 million in 2008 to lobby the defense department to influence issues including missiles, sensors, radar, advanced technology programs, and intelligence funding – only six months before his appointment.

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President Obama will soon learn how difficult it may be to keep campaign promises.  Once elected, politicians often believe they are immune to promises made during an election.  This fact leads us to the familiar saying, “Politics As Usual”.

President Obama issued an executive order immediately after taking office to ensure lobbyists who were active within the last two years would not be allowed to serve in public office.  Now, a waiver is on the table for Lynn.

So, here we find ourselves in the same political boat that Obama promised he would not sail.  Obama plainly states on his website this would not happen.  But here we are.

Perhaps ObamaWorld will not be so different than promised?  Could it be that he is the consumate politician with unfulfilled promises?

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In less than one week in office, Obama has found another challenge regarding the closing of Guantanamo.

Approximately 250 detainees are currently held at “Gitmo”.  Of this number, there are natives of Yemen, Saudia Arabia, China, etc. that currently will not be allowed back into their country.  About 12 are targeted for trials and must be incorporated into prisons in the U.S.

If moved to U.S. prisons and our justice system, there are further complications regarding Miranda rights that were not given and treatment of prisoners that are not allowed in our prison system.   The alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed is an example.

Will President Obama incorporate these terrorists into our U.S. prison system?  Where? 

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Things are not always as easy as they appear.  President Obama ran for office with promises that we would see a different management style – a real change in Washington.  Instead, right out of the gate he proves that he is willing to make exceptions for lobbyists and that Gitmo is more involved than he realized.

Is ObamaMania just more Politics As Usual?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Holden Re-Elected with Few Promises Sunday, Oct 5 2008 

In the information age, it is rare to see a politician win an election with so few promises as Mayor-President Kip Holden made in his bid for re-election.  His message in the campaign was “to keep working with you and for you”.  Holden won the election by a large margin and now the accountability for Holden begins.  Let’s take a look at the promises, albeit few, that Holden made during his campaign:

  • Public Safety:  Top priority
    • Holden said “we will work hard to get you an education, we will work hard to get you a job, if you break the law we will work hard at putting you in jail.”  (No specifics were given.)
    • Holden said he plans to install an additional 80 cameras with gunshot detectors in city-parish parks. (The Advocate stated on August 31st that the $3.5 million spent on other gunshot detectors are still not in use.  This expenditure was made by Holden in 2007 with taxpayer money.  Guess the voters missed this snafu?)
  • Traffic – another ‘major concern’ says Holden:
    • Continue the Green Light Plan to widen and improve some roads (began 4 years ago and is moving slowly)
    • Try to work with Parish Presidents of surrounding parishes to develop the infamous loop (currently at a stand still)
  • Blight Clean Up:
    • Continue neighborhood clean-ups of abandoned cars, overgrown lots, abandoned buildings (a mandate and program that has been in effect from previous administrations)
  • Raise taxes to the tune of nearly $1 BILLION:
    • Holden promised to lobby for and push a $989 million tax on the residents of EBR Parish to build a new prison, a new sheriff’s office, a new police headquarters, renovate the city-parish (mayor’s office) facility, build a new juvenile detention center, expand the River Center, replace 8 fire stations, upgrade the infrastructure including replacing 38 bridges, work on 10 drainage canals, replace 50 traffic signals, build a downtown parking garage and a downtown tourist attraction next to Casino Rouge.
  • Economic development spending to the tune of 1/2 MILLION:
    • Continue to give the BR Chamber $500,000 annually to bring more jobs to the Red Stick (which brought an endorsement by the BRCC for this election, yet no reported accountability)
    • Draw more restaurants, businesses and corporate offices to downtown.  (Downtown is where Holden spends the majority of his focus and taxpayers money in lieu of neighborhoods where crime and blight continue to plaque our community.)
  • Non-specific areas:
    • Dream big and turn dreams into realities.

Well, that’s about it.  Holden made few promises, but sold his “crossover appeal” and “vision for Baton Rouge being American’s next greatest city”.  I must commend his spin doctors and the likes of Rolfe McCollister, Jr. of the BR Business Report for snowing the people of Baton Rouge and leading them into more taxes, continued traffic woes and a crime plagued city with no real substance other than a tax election to improve infrastructure.

For the first time, I finally understand the indifference of voters.  I’ve heard about it for years, but thought the people of our parish would prove that theory wrong.  They didn’t in this election.

Evidently voters of EBR Parish are happy with the status quo and look forward to paying increased fees and taxes.  Congratulations to Holden for an election with few promises and selling the voters on more government spending of their hard earned dollars.  Get out your checkbook folks!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

P.S.  Thanks to Dan Kyle, Ron Johnson and Wayne Carter for bringing some issues to the forefront.  All three men will be able to say “I told you so” over the next four years.  When they do, some will call it sour grapes.  I will call it truthful warnings that the voters refused to heed.  We seem destined to repeat political history in the Red Stick.