When State Fire Marshal Butch Browning isn’t busy defending his wearing of unauthorized military decorations and ribbons or trying to shift blame for a carnival ride that malfunctioned only seven years after his office inspected it, injuring two children in the process, he apparently can play the political game as well as any state appointed official.
Remember the New Living Word School in Ruston? That’s the facility that had only 122 students in 2012, yet was approved for more than 300 vouchers by the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) even though the school lacked teachers, classrooms, desks or other supporting facilities to handle the increased numbers.
In fact, construction was started on New Living Word’s school without anyone bothering to obtain the requisite building permits or to hire a licensed contractor. In fact, no zoning variance was even Read more
Selecting public officials isn’t the only choice voters will face Nov. 4. There are also 14 proposed amendments to the Louisiana Constitution to be voted on. The following is a summary of my opinions and the exact language that will appear on election ballots that day. Read more
LSU’s Board of Supervisors, the governing entity of the state system, affirmed by vote today new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services. Citizens will now be responsible for finding services in some cases at facilities across the state if local hospitals chose to drop unprofitable health care programs.
The Board of Supervisors approved the rewritten contracts without objection and with almost no open discussion. The reworked deals are part of an effort by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to win federal approval to keep Medicaid dollars paying for the privatization arrangements.
The contracts covered that have been in dispute govern the management transfer of hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Shreveport and Monroe Read more
It isn’t every day that such an admission is publicly pronounced by a political party official. In this article in Politico by Anna Palmer and Manu Raju, the top guy at the Louisiana Democratic Party is quoted as he explains Senator Mary Landrieu’s re-election chances:
“In Louisiana, Democrats believe their best shot at emerging victorious in the race is to win outright in November, taking advantage of a split between Cassidy and his main conservative foe, tea party challenger Rob Maness.
‘The only pathway Republicans have to victory is through a runoff. We have a pathway to victory without a runoff that’s just it,’ said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk.
It’s seldom that i disagree publicly with members of the fourth estate. Besides preferring to focus our energy on reporting on the myriad ways state government falls short of its number one priority of protecting the interests of the state and its citizens, we generally have a deep professional respect for our peers in the media.
I worked for 30-plus years in various capacities—sports reporter, news reporter, copy editor, investigative reporter and managing editor—for several newspapers all over the state, including Monroe, Shreveport, Donaldsonville, Baton Rouge and four separate stints at the Ruston Daily Leader where I began almost 50 years ago. I kept returning at a higher position mostly because of my Read more
A&M jokes at OGB open enrollment ‘War Games’ while cash strapped state can’t pay Bridge City Juvenile Center utility bills but somehow finds $18 million for private hospital
Remember the angst over the temporary shutdown of the Louisiana Department of Education’s (LDOE) web page a little over a week ago because the Division of Administration (D)A) had neglected to pay the $280 bill for the domain subscription?
It was a “technical glitch,” we were assured by DOA Director of Communications Meghan Parrish. “This was not purposeful,” she said, and not part of the ongoing Common Core catfight between those two behemoths of machoism, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Superintendent of Education—“Dude, you are my recharger”—John White.
Well, we were prepared to give the administration the benefit of the doubt that it was simply an oversight and not, as White claimed, because of the state’s refusal to make payments. We are, after all, reasonable and we understand that sometimes things slip through the cracks—even as Jindal was careful to take the necessary steps to strip LDOE and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from employing legal counsel to sue the governor.
Never mind that the governor has now moved forward with his own lawsuit against the federal government over Common Core. Apparently, while he doesn’t want to be a defendant over Common Core, he has no problem being a plaintiff and thereby further enriching his own legal counsel Jimmy Faircloth with at least $300,000 more of your taxpayer dollars in addition to more than a $1 million he has already been paid in other lost causes as, in the words of Bob Mann on last Friday’s Jim Engster Show, “the most successful loser” in Louisiana legal circles. http://wrkf.org/post/friday-bob-mann-carley-mccord (move your curser to the 19:40 minute of the show for the quote.)
Some liberals have celebrated the recent indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry on charges of abuse of power. I’m not among them. His opponents couldn’t beat Perry at the polls, and they seem eager to derail his nascent presidential campaign, so they’ve applauded his indictment on flimsy charges that any impartial juror with an ounce of common sense should reject as laughable. I’m no Perry fan, but this looks like a destructive attempt to criminalize politics.
Long story short: Perry vetoed the budget for the state public corruption unit headed by the Austin-area district attorney after she was jailed for drunk driving. Perry made no secret that he was trying to force the DA to resign. In response, a Texas prosecutor charged Perry with two felony counts.
Targeting a public corruption unit’s budget to overthrow a wayward district attorney is clearly hardball politics. Perry may well have gone too far. Perhaps he deserves to be impeached (although even that is doubtful). What I do know is Read more
Stainless steel is not generally considered to be an exotic metal. Yet, it’s exotic in the same way we think of ethical public officials. The majority of public officials are ethical, and they work for the public good. Yet, Louisiana was still tenth in the most convicted officials in this report in the Washington Post. Locally we find incumbents who violated our trust and must be voted out of office.
The term “stainless steel” like “ethical politician” is responsible for notable myths. Contrary to myth, stainless steel does rust. And, ethical people, insert “politicians”, can and do make ethical errors of judgement – they RUST!
Another case of “insider manipulation of the system” was revealed by Tom Aswell and LouisianaVoice recently that deserves close scrutiny . If any department in Louisiana government had key workers whose pay raises disproportionately exceeded all others in the department, auditors should have reason to question. Four state police officers closely affiliated with the Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police (LSP), Colonel Mike Edmonson, have enjoyed not only rapid advancement through the ranks, but they have been rewarded with combined pay raises totaling more than $115,000 (an average of $28,750 each) in the 6 ½ years since Edmonson was appointed superintendent on Jan. 14, 2007, the same day Bobby Jindal was sworn in as governor.
Those pay raises, it should be pointed out, were for promotions and do not include the $42 million appropriated this year by the legislature for pay raises for all state troopers. The alarm raised by a group of retired state troopers point out inconsistencies in Edmonson’s version of events surrounding the amendment to a Senate bill that bumped his retirement income up by $55,000 per year while at the same time, calling on Edmonson to demand that the Louisiana State Police Retirement System (LSPRS) board take “immediate action to legally enjoin Act 859 and further seek a ruling on this unconstitutional law.”
In their letter, the retired troopers even dropped a thinly-veiled hint that Read more
The seventh floor of the Bienville Building on North 4th Street in Baton Rouge became a beehive of activity recently when employees of a temporary personnel service moved in to begin shredding “tons of documents,” according to an employee of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).
DHH is headquartered in the Bienville Building and the source told LouisianaVoice that the shredding, undertaken “under the guise of being efficient and cleaning,” involves documents that date back as far as the 1980s.
“The significance of this is that this is occurring in the midst of a lawsuit (that) DHH is filing against Molina in relation to activities that go back to the ‘80s,” the employee said. “Everyone is questioning the timing. Westaff temporary people have been in the copy room of the seventh floor for approximately two weeks now, all day, every day, shredding documents.”
The employee said so many documents were being shredded “that the floor is full of dust and employees have been ordered to clean on designated cleaning days” and that locked garbage cans filled with shredded documents “are being hauled from the building daily.”
LouisianaVoice submitted an inquiry to DHH that requested an Read more