The relationship between a state lawmaker and a non-profit group he helped steer money must be questioned. The way Louisiana directs its public funds has become the center of the scandal in New Orleans that WDSU TV has focused attention beyond that the CB Forgotston called the Shameless NGOs.
“Congress used to do this a lot, and they called it earmarks. Congress stopped doing it two years ago, and it’s time Louisiana stopped,” said state Treasurer John Kennedy.
It is now much easier to make the case that Governor Bobby Jindal knows his chances of winning the presidency in the 2016 election are securely in his past. In fact, given the record he is now so feverishly and self-destructively building, it is difficult imagining the governor winning another – any – statewide election in Louisiana. In making that case, Exhibits #1 through #50, at least, are on display in Jindal’s bafflingly deliberate and long-running defiance of orders issued by Baton Rouge state district court Judge Janice Clark in a key public records case.
Over five months ago, on April 25th, Judge Clark emphatically ruled in favor of plaintiff newspapers, the Advocate and Times-Picayune, and ordered the LSU Board of Supervisors to “immediately produce” the documents identifying all those who sought the combined job of LSU President and Chancellor. F. King Alexander was selected for the job, and Jindal does not want citizens to know who the other candidates were. Thus he directed his go-to lawyer, Jimmy Faircloth, to burn a trainload of taxpayer money by stiffing the citizenry and Judge Clark … repeatedly … and proudly.
The rarity of observing such a months-long political train wreck was underscored by Lori Mince, the attorney representing the two Louisiana newspapers, in an article yesterday by Mike Hasten of Gannett News. Ms. Mince noted, “This is the first public records case I’ve had when the public body refused to comply.” No one else with whom I have spoken or emailed can remember another such instance, either. Such makes sense because once a public records case goes all the way to court, and a judge orders the documents produced, public officials have every reason and need to, well, produce the documents. That is precisely what happened when a group of us in Shreveport sued the highway department for documents, went up against Jindal / Faircloth’s initial opposition, and headed to Judge Clark’s court. When our hearing came up, the requested documents appeared as Faircloth did the opposite.
To grasp how bizarrely foolish the Jindal / Faircloth / Board of Supervisors argument is, it began with Faircloth arguing that the only word in the related law which mattered was “applicant,” and that there was only one of those, the winner, F. King Alexander. Note that Faircloth made this Read more
As the State of Louisiana’s October 1st hand-off of the Shreveport and Monroe public hospitals rapidly approaches, some further information is finally beginning to make its way to the public. In this morning’s Shreveport Times, reporter Melody Brumble draws attention to the formation of the new board of directors of Biomedical Research Foundation Hospital Holdings, LLC (BRFHH). Shreveport’s “Biomed,” as it is known, formed this new entity in order to lease the two State hospitals.
Biomedical Research Foundation As a “Partner” for Hospital Privatization
As has been previously stressed, the Biomedical Research Foundation, according to its website, exists for the purposes of “… promoting public and private support and collaboration to increase knowledge-based economic development,” and is not a hospital, or hospital management, company. All such critical services in operating Shreveport’s LSU Medical Center and Monroe’s E. A. Conway Medical Center, will be contracted out to unidentified vendors.
BRF exists on a mix of public revenue sources, including leases of its state-financed buildings back to the state’s LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, and a property tax millage paid by residents and businesses in Caddo Parishes. Its latest federal tax return, Form 990, for 2011 and Read more
October 1, 2013, The Chapter of public healthcare facilities in Louisiana will be closed. “This is the last day for public hospitals in Louisiana. We’re the last ones,” State Sen Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, said after reviewing the agreements. The LSU public hospital system grew out of a Charity Hospital clinic that was founded in 1736 in New Orleans during the French colonial period. Details of much of the dismantling are covered by Elliott Stoneciper in his most recent post.
Thompson said “I would have kept the LSU model intact,” but the truth is, it’s just not going to happen. Except, Thompson believes members of the public will remain on the board of the private entities that will start managing public LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe beginning Oct. 1. (continued below)
The facts concerning the back-room political manipulations that have led Louisiana to determine that the system started in 1736 was no longer viable needs to be Read more
It was October 2012 when Governor Bobby Jindal rolled-out the part of his state hospital “privatization” plan he was willing to let those who would pay for it – taxpayers – see. No one, except the select few insiders who concocted that plan, could have guessed that doing away with the centuries-old, taxpayer-supported “charity” hospital system would create a new, hybrid sort of “charity” hospital dependent still on taxpayer support. As the October 1st takeover of state hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe by Shreveport’s Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF) bears down, more and more sources of taxpayer financing of the deal are confirmed.
With each public meeting or public release of related details, the years-ago genesis of Jindal’s “privatization” op more clearly emerges. A key in understanding when and how this was put together is former Louisiana Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, Alan Levine.
This Is Not “Privatization.” So Why Are We Doing It?
Our state legislature’s Joint Committee on the Budget met last Friday to discuss the contract terms for Biomed’s takeover of Shreveport’s LSU Medical Center and Monroe’s E. A. Conway Medical Center. Governor Jindal and legislative friends have made sure the Committee has no power to do anything with Read more