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Friday, April 28, 2017

    WHAT'S ON THE POLICE CHIEF'S CELL PHONE? The mystery surrounding former Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White's cell phone just took another turn, with the release of the police report relating to its disappearance to the local news media.  White, who has said he did not have a city-parish cell phone, then said he had one but it was lost or stolen, finally turned it over to his attorney last week.  You can read more about who the chief was talking to and what police say the phone was being used for at the link below.  

    Written on Wednesday, 10 April 2013
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From public input into the way the New Orleans City Council should redraw Council district lines in light of the 2010 Census, emerged a recommendation for seven Council districts with no at-large seats, a suggestion that is sure to get push-back from the current members.  With the current City Council majority white, the elimination of the at-large seats, both currently held by white Council members, is being seen as an effort to return to a majority black Council.  Because of population loss, New Orleans' Council districts will be smaller regardless of how the districts are redrawn or whether additional seats are added.  Read more in the Times Picayune at the link below.   
Governor Bobby Jindal's legislative agenda suffered setbacks, with most of his larger proposals failing, but the Governor is vowing to keep pushing his efforts.  Jindal also ran into a newly independent House of Representatives, led by Speaker Jim Tucker, who opposed the Governor on many items.  While the Governor has described himself as "not much of a hugger", he created a stir when he appeared in the House Chambers late in the session and embraced legislators, but still failed to get them to embrace his proposals.  Read about the Governor's setbacks in his legislative agenda and what some legislators had to say about it at the link below.
 For all he did wrong, Ray Nagin knew how to win against all odds following the worst disaster in U.S. history.  In an atmosphere of paranoia and attacks from all sides, the highly chastised New Orleans mayor fought the Feds in hand to hand combat, while marrying up with anti Landrieu conservative forces hell bent on keeping Mitch Landrieu from building a stronger dynasty.  Nagin's account of post Katrina episodes reads like a sci-fi thriller, lacking the facts that keep everyone curious about what is really truth or fiction.
The president of the Christian conservative Family Policy Network sent Senator David Vitter, R-La., a letter Monday calling on him to follow the lead of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and resign rather than leave Republicans and conservatives open to charges of hypocrisy.  Vitter has admitted to committing a "serious sin" in 2007 after his phone number was found in the 2001 client records of a woman accused of running a prostitution ring. Vitter was a member of the House of Representatives when the calls were made.  Joe Glover, President of the group, says Vitter makes people like House Speaker John Boehner and Senator John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, appear to be hypocrites for calling on Congressman Anthony Weiner to resign while Vitter remains in the Senate.  Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly has agreed that Vitter should not be in the Senate.  Read more about this growing concern in the national conservative community at the link below.
In a rare move, the Senate rejected Governor Bobby Jindal's appointment to the LSU Board, former Senator Ann Duplessis, shown here, who is now a member of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's staff.  The sandbagging of Duplessis appears to be the result of a long standing political rivalry with Senator Cynthia Willard-Lewis, who told some reporters the result was simple, "She never asked me."  Senators have the option of blackballing appointees who reside in their districts when they meet behind closed doors in executive session.  Duplessis had taken her position on the board upon appointment, but will now be replaced by Jindal.
In a letter to state legislators and staff, Senator Butch Gautreaux delivered a devastating account of the Jindal administration's lack of transparency, use of state helicopters for campaign trips, manipulation of a public bid process to award a contract to a favored company, and time spent out of the state touting economic successes that aren't being felt at home.  The locally popular HTV in Houma obtained a copy of the email that was sent Wednesday and it can be read in its entirety at the link below. 
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has appeared on the Today Show and Jon Stewart's Daily Show to promote his self-published book, "Katrina's Secrets" and kicked off its first day of sales in New Orleans with a well-attended book signing.  From talking about his paranoia in post-Katrina New Orleans to an elite force of private security officers attempting to commandeer the Mayor's security, Nagin appears to be telling the behind the scenes secrets that until now had only been speculated about.  He describes a meeting in Dallas, attended by New Orleans' social elite, where the social engineering of New Orleans to prevent rebuilding in poorer, African American neighborhoods was discussed with the Mayor.   "I had a target on my back as the guy who stood in the way of their vision of a new New Orleans where mint juleps would once again be the drink of choice in a bleached, adult Disney World-like city,” Nagin wrote.  Read more about this sometimes bizarre and often entertaining book at the link below. 
Times Picayune columnist James Gill uses his acerbic wit to question why the Republican Leadership Conference felt the need to hire a comedian when they had their current field of Presidential candidates, saying the challenge to be funnier than them was enough to reduce the toughest stand-up veteran to a flop sweat.  But that's exactly what the GOP did when inviting Obama impersonator Reggie Brown, shown here, to address last week's conference in New Orleans.  But the real fun began when Brown started making fun of Republican Presidential candidates, some who were in the room, forcing the conference staff to drown him out with music and pull him from the stage.  Read more about this gig at the link below.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser kicked off a 5-city announcement tour in his campaign for Lt. Governor, saying incumbent Jay Dardenne has had eight months on the job and isn't doing enough.  Dardenne's campaign immediately hit back by distributing a recorded phone message that Nungesser sent out endorsing Dardenne when he ran for the position in a special election to replace former Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. 
Nungesser's first day of his tour saw packed houses in his hometown of Belle Chasse and Dardenne's hometown of Baton Rouge.   Nungesser is traveling the state with the large elephant, shown here, adorned with campaign signs.
Shreveport's Inner Loop could finally get moving after those charged with regional transportation planning signed off on a $1 million examination of three proposed routes for extension. With $800,000 in federal funding and $200,000 from the state, Shreveport is poised to connect Highway 3132 with the future Interstate 69.  As with all efforts in regional transportation planning seem to go, the process provides its share of political drama.  Read about the exchange between Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover and the CEO of Willis-Knighton Hospital at the link below.
With the legislature poised to vote on whether to override Governor Bobby Jindal's veto of the renewal of a 4-cent tax on cigarettes, the state's largest newspaper is calling on them to stand up to him and do the right thing for the health of Louisianans.  With polls showing most people in the state favor higher taxes on cigarettes, the Times Picayune calls Jindal's decision "wrongheaded" and point to Jindal calling for higher cigarette taxes when he was Governor Mike Foster's Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals.  The legislature is expected to vote today and you can read more about this important vote at the link below. 
 Gambit publisher Clancy Dubos poses a few birthday questions for the governor turning 40 to consider.  Seems Louisiana's governor is either a master of deception or disguise, a chameleon whose costumes and tone changes with each new audience he delights.  I a state of revelry and frolicking, one might find this amusing if the stakes weren't so high.
In a strongly worded editorial, the state's largest newspaper is supporting legislation by Senator Robert Adley in his third attempt to require greater transparency in the Governor's Office.  "A bill that would open the Governor's Office records to public scrutiny is a needed reform that would end the sweeping exceptions to public records law that now apply to Louisiana's chief executive," the editorial says.  Adley's bill would end a provision that shields the "deliberative process", a vague term that has been abused by all agencies in the Executive branch, according to the Senator.

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