Friday, June 28, 2013

Will He Or Won’t He – Only Bobby Knows For Sure - Or Does He?

If I go there will be trouble, And if I stay it will be double”
-          The Clash

Lots of political tongue wagging this week with the rumors growing louder that Governor Bobby Jindal will run against Senator Mary Landrieu in 2014.
Despite Jindal advisor Curt Anderson claiming that Jindal has “no interest” in running against Landrieu and multiple columns in The Hayride extolling the virtues of Congressman Bill Cassidy and his allegedly $4 Million war chest (although the article doesn’t say what it will cost to buy Cassidy any sort of name recognition or a personality), the Jindal for Senate rumor makes too much sense.

With his current poll numbers at their lowest levels ever and his inability to pass major legislation, Jindal’s chances of becoming President, or even Vice-President, in 2016 look increasingly dim.
A Cabinet position, assuming the Republican nominee wins in 2016 and wants Jindal to be a part of the team, also looks remote.

Jindal as Secretary of Health and Human Services? How could he be appointed to that post after he gutted Louisiana’s healthcare system?
HUD? With all of the issues in New Orleans, are you kidding?

Energy? Not with the BP oil spill still in people’s minds.
Education? He pushed for vouchers and approves of Charter Schools.

So, what’s left? Agriculture? Homeland Security? Labor? Transportation? Veteran’s Affairs? Interior? Commerce? Treasury?
I don’t see Jindal getting, or even wanting, any of those slots.

So, what will he do when his term is up, assuming he stays on through 2015?
Can’t go back to Congress – already been there and done that.

Campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination that even he can’t believe he can win?
Sit out a couple of months and hope that Senator David Vitter runs for and wins the gubernatorial race to replace Jindal and open up a seat in the Senate? That could happen but why wait?

“This indecision’s bugging me”
Why not go to the Senate a year early for a term or two and build your national profile for a Presidential or Veep run later? After all, Jindal’s only 42. After 2 terms in the Senate, he would be all of 55 and have even more of a resume.

In addition to getting to the Senate a year early (assuming Vitter leaves and runs for Governor), defeating Mary Landrieu (beating an incumbent Senator would make national news and catapult Jindal back into the spotlight), getting Vitter’s hand-picked candidate (the not very Conservative Cassidy) out of the race and out of Congress, and blocking a Vitter gubernatorial bid by appointing Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne to serve as the interim Governor, giving Dardenne a leg up on replacing Jindal, the scenario could show that Jindal still is a powerful force in Louisiana.
Or, he could throw an additional monkey wrench into the pot by appointing Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser as interim Governor. Jindal and Dardenne are not on great terms and appointing Nungesser, or anyone for that matter and bypassing Dardenne, would be a blow to Dardenne. Nungesser, who has announced he will be running for Lt. Governor, was the beneficiary of Jindal’s fundraising support after Nungesser lost his last attempt at the Lt. Governor’s job.

Of course, this is all speculation and no one knows for sure, probably not even the Governor. But, the good news is that it’s early. The Senate race isn’t until November 2014 and Governor Jindal still has a job, for now.
Jindal could announce his decision next spring and still have time to campaign and beat Landrieu. Announcing that late would also freeze Cassidy out since he’s already announced that he will not be seeking re-election to Congress this fall.

The point is, it doesn’t really matter who writes what or denies what now.
But, I’m sure that somewhere Governor Jindal is smiling since we’re even talking about him and not mentioning his failed tax swap plan.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fort Polk “Saved” – Indispensable Landrieu Takes Credit

While residents in CENLA were cheering the U.S. Army’s decision to only reduce troop strength at Fort Polk by a modest 240, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was sending out an email blast patting herself on the back for her efforts in “saving Fort Polk”.

In the email, the Indispensable One said:
“I am proud to say that during the last decade, I have secured $1 billion dollars in federal investment for Fort Polk. Together, we have worked to keep Ft. Polk strong and improve quality of life for our military families.”

Fort Polk will continue to be a place for the Army to stay and grow in Central Louisiana.”
And, while that fact may comfort Fort Polk and Leesville, it does little to exude joy from U.S. taxpayers.

Why, exactly, do we need a base with 9,500 troops stationed in the middle of Louisiana or an Air Force Base in Bossier City with 15,000 active-duty troops? Is the Federal Government preparing to strike back should the Republic of Texas ever attempt succession?
The antiquated system of placing military bases in Congressional Districts across the country as perks instead of basing them on their strategic value should have died out long ago.

Rather than addressing and fixing the problem or allowing military leaders to determine which bases are necessary for the nation's defense (I mean, why allow someone to do their job), Landrieu takes it upon herself to pour more money into possibly non-strategic military assets. 

When land-locked Orlando has a Naval Training Base, you know there are issues with military base placement.
Although I have heard rumblings that Donald Duck is acquiring several pirate ships.

JP’s One Woman Judge, Jury and Executioner

In Jefferson Parish, there are a handful of people that you don’t want to cross. Since her return just in time for her first election, District 5 Councilwoman Cynthia Sheng has been one of those people.

Under the guise of “redeveloping” Fat City, Sheng, with the help and support of her mentor, Newell Normand, took it upon herself to rewrite the zoning rules for a neighborhood placing the first ever alcohol sales limitations imposed on a neighborhood in the state.
The onerous Fat City Rezoning Ordinance systematically drove businesses out of Fat City, caused several owners to close businesses that were Metairie institutions, reduced property values (the site housing the former Salvatore’s restaurant was valued at $1 Million. It sold for $510,000 after Salvatore’s closed), and led to minimal development almost three years after it was enacted.

After claiming that there would be “no exceptions” to the Fat City ordinance, Sheng just happened to include exceptions for several favored businesses and political contributors.
In addition, after driving out several restaurants, Sheng managed to persuade the JP Council to allow banned food trucks imported from New Orleans to congregate monthly in a Fat City parking lot owned by Tommy Cvitanovich, the owner of Drago’s Restaurant and a Sheng supporter, to hold the “Cynthia Sheng Food Truck Festival”.

Ok, so that’s not really the name but, it might as well be.
Councilwoman Sheng then set her sights on “improving” Jefferson Parish Mardi Gras parades.

Again, she imposed more onerous rules regarding the number of marching bands each parade should have as well as the number of floats and riders and also put in stiff penalties for non-compliance.
Not content with those improvements, Sheng has now taken it a step further by banishing a parade completely.

At yesterday’s JP Council Meeting, Sheng handed out a death sentence to the fledgling Krewe of Hera.
Hera, a woman-only Krewe that was formed and expected to hold its first parade last year, was cancelled by Sheng after allegations of mismanagement and financial difficulties. It was replaced by the new Krewe of Atlantis.

There was some controversy after Hera cancelled their one and only parade due to bad weather one day before the parade was scheduled to roll.
A couple of former Hera members complained about a lack of communication and the Krewe’s management structure.

Sheng wasn’t buying the excuse of growing pains for a new Krewe and refused to give Hera a second chance.
“When we give a permit, it gives a stamp of approval that helps you recruit members,” Sheng said. “I just can’t let more women be in the same situation.” 

So, after “fixing” Fat City, launching a festival, “improving” JP Mardi Gras Parades, Sheng is now taking on the noble cause of standing up for all Women against the evil oppressors lording over a woman-only Mardi Gras Krewe.
What’s next for Councilwoman Sheng?

Global warming?

World Peace?

How about drainage on Metairie Road? Now that would be something relevant to her district.
As for Hera, Sheng put the hangman’s noose around the parade and did it with glee.

“The accusations rise to the level where I do question the legitimacy of your organization,” Sheng said.
Of course it doesn't matters that many Jefferson Parish residents question Sheng’s legitimacy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

“A Self-Proclaimed Vigilante”

At Thursday’s Kenner City Council meeting, some statements were made regarding my lawsuit against the City of Kenner, Mayor Mike Yenni and the Kenner City Council over the sale of $47 Million in bonds for some beautification projects. These statements were printed online on and in Friday’s edition of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Please indulge me as I show you that these statements are lies and misinformation perpetuated by Mayor Yenni and have no basis in fact.
My Lawsuit is Costing the City ”as much as $2 Million in Financing Costs”

Prior to Thursday’s council meeting, Council President Jeannie Black approached me and made that claim. She said that she had heard that “from several people” but she would not disclose who those people were or how they arrived at that number. She asked me to stop the lawsuit and ask Mayor Yenni, during the televised meeting, to elaborate on what I was costing the city.
Obviously, I declined to do both which frustrated Councilwoman Black.

In the first case, myself, individually and as President of Citizens For a Better Kenner (CFBK) entered into the lawsuit. The CFBK Officers voted to pursue the litigation because they believed, as I do, that Kenner residents should have the right to vote on an important matter like this which will tie up $3.2 Million in sales tax revenue for the next 20 years.
While I could remove myself as a Plaintiff (which I wouldn’t because I believe that the residents of Kenner should have the right to vote), I couldn’t eliminate CFBK from the lawsuit unilaterally and without the approval of the other Officers.

Second, the litigation is ongoing, so I’m not going to make any public statements regarding it. In fact, my only statements here will be to refute these false allegations.
Since I refused to engage Mayor Yenni during the council meeting as Councilwoman Black requested, another council member, District 4 Councilwoman Maria DeFrancesch, did.

During the discussion regarding the second reading of an ordinance to officially approve the sale of the bonds, Councilwoman DeFrancesch asked Finance Director Duke McConnell to discuss what the delay in selling the bonds due to my lawsuit had cost the city. Mr. McConnell estimated that it would cost the city an additional $1.5 – 2 Million in financing costs if the bonds were sold now versus what the city could have spent had it sold the bonds a month ago when I filed the lawsuit.
What neither noted was that the sale of the bonds involves a process, a process which is still not complete.

Thursday’s council meeting would have been the final piece in the process as the council would have voted to approve the sale of the bonds. Prior to the council passing this final hurdle, the bonds could not have been sold.
Yes, due to the lawsuit, the council deferred voting on the matter for 1 meeting. However, since the bonds couldn’t have been sold a month ago, without the council passing this ordinance and giving its approval for the actual sale of the bonds, any discussion regarding the interest rate, the financing costs, etc. are purely speculation.

Hypothetically, if I had not filed the lawsuit and the council had delayed giving the bonds their final approval, would Mayor Yenni be blaming the council for increasing these “phantom” costs?
Let me put this another way. Your boss tells you that, next month, you’re going to get a raise. Can you spend that money now or do you need to wait until the raise is actually in your paycheck and your bank account?

These bonds aren’t close to being in Kenner’s bank account yet and, without council approval, they wouldn’t be – with or without my lawsuit.
Yes it’s true that interest rates could rise before the bonds are sold. It’s also true that they could decline.

So, if the bonds haven’t been priced to determine their interest rate and if they haven’t been sold because the council hasn’t given them the final approval to be sold, how can anyone estimate what the lawsuit has cost the city when there are other variables to include?
Just as Mr. McConnell pulled a figure out of the air, I could also blame Mayor Yenni for costing the city Millions since he didn’t try to sell bonds a year ago when interest rates were even lower. 

But, you won’t see an article about that in the Times-Picayune.

“V for Vendetta or is it Vigilante?”
Since he has been mayor, Yenni has engaged in attempting to discredit anyone who opposes his ideas. He has even resorted to childish antics like name-calling.

It is no surprise that I am a lightning rod for the Mayor’s disapproval, or his name-calling.
In 2011, in Mayor Yenni’s column in the Kenner Star, Yenni criticized citizens who attend the council meetings and speak at the end of the meeting to address the council.

Yenni called these citizens, “a dozen or so well-practiced but familiar mouths that appear from meeting to meeting” and said, “we are hearing from a core group of constant complainers who seem choreographed to create chaos”. He even claimed that some council members were using these citizens as puppets.
Of course, when I asked Mayor Yenni who he was referring to, he denied that he was talking about me or any members of CFBK. However, at many council meetings, myself and other CFBK members are the majority of those, and sometimes the only citizens, who speak.

In addition, Mayor Yenni has labeled my group, Citizens For a Better Kenner, as “Bitter” and “Sinister”. He even said that CFBK should be called “CAVE – Citizens Against Virtually Everything”.
Thursday’s article on was posted at 8:25pm on 6/20 (Thursday). It was updated on Friday, June 21st at 11:16am to include the following paragraph:

‘In a statement, Yenni said, "It is disturbing that one man with a personal agenda can single-handedly act on his own behalf and claim that it is in the name of all people. Bennetti has cost Kenner millions of dollars. He is a self-proclaimed vigilante, but he's nothing more than vengeful and selfish."
I don’t know if the time lag in updating the article was so Mayor Yenni could call his Political Consultant Greg Buisson and write a statement or why Mayor Yenni couldn’t simply answer the Times-Picayune reporter’s questions at the council meeting as I did.

But, in any event, it seems that I have now progressed up the food chain from “Bitter” and “Sinister” to “Vengeful and Selfish” along with being “A self-proclaimed vigilante”.
Glad to know that Mayor Yenni is getting his money’s worth from his Political Consultant and that they are now using multi-syllable words and even hyphens.

Could someone please explain how advocating for a voter referendum makes me “selfish”? I’m not receiving Millions in government contracts for this work. I’m not receiving anything – in fact, this lawsuit is costing time and money. How is it “selfish” if you have nothing to gain except the right to vote on the future of your city?
Now, to be fair, I have been critical of Mayor Yenni on the radio, on TV, in print and, of course, online. But, I’m critical of a lot of people who I think are inept or corrupt and I’ve never personally attacked Mayor Yenni although I frequently attack his “ideas”.

Regarding inept politicians, I was critical of former Governor Kathleen Blanco who I believed was extremely inept. I was critical of former Kenner Mayor Ed Muniz who I believed not only was also inept but scored the Daily Double by also surrounding himself with people (like former CAO and current Mayor Yenni) who were even more inept than he was. Now that, is the mark of a true leader!
Speaking of Mayor Yenni’s background, prior to his appointment as CAO for then Mayor Muniz, Yenni’s claim to fame was being in charge of Jefferson Parish’s Mardi Gras Parades. I know that many of you will enjoy the irony in that bit of information.

And, I’ve also been critical of elected officials who I believe are both inept AND corrupt including former Parish President Aaron Broussard, former Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee and former State Senator Derrick Shephard. Long before two of the three (Broussard, Shephard) were indicted, I was critical of them.  
And, there have been many others. But, they are not whining about me in the media.

So, my criticism is not limited exclusively to the Mayor Mike Yenni. If it were, that would constitute a “vendetta”.
But, it’s not personal. I simply disagree with Mayor Yenni on many issues and basic philosopy.

Truthfully, I would disagree with any Mayor, whether they were named Yenni, Muniz, Capitano, Congemi,  or any name, if that Mayor

-         Expanded the illegal Executive Pay Plan even after myself and many others told him it was illegal and was costing Kenner over $250,000 a year. Finally, the Attorney General said it was illegal and Mayor Yenni had to eliminate it.

-          Tried to Double property taxes.

-         Tried to balance the city budget by closing playgrounds and limiting recreational opportunities for our youth instead of consolidating departments and eliminating costly perks for his political appointees.

-         Fought against good government Charter Changes that were approved by a 70-30% voter margin.

     -          Shifted Kenner’s Hotel/Motel tax to a group controlled by his Political Consultant instead    
             of forming or finding a Kenner group to exclusively promote Kenner.

-         Endorsed extending the Crescent City Connection tolls for an additional 20 years despite the bridge, and the toll money the bridge generating, having absolutely nothing to do with Kenner.

-         And is now trying to do an end run around city of Kenner residents by significantly increasing the city’s debt without a vote of the people.

So, while I am sorry if, disagreeing with Mayor Yenni when he claims to be a “Fiscally Conservative Republican” while attempting to double property taxes and mortgage Kenner’s future for some beautification projects that include public art in medians and bike paths to nowhere, makes me “Bitter”, “Sinister”, “Vengeful”, “Selfish” and, my personal favorite, “A self-proclaimed vigilante” (maybe that should be the slogan for my next political campaign should I ever run for office again), so be it.
The fact is, Mayor Yenni, members of his Administration, City Council members and his Political Consultant can call me all the names they want. They just can’t say that I’m wrong.

In the meantime, I’ll stick to debating the issues and leave the name-calling, the lies and the misinformation to the Mayor.
He does it much better than I ever could.   

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jindal To Republicans: “The Stupid Party” needs to stop “Bedwetting” Too

Governor Bobby Jindal, continuing to try to make himself relevant on the national stage, has blasted his fellow Republicans again saying that they need to hold firm to their conservative beliefs, put on their “big boy pants” and get ready for the country to revolt against liberal ideology.

And, as is usually the case with Governor Jindal, he’s right and wrong at the same time.
In the piece written for, Jindal reminds us that 30 Governors are Republican, George W. Bush was not popular at the end of his 2nd term, and Republicans took control of the House in 2010 and held it in 2012.

And, while it’s true that Republicans can win some elections, winning elections isn’t the problem – it’s what you do after you’re elected that counts and that is where the Republican Party is failing miserably at all levels.
At the State level, every Statewide elected official is now a Republican – from the Governor to the Agriculture Commissioner (who wants to be Governor, by the way).  The Republican Party controls the State House and the Senate.

So, what exactly did Republicans accomplish in the last legislative session with all of this massive power? Not much.
In fact, in my opinion, Republicans haven’t accomplished much during Jindal’s six years as Governor, except for gaining more Republican elected officials, and, in spite of this, I’m sure that if he wanted, Jindal could easily be elected for a 3rd term. Unfortunately, that fact alone is not a sign of Republican strength or Jindal’s popularity as much as it’s a sign of how truly weak the Democratic Party is outside of the City of New Orleans.

“Gold Standard Ethics Reforms” – a waste of time and paper.
“Tax Reform” – not the Governor’s problem.

“Education Reform” – we’re still 49th in the Country in terms of college graduates.

But, we can proudly say “I’m A Cajun” on our driver’s licenses and license plates should we desire.
No, Louisiana Republicans including Governor Jindal have lost their way and sooner or later it will catch up to them.

When you have Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne (who also wants to be the next Governor) asking the Governor to veto an appropriation of $200,000 to the Bayou Country Superfest concert in Baton Rouge, not because Dardenne thinks the state has other priorities that could be funded but because Dardenne only wants to give the concert $100,000, something is wrong with this picture.
And, when the only fiscally Conservative statewide elected official is a former Democrat in State Treasurer John Kennedy, some Republicans must have missed a couple of memos about what being a “Fiscal Conservative” really means.

Despite the state Republican Party touting the successes of having a majority in the State House and Senate, the legislature is no better.
“Fiscal Hawks” felt they needed to find their own one-time money and get in bed with the Legislative Black Caucus to get a budget deal done instead of making their Republican counterparts sit up and take notice and push them to make significant reforms.

When a handful of legislators meet in secret to hammer out a budget compromise, after the House Speaker and the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee each said that their budgets were the best thing since Acadians discovered that crawfish really were good eats, you see what a muddled mess the legislature is in.
An even bigger problem, especially for us in Jefferson Parish, is that our local and parish leaders and our legislative delegation not only missed the memos, they never completed their orientation.

No, for us who call Jefferson Parish home, we face a truly miserable fate at the moment thanks to several elected officials who claim to be Republican.
Led by Sheriff Newell Normand and urged on by a Republican-majority (6-1) Council and Republican Parish President, these “Republicans” have managed to change a state law to deny residents the right to vote on whether Jefferson Parish’s two public hospitals are leased to a private company.   

In fact, two “Republicans”, State Rep. Joe Lopinto (Metairie) and State Senator Danny Martiny (Kenner) carried the bill through the legislature to strip you of your rights.
It doesn’t matter which side of the hospital debate you fall on, you don’t get to vote on it anyway thanks to Normand, Lopinto, Martiny and the Jefferson Parish Council.

After Lopinto and Martiny got their bill passed (ironically, in the Senate by a 36-1 vote with only former Democrat and now Republican John Alario voting “No” – clearly old John hit the wrong button), I asked about a dozen Republican legislators across the state why they would vote to deny Jefferson Parish resident the right to vote. To a person, each one said that, since the Jefferson Parish delegation was “FOR” it that, if they voted Against the bill, Jefferson Parish legislators might vote against bills impacting their districts and parishes.
Is that what the Republican Party has become: The Party of Protecting Our Own Turf?

Now, I know there’s going to be a “Special” Council Meeting on July 10th so the Council can hear input from the public and patronize us, but you already know the fix is in. If it wasn’t, the Council would be out there in front of the TV cameras, along with Sheriff Normand (who has never met a camera that he wouldn’t slick back his hair for), to “educate” the public.

Yeah, taking away the right to vote is a Republican attribute and something the State Republican Party should be proud of. Where are the press releases about this?
We can drill down even farther and look at the machinations of the allegedly “Fiscally Conservative” Republican Mayor Mike Yenni.

In three years in office Mayor Yenni has:
-          Tripled sewerage fees

-          Tried to Double Property Taxes

-          Tried to close playgrounds instead of eliminating Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in perks for his political appointees

And, now Yenni wants to borrow $47 Million (plus an additional $17 Million in Interest) for the next 20 years to pay off some existing debt and do some “beautification” projects.
The cost of this debt issue, Principal and Interest, is more than the annual budget of the City and will increase the City’s debt by 34%, yet Yenni still maintains that he is a “Fiscal Conservative”.

In what universe is Doubling Property Taxes and borrowing more money “Fiscally Conservative”?
Like I said in the beginning, Governor Jindal is both right and wrong.

He’s right in the fact that Republicans need to stick to core Conservative Values  both Fiscally (less government; lower taxes; reducing onerous rules and regulations stopping businesses from growing and penalizing individuals for success; eliminating entitlements) and Socially (ending abortion; repealing ObamaCare).
However, since the Governor himself sold Louisiana voters a bill of goods by letting us believe that he was a True Conservative and not just a Social Conservative, he’s not exactly someone who should be throwing stones at the Party and expecting everyone to rally around him.

Until Republicans can get it right and nominate a candidate who is both a Fiscal AND Social Conservative, they are destined to continue losing the elections.
Everywhere that is except for Louisiana, Jefferson Parish and Kenner.

Here being a “Conservative Republican” means to some that you protect your own turf, deny residents the right to vote, double property taxes and borrow millions of dollars.
Yeah, that’s the "Conservative Republican" way.

Bedwetting and all.

NSA Snooping: “Working As Designed” LA Congressman Says

Somewhat lost in the furor over the NSA snooping debate is the fact that all 7 Louisiana Congressmen and both Senators voted to Approve the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reauthorization of 2012.  

The recent additional revelations of government spying on average citizens through the use of warrantless searches has also put the FISA Court, which approves such searches, in the spotlight.
Warrantless searches were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court however, in 1978 Congress created a special court to secretly review government requests to spy on foreign communications. Initially, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 covered only “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers”.

The system was expanded by President Bush post 9/11 with the Patriot Act. In 2005, the New York Times disclosed that the Bush Administration was using the Patriot Act for warrantless domestic wiretapping.
In addition to approving surveillance on “foreign powers”, the FISA Court now approves warrantless searches on Americans.

In The Advocate, Congressman Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) said that he approves of the current system in place.
“Based on everything I’ve heard, the programs have been working as designed,” Boustany said. “But we need to continue to have proper oversight.”

Congressman Boustany also referenced “very vigorous congressional oversight” of the snooping program.
Tuesday, in a radio interview on KPEL 96.5fm in Lafayette, Congressman Boustany again defended the program on “The Ken & Bernie Show”.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there in the media. This program has been carefully vetted.  Legislation has been changed to put in more safeguards over time.  Congress is very much involved in oversight as well as the FISA Court (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) which has to approve anything involved with American citizens…When we pick up information involving an American citizen or someone who is in America protected under the Constitution, then what happens is, the FISA court has to approve any other action on that.  If it’s just dealing with foreign to foreign contacts we can track that and it’s helped us uncover a number of major terrorist plots here and abroad.”
I don’t want to pick a fight with the Congressman, but how much oversight really exists?

According to Fox News, from 2003-2012, the FISA Court approved 18,748 requests to monitor communications, email or telephone calls.
And how many requests were denied? 10.

Even NPR is crying “foul” on that.
In an article, Nina Totenberg writes

As a result, the FISA court became "less a court than an administrative entity or ministerial clerk," says William Banks, director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University. "They weren't reviewing law anymore; they were simply sort of stamping papers as approved or filed."
And there’s more.

A second program overseen by the FISA court was authorized in 2001 by the Patriot Act. Under the law, the government has collected all communications metadata for Americans and non-Americans alike. Unlike the PRISM program, metadata does not include monitoring of content per se. Instead, the program orders U.S. telecom companies to provide the government with records of all phone calls made and email identifiers sent through their servers. The information also includes how long individual calls last, the locations that the calls are made from and specific websites surfed.”
Several news outlets have also reported that leading web sites and companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Facebook are also routinely providing the government with information on your internet surfing, many from offshore locations, to avoid U.S. government scrutiny.

So, with the blink of an eye, or, really, the stroke of a pen, the government can and does track which websites you go to, how long your calls last and where you made them from.

Yes, Congress has been briefed on these programs but does a briefing qualify as “very vigorous congressional oversight”?

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has been critical of the snooping program.

"We've seen this movie before," Lee said. "We know how it ends. We know that eventually, when people are given too much power in government, they will abuse that authority for nefarious purposes, sometimes for political purposes, and that's not ok."
How much “oversight” can be done when 1,800 requests are approved for every 1 that is denied?
Like Congressman Boustany, President Obama continues to defend the program.

On the PBS “Charlie Rose Program”, Obama defended the NSA programs and called them “transparent”.
To dispel criticism, President Obama disclosed that he has created yet another board.

Obama, who repeated earlier assertions that the programs were a legitimate counterterror tool and that they were completely noninvasive to people with no terror ties, said he has created a privacy and civil liberties oversight board.”
Let’s hope that board works better than “very vigorous congressional oversight” and a whole lot better than Obama’s much-ballyhooed jobs committee.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And So It Begins: Justifying The Loss Of Our Freedom By Stopping “What Ifs”

The older I get it seems the less things shock me.

I used to be shocked or surprised when politicians and government officials would defend their actions when they were caught. Now, after seeing it so many times on the local, parish, state and federal level, I just sit back and shake my head.
I’ve been pretty outspoken with my disdain for the federal government bending and twisting the Patriot Act to now include compiling lists of who ordinary citizens call on their cell phones and huge supercomputers analyzing emails for keywords all under the guise of “protecting the country from terrorism.”

In the last few hours, I’ve gotten several phone calls and emails from friends who disagree with me and think that the government has the right to do almost anything they want if it protects our country.
Earlier today, the National Security Agency chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, said that all the snooping that the government has done has helped prevent “potential terrorist threats” over 50 times since 9/11 including a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange.

My “friends” each pointed to that and said, “So, what have you got to say now?”
My answer is simple: So what?

We are never going to be 100% safe in our country and for every “potential terrorist threat” (and, what exactly does that mean?), we’re still going to have to deal with two knucklehead brothers from Chechyna  or somewhere else, who want to overthrow our way of life one marathon at a time.
With all of our snooping prowess and massive supercomputers we couldn’t stop two kids from buying some pressure cookers and fireworks and making their own “bombs” and conducting their own act of terror.

In fact, the U.S. Government has already admitted that there were no intelligence reports indicating that the Boston Marathon bombing, or any bombing for that matter, would occur.
After the bombing, in the Los Angeles Times, NY Congressman Peter King said, "I received two top secret briefings last week on the current threat levels in the United States, and there was no evidence of this at all."

The fact remains that our country has two porous borders, we have a flawed immigration system, and we can’t keep track of students or visitors that, initially, come to our country legally. Yet, we’re spying on our own people.
Should our government be concerned with some individuals that are in our country, what they do and who they talk with? Of course, with all of our technology and resources we should have an idea who the “bad guys” are. And, it’s not every Muslim.

We knew about the Boston Marathon bombers, the FBI interviewed one of them, and we let him go and chose to look the other way.
We saw the signs of the Ft. Hood shooter and we chose to look the other way. Even after it was exposed that his actions were clearly an act of terrorism, our President still sugarcoats this cowardly action by classifying it as an “act of workplace violence”.

We have thousands of foreigners here on student visas and many of them have stopped going to school and faded into our country’s woodwork. And, we choose to look the other way.
“We don’t have the manpower to round up illegals”.

Yet, President Obama can ask for $1 Billion for more IRS Agents to enforce ObamaCare rules.
We have troops stationed in foreign countries fighting wars that should never have begun. We give foreign countries Billions of Dollars in aid and their people hate America.

We can’t build a fence, a smart or a dumb fence or even a white picket fence, to secure our own border but we can build supercomputers to scan the emails of every American citizen?
Did you realize that the guy in the next cubicle is a terrorist mastermind? Neither did I, but that doesn’t stop our government from reading his emails and all the while smiling and telling you, “We’re doing this for your own protection”.

Our country is being overrun with illegal immigrants; we have antiquated laws allowing an illegal immigrant to cross the border, push out a kid here, and Voila! you’re a citizen – here’s where you sign up for welfare, food stamps and a free cell phone. Call your relatives - they can come here too!
Yet, we can spend hours debating whether Edward Snowden is a hero or he should be tried for treason.

Treason? If you watched ‘The Newsroom’ on HBO or watched Fox News in the past few years, you already knew almost everything you know now – Snowden is just a face, someone to attach blame to.
Did Snowden tell us some specifics and fill in some gaps? Sure, but it’s not like we didn’t already see the big picture. The FBI and IRS have had files on Millions of law-abiding citizens for years. Now, those manila folders have been replaced by sim cards in a building in Utah.

But, the reality is, our government can’t tell us how many illegal immigrants are here, how many foreigners came here on student or travel visas and stopped studying and travelling, or come up with a plan to secure our border before we give 11 Million or 30 Million or whatever the number actually is, a “path to citizenship” or amnesty, but, even as we speak, a government supercomputer is analyzing an email for potential terrorist keywords that my mom sent to me containing her recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.
Thankfully, the recipe doesn’t call for using a pressure cooker, otherwise my mom and I might be on another list somewhere.

Watch out for exploding carrots though. They can be really hard to clean up.   

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Want Some Taxpayer Dollars? Start a Festival, Concert or Mardi Gras Krewe

Friday, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne asked Governor Jindal to cut in half the amount of money that Legislators approved to give to the Bayou Country Superfest, a two-day concert in Baton Rouge.

Did you even know that state tax dollars were going to the Bayou Country Superfest? I sure didn’t.
Except for its inaugural year when it received $300,000 in taxpayer dollars, Dardenne has routinely appropriated $100,000 for the concert. Next year, the Legislature has opted to give the concert’s promoters $200,000, over Dardenne’s objections.

Now, I know that the Bayou Country Superfest folks will tell you that people from 46 states as well as country music fans from Puerto Rico (who knew there were country music fans in Puerto Rico?), Canada and the home of country music, Scotland, attended. But, does that warrant tax payer dollars?
But, it’s not just the Bayou Country Superfest that gets your tax dollars from the state.

Next year, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism will spend almost $950,000 on Essence Fest and another $300,000 on the Independence Bowl (I wonder how many real tourists plan their vacations around a December football game in Shreveport?).
Of course, what the state won’t tell you is that we’re reducing the budget for state museums, cultural events, and state parks while we fund concerts and bowl games.

The question isn’t how much these events are receiving. The question should be, why are they getting any money at all?
Every city in Louisiana has some version of the Hotel/Motel tax to promote tourism at the local level.

Jefferson Parish has a Hotel/Motel tax as does the City of Kenner, which gives its share to the Jefferson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (JCVB) which is controlled by Mayor Yenni’s political consultant, Greg Buisson.
The Hotel/Motel tax in Jefferson Parish is given back to the districts which provide the taxes to spend on tourism.

Of course, in Jefferson Parish, as at the state level, the word “tourism” can mean many things.
In Terrytown, Jefferson Parish has routinely given “tourism” money, first directly and later in the form of expense reimbursements, to the Terrytown Festival run by State Representative Bryan Adams. Exactly how many “tourists” flood the streets of Terrytown during the Festival? Your guess is as good as mine. But, one thing that I don’t need to guess about is the fact that we’ll be talking again about the Terrytown Festival and State Rep. Adams very soon.

In Metairie, “tourism” dollars go to Family Gras, an event promoted by the JCVB and whose advertising dollars are doled out by, you guessed it, Greg Buisson. This year, Family Gras was headlined by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Creedence Clearwater Revisited (I guess copyright law stopped them from using “Revival”). To be honest, I didn’t even know that Frankie Valli was still alive but I was encouraged to hear that he’s still performing at 79. I may need to adjust my actuarial tables.
Have a Fishing Rodeo? Sure, we’ve got “tourism” dollars for you.

A Mardi Gras Krewe? No problem with that either.

Back on the West Bank, the JP Council has routinely given thousands of “tourism” dollars to Mardi Gras Krewes. It could just be me, and, to be honest, I really do have a small circle of friends, but I don’t see people sitting around the dinner table and saying, “Kids, should we vacation on the West Bank this year and see the Krewe of Alla or should we go to Disney World?”
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending upon how you look at it, Alla and several West Bank Krewes have decided to parade in New Orleans so JP Councilman Ricky Templet (who himself is the Founder and Chairman of the Gretna Heritage Festival) will have a few more shekels in his “tourism” budget.
Anybody want to start a Concert on the West Bank? I hear Frankie Valli might be available.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Follow-Up Audit Gives JPAS Clean Financial Bill Of Health

The Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS), which was the subject of an audit which criticized some of its financial controls, was given a clean bill of health in a follow-up audit.

The follow-up audit states: “All findings from the previous report have been resolved to the satisfaction of the Internal Audit; therefore, no additional response is required.”
Prior to the initial report’s draft, a copy was leaked to the press and drew an immediate response from JPAS Artistic and Executive Director Dennis Assaf. The draft report failed to note the steps JPAS had taken to correct items that were discussed in the draft report.

The ensuing media scrutiny caused Jefferson Parish President John Young to temporarily withhold emergency funding from JPAS. With the results of the follow-up audit, that funding is expected to be released by the Parish.
The draft of the follow-up audit is posted on the JPAS website.

JPAS was founded 35 years ago by Assaf and Hannah Cunningham. Last year, JPAS held over 200 performances in 12 theatres, 8 cities, and 5 parishes in Louisiana and Mississippi.


Monday, June 10, 2013

And the Queen of Tanger Outlet Mall is....

This morning, I was a guest on "The Ken & Bernie Show" with Ken Romero and Bernadette Lee on KPEL 96.5fm in Acadiana. We talked about the winners and losers from the legislative session and announced who the Queen of Tanger Outlet Mall is....well, you just have to listen to find out.

No Big Winners, Some Losers As Legislature Wraps Up Session

Well, now that the State House and Senate finally passed a budget at the almost 11th hour and the Legislative Session closed on time without the need for a “Special Session" who exactly were the Winners and Losers?

To be honest, while there were some small winners, nobody won the Powerball. And, you can’t have some winners, even if they are small winners, without also have some losers.
But, what did we accomplish? Not much. In fact, the Council For a Better Louisiana (CABL) said, “at the end of the day, not a lot has changed.”

At least we didn’t get a tax on one-time use plastic bags. Thankfully, the 2 bills authored by State Rep. Regina Barrow (D-Baton Rouge) never made it out of committee.
So, before you get bombarded with emails from your State Rep and State Senator telling you what a great job they did and patting themselves on the back, here is one man’s opinion of who won and lost this session.

Small Winner – Bobby Jindal. Yeah, I know that he didn’t get his grand tax swap and I know he virtually abdicated any political juice that he had and any real opportunity for meaningful reform, but, the Governor got some things he wanted too. The Legislature, despite State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, didn’t sign on to the federal expansion of Medicaid that the Governor was adamantly opposed to. The Legislature also kept education voucher funding in place and actually expanded it, something Jindal has fought for. But, the Governor should have gotten more of a consensus before the session for his tax swap scheme and pushed for more of the state’s 468 tax exemptions and the corporate franchise tax to be eliminated.

Loser – The Fiscal Hawks. At the start of the session, I was genuinely excited by the prospect of the Fiscal Hawks making a difference. In the end, they went out with a whimper. The Hawks formed a coalition with, of all people, the Black Caucus, and, after slamming Jindal for using one-time money to plug budget holes, came up with their own budget loaded with different one-time money. The Senate rejected that budget and attempts by the Hawks to change the budgeting process. The Hawks did make a little bit of progress but, when you’re hungry for major reforms, a few crumbs really don’t cut it.

Winner – State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite). When he announced that he was running for Governor my first two thoughts were: “Who?” followed by “Why?”. After this session, most Louisiana residents now know who Edwards is and that increased profile will certainly serve him well as he traverses the state seeking funding and support for his fledgling campaign. Like I said, not the Powerball yet but, at least we know who he is.

Losers – The People of Jefferson Parish. Anytime the people are taken out of the process, our form of government suffers. The Jefferson Parish Delegation, at the insistence of Sheriff Newell Normand and the JP Council, were able to get a law changed removing Jefferson Parish residents from the right to vote on if the Parish’s two public hospitals are leased to a private company. This never should have happened and the JP elected officials should have instead discussed the possible options with residents and let them make an intelligent decision. By changing the rules, it looks like Normand and the JP Council are hiding something. So, thanks Sheriff Normand. Makes me want to vote for you for Governor. Of course, maybe you'll find a way to take that vote away from me to and just anoint yourself.

Winner – State Senator Elbert Guillory (D now R/Acadiana). I know, I had a little fun with Senator Guillory and the whole “Opelousas is the New Hollywood South” thing but, the guy made history when he switched parties again (he was a Republican before he was a Democrat) and became the first Black Republican State Senator since Reconstruction. Guillory was spot on when he talked about how much the Democratic Party had drifted away from Louisiana and our core values. Calling it “the party of disappointment” just put the icing on the cake.

Losers – People who Facebook and Drive. But, you didn’t need a law to tell you that and, yes, I’m talking about YOU.

Winners – Parish Assessors, Sheriffs and Judges. Thanks to the legislature, local taxpayers are giving each of you a raise for the next 4 or 5 years. Whether you deserve it or not is certainly up for debate but that’s never an issue with legislators when they’re spending other people’s money.

Winner – The People of Louisiana. Because the budget was passed and we don’t have to pay our legislators even more money for a “Special” Session.

Losers – People like me. Because the budget was passed and the session is over, I won’t have the legislature to kick around for another year. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find some new material. It’s not hard when you live in Louisiana. By the way, when does the Edwin Edwards Reality TV Show start airing?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Is This The Future Of Jefferson Parish Healthcare? Layoffs Begin As Children’s Takes Over LSU/New Orleans

Despite assuring all employees of the LSU Interim Hospital and Clinics in New Orleans that reapplying for their jobs was a formality and having those same employees sit in on benefit meetings to discuss their new insurance and retirement benefits after they migrated from being state employees to become employees of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Children’s has issued pink slips to over 100 employees and issued significant pay cuts to many department heads.

The exact number of those impacted is not known and was not disclosed.

Job offers from Children’s were extended last week to LSU employees and many were shocked to discover that they would be out of work as of 6/24, when Children’s is scheduled to take over the operations from the state, while many other received pay cuts.
“Why did they waste our time in meetings about benefits,” one employee who did not want to be identified said. “I could have started looking for work a month ago. Now, I have two weeks to work and then no income.”

A Department Head, who also asked to not be identified, confirmed the pay cuts.
The State is privatizing several hospitals, among them the LSU Interim Hospital and Clinics in New Orleans.

Recently, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, the Chairman of the East Jefferson General Hospital board, asked State legislators to remove the requirement for a voter referendum to lease both EJ and West Jefferson Medical Center.
Children’s, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and Ocshner are the three candidates in the running to pick up the leases. If approved, the move would give Ochsner a virtual monopoly on healthcare in Jefferson Parish. HCA operates hospitals across the country including Tulane/Lakeside, Lakeview Regional in Covington and Rapides Regional in Alexandria.

The Jefferson Parish Council which previously approved Normand’s request to remove voters from the process, is expected to take up the hospital leases in July.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Is Louisiana Ready For Governor Normand? Really????

Not content with being the Sheriff of the 2nd largest parish in the state or the head of a hospital board that is trying to give away two public hospitals, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand is reported to have his eyes set on another prize (drum roll, please): Governor of Louisiana.

The Advocate is reporting that Normand commissioned a poll that shows he would run fourth among 6 possible candidates, if voters were to select 2015 gubernatorial candidates today.
Yes, we’re talking about the same Newell Normand who trampled on property rights in Fat City, and the same Newell Normand that got some of his legislative buddies to change a law taking away your right to vote on whether East Jefferson General Hospital and West Jefferson Medical Center are leased to a private company.

Sounds like the kind of guy we need to promote, right? The reality is, we should all be pushing for term-limits on all elected officials to get people like Normand out of office instead of letting him continue to solicit campaign contributions from people so he can feed his ego and impose his views on average citizens.
The poll of 601 “likely” voters showed that Senator David Vitter would lead a gubernatorial race with 18%; State Rep. John Bel Edwards, who has already announced his intention to run and was the only Democrat surveyed, had 17%; Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne had 14%; Normand was at 10%; Treasurer John Kennedy had 8%; and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain had 4%.

The poll also tested the favorable/unfavorable ratings of those 6 possible candidates.
Senator Vitter had the highest score on both with a 53% favorable rating but a 40% unfavorable rating as well. 7% of those surveyed had no opinion of Vitter.

In contrast, Normand had a 22% favorable rating and a 10% unfavorable rating. 67% of those surveyed had no opinion of Normand.
It is not known how the poll was broken down geographically and how many respondents came from Jefferson Parish or Metro New Orleans.

The polling company didn’t call me but, for what it’s worth, the prospect of someone like Normand becoming Governor of Louisiana makes what little hair I have on the back of my neck stand up.
It should have a similar effect on you as well.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Legislators Quick To Spend Parish Money; Can’t Decide How To Spend State Money

The Louisiana State Legislature proved once again this week that they are fiscally dysfunctional. Or, make that four times.

First, the State House passed a budget eliminating some of the one-time money used by Governor Jindal to fill some holes in the budget. Of course, after slamming the Governor for his use of one-time money, the House itself pulled some one-time money from out of thin air to fix their budget hole. I guess they didn’t like the Governor’s one-time money or they liked theirs better.
The House proudly sent their budget to the State Senate.

House Speaker Chuck Keckley (R-Lake Charles), along with Democratic and Republican leaders and members of the Black Caucus were effusive in their praise.
"This is a very balanced (plan), it's a very modest step forward," said Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and Gubernatorial candidate.

This week, the State Senate gutted the House budget, slashed the use of one-time money, added more money for education and a one-time bonus for school employees.
The Senate was also equally pleased with itself.

Like a Proud Papa, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue (R-Covington), called the Senate version the "best I've seen since I've been here."
"I like this budget and I'm proud of this budget and I'm tired of people telling me it's not a good budget," Donahue said.


The Senate then sent their version of the budget to the House which rejected it yesterday.
Noting the changes made by the Senate to the House budget, Rep. Jim Fannin (D-Jonesboro) said, “With these changes the Senate made, I believe that we need to continue to work.”

The budget now goes to a conference committee of House and Senate members to work out a compromise before 6pm Thursday – tomorrow, or we’ll need a “Special Session” which will cost taxpayers even more money.
Speaking of costing taxpayers money, Legislators approved and sent to Governor Jindal a bill raising the salaries of Judges, Parish Assessors, and Sheriffs (whose salary increases are tied to Judges).

Assessors get a 4% increase for each of the next 4 years while Judges (and Sheriffs) get raises for the next 5 years.
The interesting part of this is that salaries for Assessors and Sheriffs come from Parish budgets meaning that the State Legislators essentially passed an “unfunded mandate” for local taxpayers to pick up the check.

Just last year, less than a year after he was elected, Jefferson Parish Assessor Tom Capella got his friends in the Legislature to approve increasing his budget by $1 Million so he could hire more staff. No one asked how former Assessor Lawrence Chehardy made it for so many years without all those extra bodies at the taxpayer trough.
When you consider the fact that most Parish Assessors simply show up at the office for 10 months out of the year for 3 of the 4 years that they are elected, and work slightly more during the 4th year when property is reassessed, the job of Parish Assessor could be the cushiest job in Louisiana.

How’s this for a job description:
Parish Assessor: Show up at your office (or not);  work limited hours usually 2 months out of the year and a little more one year out of every four; have a staff of professional assessors to do the work but room so you can pad the staff with political appointees; collect Hundreds of Thousands of dollars in salary plus benefits and a lucrative retirement plan with no term limits. No experience necessary. Guaranteed 4% salary increase every year for the next 4 years.

Good work if you can get it, right?


In Case You Missed It

Paul Murphy from WWL-TV did a piece last night on the JP Hospital lease deal. I have contended that the people of Jefferson Parish don't want to decide which of the 3 groups gets to lease the hospital but that the people of JP deserve the right to vote on whether there is a lease at all. We've not heard all of the available options - just the one option that Sheriff Normand thinks is best. In addition, I think it is morally wrong that Sheriff Normand and the JP Council had their friends in Baton Rouge change a 20-year-old law to take away your rights.

Paul did an interview with me about the hospital deal.

If you missed it, here's the report (there are more comments in the text than the video):

Also, on Monday, I was a guest on "The Ken & Bernie Show" with Ken Romero and Bernadette Lee on KPEL 96.5fm in Acadiana. We talked about KCP, Senator Elbert Guillory's party switch, the state budget and the "I'm A Cajun" license stamp. Here's a link to that interview:

Monday, June 3, 2013

As Long As The DMV Doesn’t Stamp “I’m A Cooyon” On My License, I’m Ok

Cooyon – Idiot. An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.

It was with much press coverage that Governor Jindal signed a bill into law last week allowing “I’m A Cajun” to be stamped on your driver’s license.
Proving again his progressive leadership on vital state issues, Governor Jindal quickly signed the bill while avoiding all talk of a possible Special Session for legislators to fix Louisiana’s tattered budget, one-time money, or the state’s school voucher program.

A study showed that Virginia had the highest percentage of vehicles with vanity plates at 16.19%. Texans, on the other hand, must not be interested in having everyone know their business as Texas is dead last with 0.5% of their registered cars containing a vanity plate. This figure includes pure vanity plates where you can call yourself almost anything you want on your car.
Every state has vanity license plates and they are huge money machines for the state and for some charities, but not many states do it bigger than Louisiana.

Louisiana has over 240 vanity license plates with everything ranging from current members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to supporting your favorite college high school or sorority; supporting your  cause du jour (Protecting Wild Dolphins? Didn’t know that was a “hot button” issue in Louisiana); to proudly proclaiming that you are Pro Life or telling the world “In God We Trust”.
Earlier this year, the state legislature did vote against allowing “I’m A Republican” or “I’m A Democrat” on your license plate. Something about a rise in the amount of people who wanted  to drive around with “I’m A Communist” on their license plate.

But, do we really need a license plate telling the world that you are a proud graduate of “River Parish Community College” or that you are “Animal Friendly”? We should all be “Animal Friendly” not just those people who buy a license plate proclaiming that fact.
And, what happens if you are a “Cajun American Indian Amateur Radio Operator who is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, supports Breast Cancer Awareness, 4H, Ducks Unlimited and Child Safety, and drives an Antique Car”? What do you do then? And, what if, after you get that license plate you decide you also want to support Coastal Conservation, Endangered Species and the Girl Scouts?  

To the best of my knowledge, stamping “I’m A Cajun” on your driver’s license is a first. Previous license stamps were reserved for Organ Donation.
In fact, even though I’ve only lived in Louisiana for 18 years, I considered getting “I’m A Cajun” stamped on my driver’s license. That is, until I heard there was test you had to pass.

I think it’s great that Louisiana residents are proud of their heritage and want to express that on their license plates and driver’s licenses. Bernadette Lee on KPEL 96.5fm in Lafayette said she hoped it would dispel some myths about Cajun folks and driving to work on alligators.
And, she’s right (not about the driving alligators part – I know that happens).

Being the person that I am, when I read a law I always try to consider “unintended consequences”. Hopefully, when a Louisiana resident pulls out their license to buy beer in some Midwestern state, the clerk doesn’t read “I’m A Cajun” on their license, flashback to Duck Dynasty, and charge the man MORE money.  
In that case, we may need the “I’m A Cooyon” stamp on our driver’s licenses after all.

Just not on mine.