Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I’ll Take JP Politics for $1,000, Alex.

Answer: $148,500

Question: What is a light take for a Jefferson Parish Council meeting?

As they do before every Jefferson Parish Council meeting, Citizens for Good Government (CFGG) has compiled a chart listing the campaign contributions to Jefferson Parish Council members from parish contractors with business on the agenda for that council meeting.

On Wednesday, the JP Council will be meeting in Kenner and has a light agenda. Accordingly, the total amount of contributions from contractors at this meeting is a low $148,500. When you consider that the $148,500 came from only 7 parish contractors, you see the issue with campaign finances.

$47,000 of that total came from 1 company alone – AIMS Group and their affiliates and owners.  Another $43,750 came from Meyer Engineers.

$90,750 from 2 companies doing business with Jefferson Parish! That's a staggering number and one that should embarrass every Jefferson Parish voter. 

I sure am glad that we have a State Ethics Board to monitor campaign contributions and that Governor Jindal has implemented the “Gold Standard” of Ethics for Louisiana.

If you are as disgusted by that amount as I am, you may want to stop reading.

According to CFGG Vice-Chairman Margie Seemann, Council Chairman Chris Roberts is the big winner this meeting with $43,750 in contributions, or almost 1/3rd of the total take for the entire council. Roberts received $17,500 from AIMS and $13,250 from Meyer.

Fittingly, since the meeting is being held in Kenner, District 4 Councilman Ben Zahn came in second this meeting with $26,750 plus another $750 from his days on the Kenner City Council. If you remember, Zahn had an issue with CFGG reporting contributions to council members for the past 4 years. Zahn has only been on the council for 2 years and felt that CFGG was intentionally misreporting his contribution amount.

$26,750 should be enough to set Councilman Zahn up with a few more fake lunches with constituents at New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company and some WalMart Gift Cards for his family at Christmas. I’m sure that Zahn is relieved that he won’t need to reach into his pocket the next time that he spends $1.99 for a bottle of water.

District 1 Councilman Ricky Templet is third with a meeting take of $25,500. District 3 Councilman Mark Spears is 4th with a meeting take of $20,000. Perennial 2nd place finisher, Councilman-At-Large Elton Lagasse, drops to 5th this meeting with a take of $18,500.

District 2 Councilman Paul Johnston had a take of $10,500 while District 5 Councilwoman Cynthia Sheng brought up the rear with only $3,500 in contributions.