Lets kick off the New Year Gretna style and examine city government at its worst.

Folks I don’t live in the proverbial land of milk and honey but there are some stark differences in how Government works over here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. One area the contrast is stark is in Code enforcement. To wit:

It is my intention to cast a light on those who do their jobs well. To that end, a man worthy of recognition is Mr. Tommy Kidd, the Environmental Consultant for Hancock County and Bay St. Louis.

Mr. Kidd not only coordinates hazardous waste disposals, but he traverses the county and Bay St. Louis to insure that any unsafe properties are cleaned up. He works with the individual property owners so the cleanup is completed in a timely fashion, and that the waste is disposed of properly. Additionally, he has assisted Waveland with their beautification efforts, even though he has no contract with them – only one example of going above and beyond.

I have witnessed how Mr. Kidd works with property owners first hand. He is kind and compassionate. Some have problems remaining from Katrina, and others have new issues. But, no matter the cause, he treats everyone with dignity and respect.
We were the contact party for several lots owned by a friend. Without our knowledge, local subcontractors had been using the lot to dump their waste materials, i.e. paint, sheetrock, scrap wood, etc. Mr. Kidd contacted me regarding the matter, and assisted us in having the debris removed. We were never threatened with legal action as so many others do. He has exceptional public relations skills and promotes community goodwill.

And in today’s Sun Herald we have this from Melissa Scallan:

Gulfport has had great success with its environmental court, said Rick Ryan, chief of code enforcement and environmental compliance for the city.

There have been 6,490 cases in environmental court since it started about two years ago, he said, and 99 of those had to appear in court. The rest cleaned up their properties after court officials sent them a letter.

“I’ve seen a marked improvement in the time it takes for the process,” Ryan said. “We use every method we can, and we usually are successful at that. We prefer voluntary compliance, but after that we use the environmental court.”

And then we have the famously corrupt City of Gretna, Louisiana, where a guy can’t build a first class wood fence and not be harassed by greedy power drunk asshole politicians:

In October, Morice was issued a permit to build a fence around his side and rear yards with a height limit of 6 feet for the fence boards. Earlier this year, a city official told Morice his fence was too tall, which he disputed. The city ordered Morice to tear it down in April or have the city do it at his expense. Ultimately, Morice was issued a summons for failing to comply with the order and was found guilty in city court.

But while the sentence was on appeal to 24th Judicial District Court, city officials removed Morice’s fence.

A district judge ruled in Morice’s favor last month. He said city officials removed his fence without compensation and says Morgan told him to go ahead and sue the city if he wants to get any money.

Mark Morice circa late August 2005/boingboing.net

So folks who is Mark Morice? For one he is a trial lawyer which means he fits a major Slabbed demographic.  But there is something else too that really makes Mark a fit here on Slabbed as we dial back the time machine to 2006:

New Orleans resident Mark Morice is credited with having rescued over 200 people from the flood immediately following Hurricane Katrina, using an idle boat he comandeered. The owner of that boat is now suing Morice for using the craft to save fellow citizens’ lives “without receiving permission,” and claims “grief, mental anguish, embarrassment and suffering . . . due to the removal of the boat.” It seems no good deed goes un-sued

It is evident Morice has a can do attitude folks. And so with his very nice wooden fence gone it was nice to see him decorate his place for the holidays:

At a Dec. 14 meeting of the Gretna City Council, Jackie Berthelot, one of Morice’s neighbors and the president of Garden Park Estates Homeowners Association, protested Morice’s latest solution to the problem of his missing fence. Instead of erecting a wooden fence, Morice has placed heavy black tarp around his entire yard, and then painted the tarp with festive holiday messages, Berthelot said.

Berthelot said the new fence does not comply with the homeowners association guidelines.

That homeowners association sure seems to have lots of stroke in Gretna and could cost the City money with the thuggish way the entire matter with Mr. Morice has been handled. Time evidently stands still in Gretna, an organized crime haven dating back to the days of the “Little Man” himself:

Mr Kohn: Then in January, 1948 a news photographer, Larry Schoenberger, snapped photographs of women demonstrating in front of the Gretna Courthouse against then Sheriff Frank “King” Clancy’s interference with a political parade…….

Mr. Kennedy. What is the significance of Gretna ?

Mr. Kohn. Well, Gretna is what might be called the parish seat, the courthouse for the parish, and the public officials of the parish are centered in Gretna for the entire Jefferson Parish area, which is large and sprawling.

Then Gretna is the principal headquarters for the Marcello mob operations. Gretna might be likened in relationship to the Marcellos to what Cicero in the past had been to the Capone mob. It was a place to which they could always draw back and be sure that no law-enforcement action would be taken against them.

Mr. Kennedy. Then you spoke about the fact that the women were demonstrating against Sheriff Frank Clancy. That is Frank “King” Clancy ?

Mr. Kohn. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. He appeared before the Kefauver committee or ultimately appeared before them ?

Mr. Kohn. Well, sir, he appeared before the Kefauver committee twice, first to lie and the second time to confess.

Mr. Kennedy. He was a notorious figure in that area ?

Mr. Kohn. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. What happened there ?

Mr. Kohn. Well, as this photographer started to drive away after taking his pictures, he was stopped by Carlos Marcello and Marcello’s then bodyguard, Salvatore Marcianti . After grabbing and destroying the newsman’s camera, they backed him up against the wall and went through his pockets. There were deputy sheriffs standing by watching the proceedings but they didn’t interfere. The victim filed charges in Gretna against Marcello and Marcianti for robbery by force, but there is no indication of any prosecutive proceedings and these charges cannot be found in Marcello’s official criminal record. As a matter of fact, although Marcello’s life of crime has centered in and around Jefferson Parish, it has not been possible to locate any currently available record to indicate his arrests or charges in that parish.

Of course today we have USA v Fazzio to give us a glimpse into a now kinder, gentler type of local mob:

Look, I know there’s a lot involved into it and I might be scared. I don’t like to talk about landfills and all that Dom because the history of landfills make me nervous about my own personal security to tell you the truth. You told me before they would rather pay a problem to go away rather than strong arm a problem to go away and I hope to god that would be true.

In Gretna they must not have gotten that memo folks as I doubt the City will honor any judgement against it for the damage that was willfully caused to Mark Morice’s property beyond paying the politically connected Mark Morgan’s legal fees to fight the suit. A source familiar with Morice indicates to me this story will be with us for a while as Mark is the type of guy that will not back down. He strikes me as the type that knows both how and where to pick his battles.  I personally can’t wait for the Mardi Gras decorations myself.


7 thoughts on “Lets kick off the New Year Gretna style and examine city government at its worst.”

  1. GretnaMentality is pathological social disease. Mike Morgan shows all the symptoms of being infected and is indeed a carrier.

  2. déjàvu …'let 'em sue' … Mark Morgan is Tom Wilkinson's clone … arrogant, greedy, stupid, rude, incompetent and corrupt …

    Gretna must have a breeding colony of troglodytes …

  3. Saving 200 people gets him sued for using some other guy's boat to accomplish this?

    What kind of asshole sues a man who used his boat to save 200 people?

    If someone used my boat to save 200 people, I'd consider the boat some kind of holy relic and expect to be cured of all my ailments and problems as a side effect of going out fishing. Maybe I'd be upset with myself that some other man activated my resource for the public good while I was fending for my own skin.

    People don't like government social programs because they feel that individuals, not governments, should take the initiative to do good for themselves and for their neighbors, and then they want to sue some guy who, during a mass crisis when the local scene had descended into chaos and something pretty close to anarchy, acted out of some true civilization in his soul and rescued people?

    Mental anguish my ass. What kind of nutbar objects to someone doing what it takes to save lives?

    And the city takes down his fence now? This poor guy is my new "everyman" hero. And him a trial lawyer. God save me, I am now looking up to a trial lawyer.

    I will say, though, that if he lives in the kind of place where a homeowner's association has the power to restrict his freedoms that way, he should consider moving. The petty tyrants of suburbia are the enemies of liberty.

  4. Politically connected bullies have always reigned in Gretna…just consider former City Attorney ( and duly suspended from practice for his play with ex-Judge, convict Green) W J LeBlanc and his numerous email complaints ( while suspended ) to his 'bud' indicted former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson and Wilkinson's special little friend Code Director Debbie Villio about rulings on issues in 'his' neighborhood. No surprise. Morice should submit some PRRs for emails between Morgan and his little Code buddy Danika…Public Record all and if Gretna tries to claim 'privilege' make 'em prove it and detail it…and then take it to court for in camera inspection of exerpted messages…what a crock.

  5. Anonomouse, I believe that's Mark Morice who wants to be known as the boat bandit, not Mark Morgan. But they're all the same, those Marks. Morice and Morgan. Arrogant and entitled fools both.

  6. What is sad, is that Gretna took Mark's fence down while he was ill and in the hospital. Mark was known as the hurricane hero for Katrina. His wife is expecting a baby on 01/12/12 and he has 2 large dogs at the family home that he can't keep because Gretna took his fence down.

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