I guess it is time to crank things back up after Thanksgiving. I had the dessert cart this year and kept things kid friendly making Lemon squares, Blonde brownies along with the traditional pumpkin pie. Since Pizza buns were a hit with the kid set last year we tried Stuffed pizza this year and it is a keeper. While everyone works off all the good eats here are several links of interest:
Wanna work people up and get them good and mad? Kill and mutilate a few dolphins as the Sun Herald editorial board explains. The panel of marine experts in the Slabbed nation seem to think a local shrimper has gone postal.
Next up is another editorial from the Sun Herald that is extraordinary in respects on the taxpayer funded land graft at the DMR where they joined Slabbed in calling for a federal investigation. Judging from the murmurs coming from the peanut gallery we’re both a bit late to that party and that is not a bad thing per se. The DMR withholding public documents from reporter Karen Nelson is beyond disgraceful but about par for the course. That said where there is a will there is a way as the information is out there.
Next up we go way back to early November for the fake cover of Paula Broadwell’s book on former CIA director Petraeus as reported by ABC affiliate in Denver. The Youtube embed below is thus worth the watch.
Next up is Hurricane Sandy as people are still yammering about it in the news and social media. Slabbed is feeling the love too as google is leading people who are now being shafted by their insurance companies to our exhaustive Katrina wind water legal dispute archives. That topic after all, is where the Slabbed’s moniker originates so the extra traffic fits. But alas these days hazard mitigation is on my mind and the post Sandy media landscape is having that discussion as well so along those lines I chuckled when a reader emailed this New York Times story on Sandy featuring Dauphin Island Alabama, the undisputed repetitive loss champion of the US. The piece featured all the usual suspects and special interests that Slabbed has skewered from time to time along with former skeweree turned friend to the Slabbed Nation Western Carolina U professor Rob Young. This snippet from the story sums things up on the topic:
Since 1988, federal figures show, Dauphin Island property owners have paid only $9.3 million in premiums to the national flood insurance program, but they have received $72.2 million in payments for their damaged homes. Figures from a federal contractor show that the average island resident pays less than $700 a year for flood insurance, though a few do pay as much as $3,000.
On Dauphin Island and in many other beachfront communities, the federal subsidies have helped people replace small beach shacks with larger, more valuable homes. That is a main reason the nation’s costs of storm recovery are roughly doubling every decade, even after adjusting for inflation.
Speaking of Sandy, it has become clear someone up in New York did not get the memo as news broke that self promoting jackass Ed Blakely has been appointed to a commission tasked with the topic of Hazard mitigation in New York state. The howls of laughter the very mention of Blakely’s name elicits down here well tells the tale of the kind of expert New York is taking on with the Professor.
Finally we have 4 stories from the JP beat team at NOLA that are well worth mentioning. First up is Drew Broach and that pesky $54MM FEMA loan the Parish took after Katrina that has not been forgiven all these years later. This in turn reminded me of a missed opportunity from earlier this year but since Drew brought the topic up, that FEMA loan is responsible for John Young’s abortive engagement to Julie Quinn. I can almost see the question marks floating up from the readership so I’ll explain.
Back in February, around the time of the Louisiana Congressional delegation’s annual Washington DC Mardi Gras celebration, John Young and Karen Carter Peterson joined forces to lobby both sides of the aisle in Congress to forgive that FEMA loan. Young and Peterson evidently hit it off in the legislature back in the day and to this day will work together on issues that are important to the area. Choosing the week of the DC Mardi Gras ball was a smart move given the amount of politicking that goes hand in hand with the celebration. But Young was not the only homeboy in DC for the soiree as Julie Quinn was also in town for the festivities. Now I’ve heard the story two different ways but the bottom line to both is Julie was evidently on the man hunt and that endeavor lead to a very public nasty spat between the two. The making up must have been first class as the pair were engaged weeks later though it ultimately did not work out and the rest is history. With that background laid I hope everyone understands why I think there is a distinct possibility that FEMA loan will be the figurative death of Parish Prez Young.
Finally Manuel Torres has the story of the BGR’s Jefferson Parish Procurement Forum where the entire Jefferson Parish council is invited but they are too busy slopping at the trough to attend. That said John Young will be there which is a good thing. The Citizens for Good Government sent out an email blast on the topic as well:
Citizens for Good Government is extremely happy that the Bureau of Governmental Research has scheduled a breakfast forum on Tuesday, November 27th on the topic of contracting in Jefferson Parish. Parish President John Young is scheduled to discuss the contracting issue with Mike Purdy, who is a former contracting official in the state of Washington. However, all seven Jefferson Parish councilmen found reasons to refuse an invitation from BGR president Janet Howard to attend the forum. The Times-Picayune’s nola.com published an article about the forum entitled, “Forum about Jefferson Parish’s contracting to go on without council members.”
Last May BGR published a well-researched and well-documented report entitled, “Reforming Jefferson Parish’s Unusual Approach to Service Contracting.” The many recommendations in this report are based on best practices research, and Citizens for Good Government believes that these reforms are desperately needed in Jefferson Parish.
Although Parish President Young requested BGR to write their report on contacting in Jefferson Parish, and it was produced at NO COST to our Jefferson Parish Government, the Parish Council refused to invite BGR to present its report at a council meeting. CFGG even wrote letters to all of the councilmen requesting that they invite BGR to present their report, and we received no response from them.
At every council meeting since the BGR report was published last May, CFGG has made it a point at every opportunity to urge the council to implement adaptations of the BGR recommendations for reforming contracting in Jefferson Parish. We are particularly concerned about the fact that the councilmen are permitted to accept campaign contributions from and even solicit campaign contributions from contractors to whom they have the power to award nonbid contracts.
Citizens for Good Government has even pledged to discontinue our Campaign Contribution reports at each council meeting if the council would implement the BGR recommendation that would require the council to award nonbid contracts to the firm that “performs best on an evaluation committtee’s scoring of relevant, clearly articulated criteria.” The BGR report indicates that the role of elected officials (either the council or the Parish President) in selecting the winner of service contracts should be limited to approving or rejecting the contractor which is ranked the highest by an evaluation committee.
CFGG will be attending the BGR forum with enthusiasm. Furthermore, we intend to continue making the needed BGR reforms to Jefferson Parish’s contracting process an issue at every council meeting unless and until the council takes action to implement some of the BGR recommendations.
Vice-Chairman, Citizens for Good Government
Two stories from the Jefferson Parish corruption beat round us out. I have more stuff coming on USA v Titus and so does Dominick Fazzio, as he filed motions last week to sever his case from Titus’ as it relates to the looting of Garner Services, a company co owned by Titus. Fazzio’s attorney Buddy Lemman is earning his fee and then some in this case folks.
And finally we have some Ray Nagin corruption cross-pollination in Jefferson Parish with news that one of the companies in the center of the corruption story in Jefferson Parish, Three Fold Consultants also got plenty of no bid work in Jefferson Parish courtesy of former councilman Byron Lee, reputed to be dirtier than his predecessor Donald Jones and that is saying something folks. Even more amazing is the fact that earlier this month one of Lee’s old con-profit buddies, Pamela Watson was named executive director at the scandal ridden cesspool that is the Jefferson Parish Housing Authority.
Feel free to add your own links in comments.