Folks don’t get mad, get Slabbed. I’m not certain why Ms. Hilliard changed counsel midstream but I certainly think she nabbed a fine lawyer. Newbies can find vital background here and here plus generally here. It is another example of a Slabbed scoop on the Jefferson Parish beat.
I’ve had a few things in my inbox on this and the Broussard flood suit for well over a month that need examining. Plus this Jefferson Parish hospital deal has people talking and they are not talking about the extensive coverage afforded to Councilmen Chris Roberts and Ben Zahn by NOLA.com and the Advocate or the quality of care provided by the various competitors to the deal. I’ll see if I can get something semi coherent together on that issue while I have a sliver of time to spare. It sounds like classic cesspool politics based on what I know at present.
The latest email blast from Jefferson Parish Citizens for Good Government came late last night. Speaking of Ben Zahn:
Supporters of Good Government:
The Jefferson Parish Council will meet this Wednesday, September 18th at 10 a.m. on the West Bank at the General Government Building. As we have been doing at every council meeting for the past three years, Citizens for Good Government will again present information from our Campaign Contribution Table shown below. The information which we present is summary information which supplements the contractor campaign contribution information read aloud by Council Clerk Eula Lopez. We have factually and precisely identified the entries in our table as total campaign contributions of at least $1,000 made during the PAST FOUR YEARS to our councilmembers by contractors and subcontractors on whom the Jefferson Parish Council is scheduled to vote at the next council meeting. The contractors and subcontractors in our table were obtained from resolutions in the Agenda for the council meeting and from the affidavits attached to the online Agenda Items.
We believe that it is appropriate to include in the campaign contribution totals for each of the councilmen, all campaign contributions made to them during the past four years by contractors and subcontractors on whom they are scheduled to vote. However, as can be seen in our Campaign Contribution Table below, we are now specifying at the bottom of our table the small portion of the total campaign contributions which were made to the new councilmen prior to their runs for the Jefferson Parish Council. For Councilman Ben Zahn, who has made an issue of this, only $750 of the $66,329 in the total campaign contributions which we reported for him were for campaign contributions prior to his run for the Jefferson Parish Council. The total campaign contributions shown in our table for all seven councilmen during the past four years is $435,106.
At the last council meeting Councilman Zahn suggested that Citizens for Good Government’s Campaign Contribution Reports should be moved to the end of the council meeting, rather than continuing to allow us to present our reports early in the meeting. We currently present our reports in the portion of the Agenda which is identified in the Code of Ordinances as “Persons appearing before the council for public comment on resolutions on the agenda.” However, we are entitled to do this, since the information in our reports is a summary of the campaign contribution information taken from the resolutions in the Agenda Items specified in our Table of Campaign Contributions. Since the information which we report is from resolutions contained in the Agenda, it is therefore appropriate for us to present this information during the “Resolution” portion of the Agenda. Hence, any effort to prevent Citizens for Good Government from presenting our Campaign Contribution Reports early in the council meeting is a violation of the Code of Ordinances.
CFGG is fully aware that it is both legal and ethical for the councilmen to vote to award non-bid contracts to their significant campaign contributors, even to contributors from whom the councilmen have solicited campaign contributions. However, we believe that this is wrong and needs to change, and this is the reason that we present our Campaign Contribution Reports at each council meeting.
If anyone would prefer not to receive our emails, please let us know in a response to this email, and we will remove you from our email list.
Vice-Chairman, Citizens for Good Government