BREAKING: Poolman arrested for Simple Assault and Disturbing the Peace | State Auditor pays City Hall a Visit

Slabbed has learned that local businessman Jeff Harding aka the Poolman was arrested for Simple Assault and Disturbing the Peace after he had an altercation with “interim” Building/Code Department Director Charles Oliver. I just interviewed Mr. Harding telephonically, who indicated to me that he was arrested yesterday at his home without incident and posted a $1,000 cash bond. Harding indicated to Slabbed that despite the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approving his site plan, Oliver refused to sign off on the plans unless Harding agreed to construct a 6 foot privacy fence across the entire frontage of his property on Highway 90. In turn, today Mr Harding swore a battery affidavit against Oliver, a close and longtime associate of Mayor Les Fillingame. Harding tells Slabbed that unlike his treatment yesterday, City Attorney Donald Rafferty has indicated to him that Mr. Oliver will be served with a summons and not arrested. Sources at City Hall tell Slabbed Judge Maggio will make the final call on how Harding’s complaint will be handled.

Additionally sources at the City Council have told Slabbed that Tom Chain of the Technical Assistance Division of the Office of the State Auditor visited City Hall and the City Council Chambers gathering documentation including the November 2013 City Council meeting minutes this afternoon. This was the month the City took a $500,000 loan with The First, a loan Councilman Lonnie Falgout has referred to as an “illegal loan” as it has been alleged that it was made without any statutory authority in the Mississippi Code.

Stay tuned to Slabbed for further details as City Hall is buzzing on this Friday before a long labor day weekend.

Katrina plus 9: The new normal

The AP’s Jeff Amy nails it with his story on the City of Bay St Louis, which has now appeared statewide in the Clarion Ledger, the Hattiesburg American and the Sun Herald and nationwide in outlets like the Washington Times.  Jeff is one of the proverbial smartest guys in the room and a seasoned business writer. Best of all he’s one of us, a Harahan guy made good that covered the post Katrina insurance battles for the Mobile Press Register. I always enjoy the chance to visit with him and I was lucky enough to have lunch with Jeff and AP Photographer Gerald Herbert last Monday here in the Bay.

I use the term the new normal because places like Bay St Louis and Waveland are fundamentally different places than they were on August 28, 2005 yet in many respects we haven’t changed much at all.  Cities like Gulfport have done a very good job overall with the Urban blight that accompanied Katrina.  Others not so much. Gerald Herbert captured the contrast and it was the photo that he took of the house around the corner from me that tells the tale of two cities:

AP Photo / Gerald Herbert
AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

It makes a heck of a contrast with the photos of the new Old Town Harbor that also appear with this story in other newspapers. Not more than a mile and a half from that Harbor, lots that once had houses on them are overgrown and derelict structures amazingly still stand nine full years after the storm.  This despite a City Code department that is bursting at the seams with 6 positions that costs far more in salaries than the City takes in via associated permit and inspection fees. Something is clearly not right.

Low expectations come at a terrible cost in terms of money but more important and far more expensive is the opportunity cost of the foregone alternatives that most here accustomed to the new normal never perceive.

When you look at the City’s financial crisis through the lens of the politics of low expectations, what has happened since August 29, 2005 make tons more sense.

Le’ Nouveau Construction debarred from Jefferson Parish Contracting

This story and Slabbed’s coverage of it go way back to late 2010. Chad Calder at the New Orleans Advocate has the latest:

Jefferson ethics panel urges company be banned from parish work

On the topic of whether Mississippi or Louisiana is the most corrupt state in the union my money would be on Louisiana and this saga involving the now convicted former Louisiana legislator Girod Jackson along with former councilman Byron Lee and his successor on the Jefferson Parish Council Mark Spears would be one of the reasons why. Only the DMR disaster approaches the scale of the annual looting of the “conprofits” in Louisiana.

Slabbed, of course, has broken major portions of this story and then some, going all the way back to late 2010. (Click here for a series of posts on this specific part of the larger controversy.) We’ll see if the Parish Council votes to affirm the Parish’s debarment recommendation for Le Nouveau.

Given the taxpayer funded looting this is really a slap on the wrist but it is all Parish government can do.

The man who launched a thousand investigations is out of the pokey

Folks, you know you’ve been blogging a long time when you covered someone from arrest through conviction all the way to their subsequent release from jail. Former St. John the Baptist Parish Prez Bill Hubbard is out of jail and is now productively delivering things to the very court house where he once had an office. This is a Slabbed exclusive.

Those catching up should click here for the bell cow post that sent the Goatherders on an international fishing expedition when the now disgraced Aaron Broussard was on the fast track to jail. Click here for the entire post archives related to the Hubbard prosecution and how it tied to the Jefferson Parish scandal.

Worse than I thought: Crawdaddy runs partisan political ads as news

Being stretched so thin where content is gotten on the run comes at the cost of quality and there is nothing half cocked in that. I hit a nerve over at the Sun Herald folks:

From the I’m-not-in-it-for-the-money file: There is no payola from Pickering ~ Paul Hampton Crawdaddy Blog

That is good to know but I also would thoughtfully posit it also is worse in a respect too. The Sun Herald is running Stacey Pickering’s political ads for free and calling it news but don’t take it from little ol’ half-cocked me. Paul clue(less) us in on that:

When asked who is running the campaign and making the calls on the ad purchases, he said it was Pickering himself.

This isn’t the Senate race,” he said. “There isn’t campaign staff, it’s just Stacey.”

He said the advertising is just a pre-emptive strike against anyone contemplating a challenge in next year’s election

Anyone for Tea?

I am, I didn’t have to waste my time unraveling any of it.

Rest assured there will be no partisan political ads masquerading as blog entries here at Slabbed New Media, not unless I’m paid and that would be disclosed. Thank you for playing.

Jim Brown: Landrieu causes her own problems in Re-Election Bid!

Friday, August 22ed, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Louisiana United States Senator Mary Landrieu has always been a survivor in Bayou State politics. She’s been successful in four races for the U.S. Senate, but the elections have always been close, and until now, her opponents have never had the full weight of the national republican campaign apparatus behind them. But this time it’s different. Landrieu is in the political fight of her life. She’s under an all out assault by republican organizations all over the country.

There’s a good reason why so much attention is being paid to this Louisiana election. The stakes are sky high. Which party controls the U.S. Senate may be determined by who wins in Louisiana. The Bayou State’s unique “jungle primary” pushes the runoff election back until early December. Every other state election will have been decided by then. And if control of the senate comes down to one vote, which a number of political prognosticators believe could happen, the Louisiana election will captivate the political eyes of the nation.

Can Landrieu pull it off again? Landrieu’s biggest hurdle is not her two aggressive opponents, but rather a number of problems she has created on her own. The lady is facing a high mountain to climb because of two things: her controversial senate record, and her continuing campaign blunders.

Her political problems were highlighted after she became the deciding vote to pass Obamacare in the Senate, for which she was dubbed “Obamacare Mary,” a yoke Landrieu’s had to carry for legislation highly unpopular in Louisiana. Adding to her burden, she’s been a longtime champion of The Patriot Act — a distasteful law that allows widespread spying on every American citizen. Continue Reading……………

State Auditor Stacey Pickering Wins Beauty Contest!!! A Mississippi (Non) Audit Department Update

This post is not a paid advertisement.

My folks how one simple disclosure changes the context. In today’s 24×7 365 news cycle the beast must constantly be fed and sometimes junk food is served. To me the question wasn’t that the content was junk no sir. The question is who is being paid to distribute it? Jackson Jambalaya was and I am fine with that because of one reason:

This post is a paid advertisement.

The disclosure means we know that Pickering’s press release is glorified advertising. And when press releases get passed off as news uncritically what I wonder is if the messenger is being paid and that fact is not disclosed?

Pickering honored for performance and accountability ~ Paul Hampton Crawdaddy Blog

Here at Slabbed New Media we’re hip to the concept of payola thus the reason I wonder about undisclosed monetary consideration in exchange for the promotion. To be clear I am not accusing the Sun Herald or Paul Hampton of anything improper because this may simply be a case of getting some cheap content on the run. That said and given what happened in Judge Jennifer Schloegel’s courtroom, for the Crawdaddy Blog to present such tripe in an uncritical manner represents a missed opportunity. Then again that is what places like Slabbed are for as people yearn for analysis. Continue reading “State Auditor Stacey Pickering Wins Beauty Contest!!! A Mississippi (Non) Audit Department Update”

Is Diamondhead an old school southern plantation? Discuss.

All I know is that the Bat line here at Slabbed New Media is ringing off the hook on the Diamondhead Water and Sewer District, it’s capital project plans and it’s budget. These public records are what I would term basic and yet I am getting reports the Citizenry is being denied access. The Hancock County Board of Supervisors appoints the DWSD Board. Watch out for the Mississippi two step when the Sups and DWSD start pointing fingers at the other. Either way this topic has captured my interest.