Local good government groups in the news: Say what?!!!

Jefferson Parish activists demand action on proposed contracting reforms ~ Manuel Torres

Welp folks, it looks like Councilman at large/River Birch Landfill errand boy Chris “Mini-me” Roberts has not had enough 5am potty visits to fully learn about the procurement reforms recommended month ago by the BGR. Look no further than the Performing Arts Center debacle to understand the need of getting corrupt politicians outta the government procurement biz.

LANA NOONAN: Expenditure of public funds should be discussed openly ~ Letter to the editor

It appears the editorial police at the Sun Herald are now allowing mention of the Bay Tech Building swindle on their pages, which is progress. ¬†While Slabbed never has a problem properly attributing third party sources certain old line media outlets such as the Sun Herald’s editorial page folks can’t seem to tell certain stories without weaving in some tall tales as well. The Seacoast Echo and Bay Tech? Now that’s funny. ūüėÜ

DMR Scandal day 53: The bucks are beginning to stop.

The scandal at DMR is growing exponentially with the addition yesterday of Madison County Tax Assessor Gerald Barber and his wifey Elizabeth Rooks-Barber¬†to the party. ¬†Madison County is where all the rich white folks that didn’t flee Jackson to Rankin County ended up. ¬†ūüėČ

It appears the Sun Herald has all hands on deck as 4 of their reporters checked in yesterday with two stories, the first linked above by Anita Lee, Karen Nelson and Paul Hampton which detailed how the DMR engaged in bid rigging via split purchase fraud steering work to Barber and his wifey.  We also back the date up on the OIG involvement to mid July, 2012 which is significant as it implies the Interior Department was looking at DMR since at least May, 2012 based upon my professional experience, perhaps even earlier.

Michael Newsom wrote a cradle to corruption history of the DMR yesterday as well¬†that is a must read for background. ¬†I think the Louisiana chapter of the Slabbed Nation will find this scandal worthy of their attention thus the Sun Herald is also timely signalling their intent to take this story home with a DMR page which has links to all their reporting on the scandal. ¬†This in turn implies they agree with the community’s¬†assessment¬†this story will be huge in its scope and reach, having already ensnared the likes of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and it’s Executive Director Judy Steckler, who allowed the organization to be used as a money laundering vehicle by DMR to hide a specious father-son land deal funded with CIAP funds. ¬†Frankly it is not too soon to drop that dreaded 4 letter acronym RICO¬†as predicate acts abound¬†in the emergent fact patterns. Despite that fact Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant remains in hiding along with the Commission on Marine Resources. ¬† Mississippians deserve far better from their elected officials.

There is a larger story here in the complete lack of state oversight and self accountability, which at first blush is ironic as Bryant started out in state-wide politics as State Auditor. ¬†Once upon a time the State Auditor’s Office actually had a fair amount of auditors in several different divisions from Higher Education to local school districts. ¬†The auditing these folks did was very good though I’ll grant they tended to over-audit. ¬†Through time the capacity to conduct audits at the OSA has diminished to the extent where I think everything is now contracted out to private firms. ¬†The audit quality is very uneven.

I mention this because the type of fraud revealed by the Sun Herald yesterday is fairly easily caught in a well designed audit but I think it also illustrates the environment that Walker perceived he was¬†operating¬†to so¬†blatantly¬†split¬†purchases to steer work. ¬†We also now have a window on how County Government operated because the first set of preliminary findings included County¬†procurements including this blurb on the Hancock County Board of Supervisors: Continue reading “DMR Scandal day 53: The bucks are beginning to stop.”

Post holiday news miscellany

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: Continue reading “Post holiday news miscellany”

Will someone please get the DMR and Bill Walker outta the real estate business.

Suspension of disbelief

Suspension of disbelief¬†or¬†willing suspension of disbelief¬†is a term coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher¬†Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.

Land swap for marina questioned by developer. ~ Mary Perez

So the DMR is actually considering swapping Harbor Landing, which taxpayers bought from the taxpayer real estate king David Harris for over $3.6 million plus 18 months of free use for a piece of larger parcel of undeveloped land on the Biloxi waterfront the owers could not sell in total for $2.5 million. This folks, sounds like DMR Director Dr Bill Walker math to me, but then again maybe that is why the Office of the State Auditor had investigators crawling all over Walker’s office around a week ago. I hear the OSA has taken an interest in taxpayer funded real estate transactions across the coast in fact. From my vantage point this area is indeed rich in scams and rife with fraud.

We have more dead baby Dolphins washing up on the beach.

And this is why I’d be very careful about swimming in the sound and completely steer clear of¬†locally caught¬†oysters.¬† I think right now it pays to be very selective about¬†locally caught¬†seafood as there is so much we still do not know about the damage being done by the submerged oil from the BP/Transocean¬†blowout, oil that would have been skimmed in other locales but some buttheads at Teams Obama and BP made the decision to mix the oil with Corexit¬†at the well head so it would sink to the sea bottom, effectively concealing the true extent of the oil released.

Meantime Karen Nelson at the Sun Herald checks in with 4 more dead baby dolphins on Horn Island plus another in Alabama. In advance of Lawn Mower Fumes Bryant and Boss Hogg along with their stooge Bill Walker at DMR downplaying the deaths, Nelson puts things in perspective:

Four baby dolphins lay dead in the sand on the south side of Horn Island and one on Ono Island off Orange Beach, Ala., Tuesday.

That’s more dolphins dead in one day than all the dolphins, of any age, found dead in Alabama in 2008.

My mind is open to the possibility Teams Obama and BP have endangered the lives of the public by trying to conceal how much oil spilled from the blowout so the fines BP will pay under the Oil Pollution Act are minimized. To the extent Boss Hogg and Lawn Mower Fumes Bryant have constantly downplayed the impacts of the oil they too are complicit in this IMHO.

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