Remember when we recently suggested that you contact your legislator with a specific list of questions relative to Gov. Piyush Jindal’s efforts to:
Destroy public education by allowing private concerns to open charter schools and offer online courses with no accountability;
Destroy higher education in general with massive budgetary cutbacks and LSU in particular by loading the state’s flagship university board of supervisors with political hacks and campaign contributors;
Dismantle the state’s public health system through closures, cutbacks and by, as in the case of the LSU Board of Supervisors, packing the University Medical Center Management Corp. Board with political cronies, and
Usurping the powers and responsibilities that rightfully belong to the legislature?
We provided the internet web page addresses for both the House and Senate and suggested that you contact your legislators with these specific questions with specific answers and promised that as the results came in, we would publicize them.
Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), knowing that state employees might be reluctant to divulge their names for fear of being teagued and thus might feel the need to use a pseudonym, issued the following snarky reply to one such person:
“You make some substantive and good points. However, I do not send substantive responses to people who hide behind fake names.”
Rep. Stephen Carter (R-Baton Rouge) fell back on the standard tactic of “baffle ’em with B.S. with his non-response to a constituent:
Thank you for your email. I understand your concerns and appreciate you taking the time to contact me. Upon review, most of the items you listed are proposals and have not been implemented yet. When the time comes, I will be charged with giving the up or down approval through legislation. I will carefully consider each item individually that is up for a vote. The Governor’s job is to propose initiatives, try to get the approval of the legislature, and then implement. The a governor has not sought my advice on the items you listed, but I will consider his proposals when and if they become proposed legislation. I cannot usurp his authority including his appointive power to various boards and commissions.
I do want to be sure I make decisions in the best interest of the state, whether privatization is the answer or not. Until we have the opportunity to see proposals to privatize, it is difficult to evaluate the pros and cons. I can’t make a blanket judgement about privatization because I believe it is an issue that warrants case-by-case evaluation.
To provide information on some of your specific concerns, William Jenkins is the interem President of the University. He has appointed, and the Board of Supervisors has approved, Dr. Frank Opelka to serve as the Executive Vice President for Health Care and Medical Education Redesign. The Board has approved Dr. Opelka issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to seek the interest of private partners who are interested in a collaboration with LSU to run the hospitals. Again, thank you for your interest and rest assured that all of us in the legislature are trying to make decisions that will improve the quality of life of all of our citizens. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions or if we can be of any assistance to you.
Our favorite, however, came from Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia):
“Thank you for your correspondence to Senator Riser regarding state cuts. Please know that Senator Riser appreciates hearing from you and will keep your thoughts and concerns in mind as they go thru the legislative process.”
There you have it. A canned response and not even from Riser himself, but from a legislative assistant. The man could not even take the five minutes out of his busy schedule to write specific responses to specific questions. Apparently the affairs of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), of which Riser is a member, are of greater precedence that those of a lowly constituent.
For those of you who may have missed it, here are the questions and the web addresses again;
I want to know where you stand on of allowing the governor to ignore the medical needs of the state’s indigent population as well as to ignore the need to maintain teaching hospitals for medical students at the LSU and Tulane schools of medicine;
When are you, as my (representative/senator) going to stand up to Gov. Jindal and his runaway efforts to:
• Disembowel higher education;
• Destroy public education to the financial benefit of private contractors/campaign supporters;
• Dismantle the state’s flagship university by appointing political hacks to the LSU Board of Supervisors, firing capable administrators and closing/privatizing state hospitals;
• Allow voucher and online courses to take the place of public education without even a smidgen of accountability or standards to which public education is held;
• Continually allow our governor to usurp the powers and responsibilities that rightfully belong to the legislative branch, including the choosing of House Speaker and Senate President?
I want and expect a public and publicized answer by you on the entirety of this subject. You’ve been silent long enough.
Click here for a list of House members: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/H_Reps_ByName.asp
Click here for a list of Senate members: http://senate.legis.louisiana.gov/Senators/
Scroll down the list until you find your representative/senator and click on the name. The legislator’s email address will on the page that will appear. For representatives, you need only click on the email address but you will have to type the senators’ email addresses.
It helps if you are able to provide your real name but if you are a state employee, do not use your real name.
Also, send only the questions; do NOT send the entire content of this blog. It’s not that we are concerned about legislators knowing where the questions originate because most of them will; it’s just not necessary to send this entire text.
One final note:
We are getting comments back today that certain legislators were sent the original questions and have not responded.
Our suggestion would be to re-send them each and every day until they do respond. Bombard them and do not let up.
One of Winston Churchill’s greatest speeches included this classic line: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never never.”