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Archive for the ‘Politicians’ Category

The fecal matter is poised to strike the Westinghouse oscillating air manipulation device (the crap is about to hit the fan) and the citizens of Louisiana have no one to blame but Bobby Jindal (sorry, but I still can’t bring myself to call him governor) and the brain-dead legislators who, like so many sheep, for eight years obediently allowed him to lead the state off the fiscal cliff into the abyss.

In an LouisianaVoice exclusive, we have received a copy of a two-page letter from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) which, by comparison, is to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ warning Thursday as Black Sabbath is to Pat Boone. SACSCOC LETTER

The letter, dated Feb. 11 (Thursday) was addressed to Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne with copies to Edwards, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Eric LaFleur, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Cameron Henry, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph C. Rallo, Ph.D., the Louisiana institutional members of SACSCOC, and SACSCOC Board of Trustees Chairman Mark E. Keenum, Ph.D.

At least one source told LouisianaVoice that Edwards possessed the letter at the time of his televised statewide address on Thursday but chose to attempt to soften the impact of the letter’s contents as much as possible while still sending a clear message to the legislature and the citizens of Louisiana.

SACSCOC is the regional accrediting body for 800 public, private and for-profit institutions of higher education in 11 southern states, including Louisiana. It is one of seven regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to assure quality in higher education and to serve as the gatekeeper to federal financial aid (Title IV) for students in the region (emphasis ours). http://www.sacscoc.org/

The letter was signed by SACSCOC President Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D.

“SACSCOC has become aware of the fact that because of the lack of financial resources from the state, the institutions the commission accredits may have to cease operation prior to the end of the current semester,” she wrote. “This would mean (1) students would not be able to complete classes and, subsequently, earn no credit for courses taken this semester, potentially impacting their financial and eligibility, and (2) payroll will not be met and bills would not be paid placing employees in an untenable financial situation as well as negatively impacting the credit ratings of the institutions.”

She said federal regulations dictate that any institution suspending operations or closure in the next several months must provide SACSCOC with a plan for how students can continue at another college or university. The commission, she said, would have to approve such a plan and could send students to another state. “This would create a tremendous hardship on students who might be unable to get a job because the completion of their degree is needed or, worst case scenario, they might drop out of college all together (sic).”

She said if the schools are unable to demonstrate continued financial stability or continue to enroll students, “the board of SACSCOC would have to consider a public sanction of the institutions or a withdrawal of their accreditation. Public sanctions have a chilling effect on the enrollment of potential students and withdrawal of accreditation results in the loss of federal financial aid.”

Wheelan served as president of two institutions and as Secretary of Education for the State of Virginia. As such, she said, “I am painfully aware of the difficulty state leadership has in making budgetary decisions but the lack of state funding is putting Louisiana colleges and universities in serious risk and placing students’ academic careers in jeopardy. I know the challenges are many but I believe it is important for you to know the impact your decisions will have before you finalize your plans.”

Here is the response to the letter which Gov. Edwards gave LouisianaVoice on Friday:

“The previous administration’s choice to make the largest disinvestment in higher education in the nation over the past seven years was a choice that would inevitably lead to devastating results. It is time to turn that around. If the legislature chooses to raise no new revenue in the special session starting Sunday, universities and colleges across our state together will face more than $200 million in cuts this fiscal year—and will have to implement those cuts over the next four months. Even if the legislature chooses to raise the revenue I am proposing, higher education still faces $42 million in cuts and a $28 million TOPS funding shortage this year. This is unsustainable. I am working with our legislature to develop solutions to stabilize Louisiana’s budget this year and going forward. These responsible steps can only help us maintain accreditation for our higher education institutions, as our students deserve.”

Edwards, in his address Thursday, said that the TOPS scholarship program had suspended payments because of the state’s pending $870 million budget deficit and the looming $2 billion budget hole facing legislators for the next fiscal year which begins on July 1.

In order to awaken anyone who might have been dozing off or who were ticked off for missing Family Feud or Wheel of Fortune (one Baton Rouge TV station opted for Wheel instead of carrying the governor’s speech, choosing instead to stream the speech on its Web site), Edwards also threw in the biggest threat of all: the possible necessity of (gasp!) cancelling collegiate football in 2016.

Well, if losing TOPS didn’t do the trick, you can bet your school jersey that got the attention of Louisiana’s masses. I mean, how could we possibly survive without watching a bunch of oversized, tutored adolescents strut around on the field after pile-driving an opposing quarterback head first into the turf at Tiger Stadium to the delight of 100,000 screaming maniacs?

Why, it would be downright unamurican!

Sure enough, Internet news pages predictably latched onto the football hook in covering Louisiana’s fiscal implosion. http://www.msn.com/en-au/sport/golf/lsu-football-in-danger/vp-BBpqNEV

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/louisiana-budget-crisis-could-threaten-lsu-football-183232215.html

At least we now know what’s really important in this state (like we didn’t before?). Certainly it’s not the deplorable condition of the academic buildings falling down around LSU students that Bob Mann has been documenting in recent weeks on his outstanding blog post Something Like the Truth. http://bobmannblog.com/2016/01/24/sinking-flagship-a-new-look-at-lsus-middleton-library/

The disgraceful windows of LSU’s Hatcher and Johnston halls

LSU library’s decay is symbolic of Louisiana’s misplaced priorities

Mired in mediocrity, has Louisiana higher education lost the battle?

But hey, who ever paid admission to watch a physics professor teach—other than students faced with ever-rising tuition costs?

And just how is all this legislators’ and Bobby Jindal’s fault?

The explosion of corporate tax breaks that were handed out during his administration, for openers.

Generous corporate tax incentives bleed revenue from state treasury, provide little other than political bragging rights

And there is the excellent series on corporate tax breaks published by the Baton Rouge Advocate: http://blogs.theadvocate.com/specialreports/

Along with the handouts to his corporate friends and supporters, Jindal also cut higher education more than any other state, another issue covered in depth albeit somewhat belatedly by The Advocate. State support to colleges and universities was cut by 55 percent during Jindal’s eight years with cuts having to be made up by painful tuition increases.

http://blueprintlouisiana.org/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/618

LSU President F. King (I would absolutely change my name—or drop the initial) Alexander fired the first real warning shot across the legislature’s bow last April with he revealed he had already drawn up plans for financial exigency (bankruptcy) as yet another higher education budget cut loomed.

It worked, in a fashion. The legislature responded by passing a phantom tuition increase offset by a phantom tax credit which was supposed to fix the problem (who bought into that?), but only after consulting with the god of No New Taxes, Grover Norquist. Norquist has never held public office but yet he mysteriously controls the puppet strings of legislators and congressmen as if holding the sword of Damocles over their collective heads with his idiotic “No New Taxes” pledge. Did the Republicans learn anything from George H.W. Bush’s infamous “Read my lips: no new taxes” promise in his 1988 nomination acceptance speech? Apparently not.

And therein lies the real problem. Why in hell did our legislators, led by a delusional man who would be president if only he could break the 1 percent barrier in the Iowa polls, answer to someone like Norquist and not the citizens of this state? That question needs to be addressed repeatedly to every legislator who went along with that shell game last year. “Mr. Legislator: why did you acquiesce to Grover Norquist like some pathetic, starving little puppy begging for table scraps?”

“For years, Louisiana’s colleges have stabilized funding with tuition and fee increases to offset declining direct support from the state,” said Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) President Robert Travis Scott when shown the letter by LouisianaVoice. “But we’ve reached the limits of those tactical maneuvers. Now we need a strategy to provide long-term financial stability for higher education while also getting a streamlined and accountable educational product in return,” he said.

State Rep. J. Rogers Pope (R-Denham Springs), a member of the House Education Committee, said the letter “makes you want to throw up.” He said the message in the letter is “devastating to all parents and students as well as our colleges. I don’t see that the legislative body will permit that to happen.”

Pope, a former school principal and retired Superintendent of Livingston Parish Schools, said he hoped that the legislature and Edwards can “forget partisan politics and work together to get us out of this deep hole dug by the previous administration. Losing accreditation is a major blow to the state’s financial and workforce capabilities.”

Another source said the situation “is dire” and that was why football was mentioned by Edwards in Thursday’s address. “If we lose accreditation, it’s all over regardless of how much money TAF (the Tiger Athletic Foundation, which helps support LSU athletics) has.”

The source, who asked not to be identified said, “This is the beginning of the multi-institutional collapse of historic proportions I’ve been predicting for years.”

As I have said here before, if you, the citizens of this state, choose to sit idly by and not question the actions, motives and obligations of legislators to lobbyists and corporate contributors, then you have become as much of the problem as Jindal and the legislators.

It’s up to you to hold your elected official accountable. If you don’t, if you can’t pull yourself away from football or Wheel of Fortune or Bachelor long enough to learn what your elected officials are doing, then stop whining.

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So Bobby Jindal has endorsed the presidential campaign of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Of course, he waited until the results of the Iowa caucus reflected a surge by Rubio. Like any typical politician, he tried to see which way the parade was going before jumping out in front and yelling, “Follow me!”

Only problem is Rubio, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry four years ago, stumbled badly after picking up the all-important Jindal endorsement.

Actually, if anyone outside Louisiana (or Iowa) actually knew who Jindal is, his endorsement might be considered the kiss of death. Fortunately for Rubio, Jindal is virtually unknown outside those two states—and the studios of Fox News. But Rubio is appropriately appreciative for Jindal’s and former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum for their support.

Is this the 1 percent (the polling numbers of both Jindal and Santorum in Iowa) the Occupy Wall Street protests were about? Who knew?

After hearing Jindal go virtually unchallenged in his robotic blathering (and Chris Christie says Rubio repeats himself) about balancing the budget, cutting taxes and fiscal responsibility, one has to wonder about similar claims by Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Of course, here in Louisiana we know Jindal’s record all too well.

There are those who say we should quit trashing the man and move on.

We can’t.

First of all, that endorsement of Rubio is nothing but a shameless attempt to grab a cabinet appointment should Rubio ascend to the White House. He missed out on the brass ring but his mega-ego simply will not allow him to be content to remain out of the public arena—and therein lies the danger. Turning Jindal loose at any post in the federal government (other than third deputy assistant in charge of stocking vending machines in the break room) would be a grave mistake. He already wrecked a state. Think what he could do as a policy maker for the departments of Health and Human Services or Education.

Put him at the head of the Department of Interior, and he’d privatize the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Everglades.

Put him as Secretary of Defense and he’d nuke those “no-go” zones in Western Europe.

As Secretary of State, can’t you just visualize him negotiating with Vladimir Putin?

As Secretary of the Treasury or head of the White House Budget Office….well, we can’t even allow ourselves to think about that.

No, I cannot let it go. I can’t simply move on. The man wrecked this state and we should never forget that.

To that end, Bobby Jindal: His Destiny and Obsession, a book that chronicles the eight years Jindal served as governor, is due out later this month. Published by Pelican Publishing, it is expected to run about 500 pages in length.

I wrote this book because it is crucial that we never forget how we were lulled into thinking that this wunderkind was the answer to Louisiana’s political, financial, education, and unemployment problems. In the end, sadly, he was not.

You may pre-order the book by clicking on the image of the book cover to the right of this paragraph. Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs will summon me (I live two blocks from the book store) to sign all books that have been pre-ordered. Should you wish to pre-order your book and you want it signed to someone other than yourself, please contact me at:

louisianavoice@yahoo.com

Please advise as to your instructions on signing.

 

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If there’s anything dirtier than a rogue cop, it would have to be a rogue judge.

Put the two together and an epic miscarriage of justice is bound to occur.

The two are equally bad for different reasons. The bad cop has a badge and a gun. The judge exists for the sole purpose of seeing that justice prevails for society—that victims are protected and the guilty are punished. When one or both betray that trust, society is the loser.

Recent events up in Monroe have proved that Ronald Thomas and Larry Jefferson belong together—in the same jail cell.

It was bad enough that Thomas, a Louisiana State Police veteran of 18 years routinely went off the grid to go fishing or meeting up with his paramour—all while on the clock. But over a period of two years, Thomas, the evidence custodian for Troop F in Monroe, returned up to $1 million in confiscated drugs to the street by stealing packets of cocaine that he was charged with incinerating. The scheme enriched him by hundreds of thousands of dollars in dirty money. http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/neworleansnews/14639945-75/state-police-evidence-scandal-ends-in-modest-prison-term-for-rogue-trooper

Thomas was enabled in carrying out his business venture because the evidence custodian position had few, if any, checks and balances.

In September 2012, for example, he removed two sealed boxes containing nearly 24 pounds of cocaine from the evidence vault. The evidence was scheduled for destruction and Thomas was to have taken it to an incinerator in Alexandria the next day. Hidden cameras in his office even recorded him stuffing cash into a sock and then secreting the money in his waistband before leaving work.

Thomas was charged after a year-long investigation and faced up to 20 years in prison. His attorney, Darrell Hickman said of his client at trial, “This is a man who is probably not going to be in trouble for the rest of his life. He lost his job, he lost his reputation, and he almost lost his family. That’s enough to bring any man back to reality.”

Really, Darrell? That’s your best defense? A real pity all accused felons couldn’t fall back on the “I’ll probably never get in trouble again” defense.

At least Thomas was a little more creative. He blamed his crimes in part on exposure to fumes from confiscated narcotics he handled for years after being removed from patrol to the evidence room.

Yeah, right. And I blame my poor grades in school to the foul odor of cabbage wafting up into my classroom from the school cafeteria.

So, what was his punishment? Did he get the full 20 years?

Nope.

One year in the lockup, plus a $15,000 fine (remember, he raked hundreds of thousands of dollars by forsaking his sworn oath to uphold the law), and 240 community service.

And that’s where Judge Jefferson becomes the topic of our story and picture is ugly, to say the least. Yes, Thomas was a bad cop, but this story is about a disgraceful judge, a judge whose ego knows no bounds and his respect for the law appears miniscule.

First, a little background. A city court judge first, he was removed from the bench by the Louisiana Supreme Court on Jan. 18, 2000 after being formally charged by the Judiciary Commission with four separate counts:

Charge I:  Judge Jefferson abused his authority as a judge with respect to the City Prosecutor for the Monroe City Court and the Clerk of Court for the Monroe City Court by exceeding his contempt power and/or abusing such contempt power, which demonstrates a lack of proper judicial temperament and demeanor. These actions violated Canons 1, 2, 3(A)(1), (2), (3) and 3B(1) of the Code of Judicial Conduct and La. Const. art. V, § 25C in that the actions were willful misconduct relating to the judge’s official capacity and were persistent and public conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brought the judicial office into disrepute.  

Charge II:  Judge Jefferson abused and exceeded his authority as a judge when he banned the City Prosecutor from his courtroom and subsequently dismissed 41 cases. His conduct violated Canons 1, 2, and 3A(1), (2), and (3) of the Code of Judicial Conduct and La. Const. Art. V, § 25C in that he engaged in willful misconduct relative to his office and engaged in public conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brought the judicial office into disrepute.

Charge III:  Judge Jefferson engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in violation of La. R.S. 13:1952, Canons 1, 2, 3A(1) and La. Const. art. V, § 25C, in that he engaged in willful misconduct relating to his official duty and in public conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Charge IV:  That Judge Jefferson failed to comply with the order of May 28, 1998, issued by the Louisiana Supreme Court, pursuant to which he was relieved of all administrative duties at Monroe City Court.   This was in violation of Canons 1, 2, 3(A)(1) and 3(B)(1) of the Code of Judicial Conduct and La. Const. art. V, § 25C, in that he engaged in willful misconduct relating to this official duty and in persistent and public conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

There’s more.

In Charge I, the Commission charged Judge Jefferson with abusing his authority as a judge by exceeding his contempt power and abusing such contempt power with respect to the city prosecutor and the clerk of court for the Monroe City Court. The Commission found that such acts demonstrated Judge Jefferson’s lack of proper judicial temperament and demeanor under the circumstances. Charge I included three incidents involving Judge Jefferson, the prosecutor, James Rodney Pierre, and the Clerk of Court, Ms. Powell-Lexing, in which the judge held these individuals in contempt of court. http://caselaw.findlaw.com/la-supreme-court/1212290.html

“The majority recommends that Judge Jefferson be removed from judicial office,” the January 2000 decision said. “However, this court has previously stated that “[t]he most severe discipline should be reserved for judges who use their office improperly for personal gain; judges who are consistently abusive and insensitive to parties, witnesses, jurors, and attorneys; judges who because of laziness or indifference fail to perform their judicial duties to the best of their ability; and judges who engage in felonious criminal conduct.   Moreover, the removal of a duly elected member of the judiciary is a serious undertaking which should only be borne with the utmost care so as not to unduly disrupt the public’s choice for service in the judiciary.”

Judge Jefferson’s conduct warrants a two year suspension, retroactive to his interim suspension dated October 13, 1998. Effectively, the two-year suspension was in reality a 10-month suspension—to Oct. 13, 2000.

In September 2000, Judge Jefferson was sued by newsman Ken Booth in an effort to prevent his return to the bench. The lawsuit was thrown out because Booth could not prove he was a qualified elector in Ouachita Parish and thus, had no legal standing with the court.

But the court took matters a step further by point out the Supreme Court has no authority set qualifications for seeking office. “Once an individual has been removed from judicial office, he no longer is a judge, and is no longer subject to judicial disciplinary actions,” the ruling by the State High Court said. Because Jefferson’s license to practice law was not revoked, he was therefore eligible to seek another judgeship. http://www.leagle.com/decision/20002014765So2d1249_11742/BOOTH%20v.%20JEFFERSON

http://www.noethics.net/News/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2484:attorney-larry-d-jefferson-of-monroe-la-il-duce-wannabee-moron-&catid=150:louisiana-attorney-misfits&Itemid=100

Accordingly, in November 2007 he again won election to the Monroe City Court judgeship with 62 percent of the vote.

Then, in November 2014, he ran for judge of the 4th Judicial District Court (Ouachita and Morehouse parishes), capturing 61 percent of the vote.

And so it was in 2016 that a dirty cop came forward to receive justice from a tainted judge who handed down a disgraceful sentence.

Thousands of non-violent offenders occupy cells in state and parish prisons throughout Louisiana for minor transgressions—and they’re serving sentences considerably longer than the cop who ripped off $1 million in cocaine from the State Police evidence room.

And there are judges who will turn a blind eye to such crimes but will berate a city court prosecutor or a city clerk of court for the most minor of offenses.

There is a certain irony that the last names of Thomas and Jefferson would come together to spit in the face of honest cops and judicial integrity.

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It was bad enough Friday when Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that career politician and former national chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council Noble Ellington as his legislative director.

But at the same time, he announced the appointment of Marketa Garner Walters as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) at $129,000 per year.

Ellington, besides serving as national chairman of ALEC, was twice named Legislator of the Year. He left the legislature to take a cozy $150,000-a-year job as Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Insurance in 2012 even though he had no background in the insurance industry.

And it was during his tenure as ALEC’s national chairman that Bobby Jindal was presented the organization’s Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award (you may want to check with the descendants of Sally Heming on that freedom part). http://www.alec.org/press-release/hundreds-of-state-legislators/

It’s beginning to look a lot like business as usual for the new administration. Like pro football and major league baseball, Louisiana’s elected leaders seem to keep recycling the same old familiar faces in and out of various state offices. The problem is, they are the ones who helped create the problems. So what makes anyone think they have the solutions now?

Take Garner Walters, for example, who served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Services within DSS (DCFS) from January 2004 until November 2008, when she went by the name Marketa Garner Gautreau.

“A national leader in the field of children and family services, Marketa Garner Walters has worked for more than 20 years to improve the lives of children,” the governor’s announcement said. “As a public servant, a national consultant, and an advocate with deep roots in her home state of Louisiana, Walters has been able to create meaningful change in the lives of family and children over the years.”

So what’s so wrong with that?

Well, not much. Unless one considers her explanation for an incident in which a 17-year-old mentally challenged boy raped a 12-year-old boy in a group home during the time she served as assistant secretary for the Office of Community Services.

“Retarded people have sex—it’s what they do,” she said, sounding more like a GEICO commercial than someone responsible for children’s welfare. That bit of wisdom was imparted during her testimony before the Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission in 2008.

The Office of Community Services is a sub-office of the Department of Children and Family Services, formerly the Department of Social Services (DSS).

A former employee of the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ), then the Office of Youth Development, witnessed Gautreau’s testimony.

“In late 2008, DSS and OJJ were called before the Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission about a situation at a Baton Rouge group home housing both OJJ and DSS youth (and) where a 17-year-old mentally challenged boy raped a 12-year-old boy,” the former OJJ employee said.

“OJJ removed our youth from the group home at once and put a moratorium on placement there. DSS, the licensing agency for group homes, left their kids there,” she said.

When questioned by JJIC members, including (then) Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and (then) Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Kitty Kimball, Garner Gautreau offered a bizarre explanation. She said it was really not rape because the youths were of similar mental capacity.

When asked why there was not better staff security to keep the children from roaming around and molesting others, she replied, “Retarded people have sex. It’s what they do.”

The former OJJ employee was aghast. “I told my colleagues I’d wring their necks if they ever made statements like that in public hearings.

“We figured that (Gautreau’s testimony) was a career-limiting speech and we were not surprised when Ms. Garner Gautreau was shortly looking for another job,” the former OJJ employee said.

She added that OJJ stopped placing children in the same facilities as DCFS children.

There was “a consistent pattern of DSS failing to properly monitor and supervise group home operations and looking the other way when deficiencies were noted,” the former OJJ employee said. “Group homes were even re-licensed when still deficient and corrective actions plans were not being followed.

“The DSS review committee was a joke – the agency’s monitors looked the other way and ignored problems at the group homes, even when OJJ removed kids and notified DSS of deficiencies,” she said.

The intent is for private group homes to provide a safe, homelike setting for abused and neglected children who have been removed from their families. But the safety factor appears to have come up far short. Four rapes were reported over a 15-month period at two Baton Rouge group homes.

The Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization, released a 41-page REPORT ON GROUP HOMES in early 2008 that described filthy conditions and neglect of children’s education and medical needs at many facilities. Additionally, a 2007 report by the legislative auditor found that 90 percent of the group homes had deficiencies when their licenses were renewed.

Garner Gautreau, however, told the Baton Rouge Advocate that she had “a high level of comfort” in the knowledge that 80 percent of homes scored at an acceptable level.

Its report included problems that staff members observed themselves but also cited violations found in previous inspection reports filed by the state from 2004 to August 2007. Those include failure to assure proper medical care at 53 percent of the facilities and failure to assure proper physical environment in 69 percent of homes.

State inspectors cited 18 facilities for failing to have sufficient staff and found cases where homes failed to provide criminal background checks and in some cases knowingly hired people with criminal records, the Advocacy Center report noted.

“In some cases, we found evidence that the Bureau of Licensing had identified the same problems and cited the same facility over and over again. However, nothing changed,” said Stephanie Patrick, who oversees visits to homes for the Advocacy Center.

“I started following DSS failures when our staff consistently documented problems that DSS ignored,” the former OJJ employee said.

“Louisiana’s licensing statute for these facilities fails to provide an adequate framework for assuring the health, safety, and welfare of children in these facilities,” the Advocate Center report said.

What?!!

The state doesn’t assure the safety and welfare of children it is charged with protecting?

Among the deficiencies of the statute, the report said were:

  • That it grants final authority over residential facility licensing regulations and standards to two committees, none of whose members is required to be an expert in child residential care and treatment, and many of whose members are providers.
  • That it allows the issuance of licenses without full regulatory compliance.
  • That it requires the Department to seek the approval of the relevant committee before denying or revoking a facility’s license, and gives the committee veto power over such action.
  • That it does not permit DSS to assess civil fines and penalties when facilities violate minimum standards.

The Advocacy Center requested DSS’s Bureau of Licensing reports for the years 2004-2006 and up to August 2007. “A review of these reports shows that a shocking number of the facilities had serious violations of minimum licensing standards, including:

  • 38% of the facilities had violations relating to staff criminal background checks;
  • 62% of the facilities were found to violate minimum standards regarding children’s medications;
  • 53% of the facilities failed to assure that children received proper medical and/or dental care;
  • 33% of the facilities were cited for not following proper procedures or violating procedures pertaining to abuse/neglect;
  • 62% of the facilities were cited for not assuring their staff received all required annual training;
  • 69% of the facilities were cited for not assuring that children were living in a proper physical environment;
  • 36% of the facilities were cited for not having appropriate treatment plans or for inappropriate execution of children’s treatment plans;
  • 33% of the facilities were cited for not assuring that sufficient qualified direct service staff was present with the children as necessary to ensure the health, safety and well- being of children.

“Many facilities were found to be in violation of minimum standards on inspection after inspection,” the report added.

LouisianaVoice has been receiving unsettling reports of inadequate inspections of foster homes by unqualified DCFS employees. Those reports are currently being investigated by us and will be reported in future posts should they be substantiated.

Meanwhile, we can take comfort in the knowledge that Marketa Garner Walters nee Gautreau will be watching out for the children as the new secretary of DCFS.

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When LouisianaVoice was first contacted about Troy Hebert back in December, one of the things our anonymous source said was that the former Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control was positioning himself for a congressional run.

While everything the source told us was verified in a month-long investigation, we simply could not bring ourselves to believe that Hebert would seriously believe he could be a serious candidate for Congress.

After all, the Jeanerette native had enough baggage to justify an extra train car on any such expedition to Washington.

For openers, the veteran legislator cum ATC commissioner had, while serving as a state representative, managed to finagle a state contract for debris cleanup following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That alone was a flagrant conflict of interest but because he was apparently close to Bobby Jindal, the State Board of Ethics chose to look the other way.

Then there is his tenure at ATC, marked by constant battles with his agents. Rumors of racism on his part persisted and he required his agents to rise and chirp, “Good morning, commissioner” whenever he entered the room. At hearings on alcohol permit revocations and other penalties, he insisted on being called “judge,” though he was merely an administrative officer.

So we discounted out of hand the report that he might make a run for a congressional seat. We assumed he was taking aim of the seat now held by U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany who has made his intentions known that he plans to seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter.

Nah, we said. The source is simply wrong.

But wait.

Politics necessarily dictate sizable egos and apparently there is none bigger than Hebert’s.

And there it was, when we googled “Hebert announces for U.S. Senate.” Up popped this link: http://www.katc.com/story/31082873/troy-hebert-to-run-for-senate?clienttype=mobile

That’s the web site of Lafayette television station KATC. We clicked on the link and this story appeared on our screen:

Troy Hebert, a former state senator and former commissioner of the state Alcohol and Tobacco Control Office, says he plans to run for the U.S. Senate this fall. 

Hebert, who is from Jeanerette and lives in Baton Rouge, served in the Louisiana state Senate as a Democrat, but later switched to Independent. He was Alcohol & Tobacco Control Commissioner for the past five years and resigned at the end of December. 

Hebert said he plans to run as an Independent.

“Given the number of voters that are fed up with both parties, the large number of registered Independents and the swollen number of republican candidates, simple math shows a great opportunity for voters to elect their first truly conservative Independent United States Senator,” Hebert said. “This realization has some people in high places, with a lot to lose, already trying to keep me out the race. They think I kicked their asses before, just think what I could do as a U.S. Senator.” 

Hebert joins three other Louisiana politicians who have announced they are vying for U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s Senate seat. Vitter announced he would not seek re-election after losing the governor’s race last fall.

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, and state Treasurer John Kennedy, also a Republican, have said they are running.

So it’s not the House but the Senate that Hebert is running for. Seems our source was pretty much spot on with this opening line back on Dec. 18, 2015:

“I have watched all of Mr. Herbert’s actions in the last year with amazement. His latest attempts to go around the State to get name recognition for what I hear will be a Congressional run has led me from watching from the sidelines to sending you this information.”

“Herbert also has been holding town hall type meetings across the State after he announced his resignation at end of year so he can get name recognition for his run for Congress,” she said.

Okay, it’s not the House, but that and other information provided us was accurate enough for us to see that our source is up in the middle of Troy Hebert’s business—and he has no idea who it is.

Stand by folks. If you thought last fall’s governor’s race was nasty, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

As C.B. would say if he were still with us: You can’t make this stuff up.

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