Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“…All Calcasieu Parish employees have been instructed not to respond to any additional requests or demands (for public records) from you associated with the project.”

“…The next time any Calcasieu Parish employee is contacted by you or any of your representatives with respect to the project, we will proceed with further civil actions and criminal charges.”

—Lake Charles attorney Russell J. Stutes, Jr., in a February 2015 letter to contractor Billy Broussard of Breaux Bridge who lost his legal battle over more than $1 million he says is owed him for debris cleanup following Hurricane Rita in 2005. Mr. Stutes apparently is unaware of Louisiana’s public records law which gives all citizens 18 and older the unrestricted right to request, receive and examine any public record.

Read Full Post »

Cody Bowlin, after multiple DWIs and a host of other citations and arrests, finally had his day in court on Monday and came away essentially unscathed with a nominal fine and a requirement for community service.

Bowlin, 26, a self-employed auctioneer, appears to be connected via his grandfather, Marvin Henderson of Livingston, founder of Henderson Brothers Auctioneers who has contributed more than $50,000 to various political candidates since 2003.

His citations, in chronological order, include:

  • March 18, 2008—Possession of marijuana;
  • 21, 2008—Speeding, limitations on passing on the left;
  • 24, 2009—Following too closely, driving under suspension (amended to improper parking);
  • May 3, 2011—Shoplifting;
  • 13, 2011—No seat belt;
  • May 31, 2012—Speeding;
  • Nov, 27, 2012—Careless operation, driving left of center, operating a vehicle while intoxicated with controlled dangerous substance;
  • June 2, 2015—Improper overtaking and passing a stopped school bus;
  • 27, 2015—Possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana or synthetic contraband;
  • 17, 2015—Careless operation of a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated—controlled substance, second offense; operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, second offense;
  • June 11, 2016—Possession of marijuana, possession of a schedule 3 drug, improper passing, no insurance (charges dismissed);
  • June 23, 2016—Speeding;
  • 21, 2016—Possession of drug paraphernalia.

In at least three cases, Bowlin failed to appear for arraignment and bench warrants were issued for him.

The arresting officer was not present in court for Monday’s proceedings (did District Attorney Scott Perrilloux suggest to him that he need not attend?). Therefore, the charge of second offense DWI was reduced to first offense DWI. All other charges (careless operation, speeding) were conveniently dropped.

Bowlin entered a No Contest plea to first offense DWI, and Bowlin received the following devastating sentence:

  • 6-month jail term, suspended (no jail time);
  • One-year probation;
  • A fine of $600;
  • 32 hours community service;
  • Must attend MADD’sVictim Impact Panel;
  • Court costs of $1,333;
  • Report back to Judge Elizabeth Wolfe on March 13, 2017, so she can monitor “progress.”

Wyman Bankston, Bowlin’s defense attorney (who also represents Henderson Auctions in its ongoing LITIGATION against First Guaranty Bank and Charles Easler/Worldnet Auctions), and Bowlin lingered in the hallway until time for them to appear.

Call us jaded, but we cannot help but think skeptically. If MADD had not been present in the courtroom for the “trial,”—which was left off the court docket (we suspect as a tactic to keep MADD in the dark)—this would have likely been swept under the rug with all charges dropped as has been the case with Bowlin so many times in the past.

We also have to wonder if District Attorney Scott Perrilloux might have suggested to the officer that he need not attend so the charges could be reduced.

 

Read Full Post »

(Editor’s note: This is another guest column by Ruston resident John Sachs, a Ruston High School classmate, a CPA and a personal friend.)

Socialism:  Good or Bad?

By John Sachs

Is socialism good or bad? Let me give you something to think about. My answer to that question is this: it depends on who benefits from it.

There are those folks who say that socialism in any form is always bad because it is communism in its infancy.

Next, they say that almost all government programs should be privatized and administered by and for the benefit of a capitalistic, free enterprise system rather than for the general population.

Next, they say that any government regulation of free markets serves only to advance communism and that it restricts the effectiveness of any benefits to be derived from unfettered capitalism. Now hold on to that thought as I’m coming back to it.

Do you think that these folks really mean that all socialism is bad and even evil? Do you think that they really want government totally out of the free market system? The answer is a resounding NO! Then when do these same pure free enterprise advocates find themselves solidly in favor of socialism? When do they cry out FOR rather than against “socialist” programs?

We only have to look back to 2008 and the $700-billion-dollar bailout of Wall Street to see a perfect example of free enterprise advocates praising socialism. When we 300 million middle-class American citizens bailed out the greedy, incompetent, scions of Wall Street, none of them complained of socialism. Certainly not! When the masses of taxpayers were rescuing the financial industry from crushing losses created by the free enterprise system, that was just fine and dandy. Socialism, for that purpose worked perfectly—for the super wealthy.

Skip forward only one year to 2009 when Wall Street had been restored to comparatively good health by the massive infusion of government capital. What did Wall Street say and do then? They said for the government to get out of their way and let them manage their industry as they saw fit. In addition, (are you ready for this?) they paid themselves billions in bonuses with the taxpayer rescue funds as though they had done something to deserve it. That defies not only logic, but also defies understanding how the American public—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike—could stand aside and allow this to happen.

How could 99 percent of American taxpayers accept this? How could our elected representatives be allowed to do this to us so they can get personal re-election donations from the super wealthy? Why haven’t we risen up en mass, recalled or impeached or better yet, imprisoned (in one of their own privatized hellhole prisons) each and every official responsible for allowing this to happen?

It just defies logic and understanding. Yet the unthinking American public buys into the lies we are fed as to why we should absorb capitalism’s losses and applaud those officials who caused it. To socialize Wall Street’s losses but privatize their gains just won’t cut it with me. Does it with you?

If Wall Street is too far away for you to relate to, look at Farmerville. $50 million rightfully belonging to Louisiana taxpayers went to bail out the private enterprise poultry plant there. And another $11 million in federal aid bailed out the chicken production folks. If this isn’t socialism, what is it?

The next time you hear or mistakenly think that socialism or socialistic programs or government-run programs are bad, remember the examples mentioned above. Your view of socialism as to whether it’s good or evil really depends on who benefits. That sword cuts both ways. Both the goose and the gander must be allowed or denied its benefits equally.

Do you think this topic is important? If not, then you had better ask yourself why the people of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, etc. are demanding back what is rightfully theirs but was stolen by their respective dictators and their top1 percent super-wealthy supporters. If by the use of purchased political favoritism and deceit, the super-wealthy top 1 percent of Americans continue to gain ownership of the assets rightfully belonging to the other 99 percent of us, then we in America are heading down the path that Egypt took.

In case you are wondering how close you are from being included in the top 1 percent super-wealthy in our country, understand If you don’t earn an average $2,700 per hour or $5.4 million per year, you aren’t there yet. Thus, when the federal government or a state governor and legislature sell national or state assets or privatize almost all public services, you are being robbed while at the same time you are paying for the “privilege.”

Join in demanding a stop to the privatizing of those assets that belong to you and the others of us in the 99 percent category.

Hurry! Congress is now in session and the Louisiana legislature convenes April 25.

So, are you against socialism? Is it inherently evil? Funny thing isn’t it that the answer is not a resounding YES. Your answer must depend upon whether or not YOU benefit. If your government gives you special benefits denied to the rest of us, then stop calling the government programs that help the rest of us “socialistic” or you are a hypocrite. The only solution is for you to refuse to accept any assistance of any kind from your local, state and federal governments. In my book, you’ll be an okay kind of guy. But a hypocrite? Not acceptable. Not at all.

 

Read Full Post »

(Editor’s note: Occasionally, I take a point of personal privilege and depart from politics to cover a story that has deeper meaning to me. The following is one of those):

Several decades ago, his father took him to see the Harlem Globetrotters at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport (where the phrase “Elvis has left the building” was born). As they sat in the stands, his dad turned to him and pointed to a tall, thin, elderly black man dressed in a dark suit and sitting courtside. “You should go down there and get that man’s autograph.”

The boy looked at the man and asked, “Why should I get his autograph?”

“That’s Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitchers of all time,” his dad said.

O.K. “Buddy” Davis followed the advice of his father Howard Davis and obtained Paige’s autograph. “If it hadn’t been for my dad telling me, I never would’ve gotten that autograph,” Davis said last Saturday (Oct. 22).

Perhaps encouraged by that exposure to the Globetrotters, by the Paige autograph—or both—Davis would go on to one of the most rewarding careers as a sportswriter that a young boy sitting in the stands in Hirsch back in the 1960s could ever have imagined.

And while others in his journalism classes at Louisiana Tech would move on to large metropolitan newspapers, he chose to eschew a bigger paycheck to stay home. He would spend his entire career as Sports Editor (he would later promote himself to Executive Sports Editor) of his small hometown newspaper, the Ruston Daily Leader, the same paper that launched the careers of numerous other writers, including yours truly. Along the way he would accumulate a roomful of reporting awards that would make any big-time writer envious.

And while covering north Louisiana sports that was—and is—a hotbed of football talent, he would never stop adding to that autograph list initiated by Paige’s signature.

A partial list of autographs owned by Davis: Bobby Thompson (of the 1951 shot heard around the world off Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca), Willie Mays, Joe Adcock, Jimmy Connors, Arnold Palmer, Johnny Unitas (which was the only autograph that I had—until it was lost in last August’s floods), Bart Starr, Dizzy Dean, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Red Grange, former Saints kicker Morten Andersen, Jim Mora, Archie Manning, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Knight, Brett Favre, Jim Brown, Gayle Sayers, former LSU football greats Billy Cannon, Jim Taylor and Y.A. Tittle, former Grambling greats Willie Davis, Alan Ladd and Buck Buchanan, Bob Cousy, Yogi Berra, the “ol’ perfesser,” Casey Stengel, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre and Ron Guidry, to name only a few.

Once, after the New York Yankees played an exhibition game at Grambling, Davis was interviewing a Yankee player in the dressing room when Reggie Jackson came in. Davis was apparently in the space reserved for Jackson who looked at Davis and said, “Move your ass.” Despite that less than auspicious meeting, Buddy got Jackson’s autograph.

Davis has penned some wonderful stories. One of those was about a Ruston kid named Kendall Flournoy who had lost a leg to cancer but still played Little League baseball. It was a story, poignant-laden with Buddy’s personal touch, that would bring a lump to the most jaded reader’s throat. Conversely, Buddy’s personal worst, according to consensus opinion, was his coverage of the day Bert Jones was drafted by the then-Baltimore Colts. Buddy staked out the Jones household in the early morning hours and provided a minute-by-minute account of the Jones family’s activities–starting when Bert first woke up. He took a lot of ribbing from friend Gene Smith and me for that work of less than journalistic excellence.

That story, though, was the exception. Buddy was a one-man sports department, churning out more stories in a single day than most writers do in a busy week, covering everything from T-ball to Tech-ball. And just for the record, be assured every writer has a full collection of stories that should never have been written (one of my personal Hall of Shame entries, among many,  is the one in which a cousin conned me into doing a story for The Shreveport Times about her writing a number-one hit song when in fact, she never wrote it—or any other song, for that matter. Ruston radio station KRUS also got caught up in the hype, thanks to my Times story, and did a lengthy interview with her, further perpetuating the hoax).

Buddy was one of the few writers who would give Eddie Robinson and the Grambling Tigers their due. Grambling, after all, at one time had more former players in the NFL than any other university in America—including Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame or Texas. Buddy was completely color blind and he was there for every game—from Los Angeles to New York to Hawaii to Tokyo. He even covered the Munich Olympic Games but, never forsaking his roots, was still an unabashed promoter of Ruston High, Louisiana Tech, Grambling and later, Cedar Creek High School. He was there when Terry Bradshaw threw a touchdown pass in the Grantland Rice Bowl with defensive players hanging all over him. He was there when Denny Duron threw a touchdown pass to Roger Carr to clinch the national championship in the 1973 playoffs. He was there for each of Ruston High School’s state football championships in the ’80s and ’90s. He was there when Tommy Durrett hit the winning basket to win a state championship for Simsboro High School and Coach Barry Canterbury.

Yes, he was a “homer,” perhaps having learned that from his mentor, the late Maj. L.J. Fox, a fellow Daily Leader sports columnist who never saw a Ruston High School Bearcat team or a Ruston Contractor American Legion baseball team that he didn’t think would take State.

He was also slightly mischievous. Once, while talking to Buddy in the Ruston Walmart, I detected an especially offensive—and unmistakable—odor. A passing shopper also picked up on the smell from nearly 30 feet away and, looking around for the source, promptly walked right into a column that nearly knocked the poor man unconscious. I turned to Buddy and he was grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat—a guilty Cheshire Cat, to be sure.

Buddy never married. Or perhaps he did, choosing a desk in the back section of the Daily Leader as his bride. It was a marriage that lasted more than 40 years. To say that desk was piled high with stories and photos and stats and records and back issues of the Daily Leader would be like saying Donald Trump is a rich egoist. How he could ever find anything on that desk remains one of the great mysteries of our time.

Today, Buddy resides in the Jack Lambert room of a Ruston nursing home (that’s Room 58 for the non-student of sports trivia; Jack Lambert played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and wore jersey number 58).

You see, a couple of years back Buddy failed to show up for work. When Daily Leader Publisher Rick Holt sent someone to check on him, he was found face down on his kitchen floor, having suffered a disabling stroke some 18 hours earlier. That’s right, he lay helpless and alone, unable to summon help, for 18 hours. And still he somehow survived.

And while he is unable to walk today, the stroke has had the effect of merely slowing him down but not stopping him. His mind is still razor-sharp (don’t ever try to beat him at sports trivia) and he still gets out from time to time to cover an occasional sporting event from his motorized chair. He accepted an Outstanding Alumnus award from Louisiana Tech from that chair during halftime of a Tech football game.

During his confinement in his Room 58 bed (a room adorned with signed sports posters and photos), he has received visitors representative of a veritable sports hall of fame. They include Terry Bradshaw, Bert Jones, former Tech and New Orleans Saints great Willie Roaf, former Grambling and Atlanta Braves baseball star Ralph Garr, former outstanding Ruston High, Tech, and Braves pitcher George Stone, former Tech and Canadian Football League great Tommy Hinton, former Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, Tech and Chicago Bear fullback Roland Harper, former Ruston High, Tech and San Francisco 49er player Fred Dean, Baylor women’s basketball coach and former Tech All-American Kim Mulkey, former Grambling and New York Knicks basketball star Willis Reed, former Tech All-American and Utah Jazz NBA All-Star Karl Malone, and former Tech player and Tech women’s basketball coach Leon Barmore.

And that’s just a partial list.

Despite his having covered all those athletes and despite his having formulated close friendships with each of them, he still relishes visits from his everyday friends like Nico Van Thyn, Jack Thigpen, John Sachs, Gene Smith and others.

As Gene Smith and I left his room on Saturday, he said, “Thanks so much for coming by. I appreciate it.” And he meant it.

No, Buddy, thank you for all those years you gave to your hometown and your schools.

And thanks for being a friend and promoter to athletes—the wannabes and the real deals, the little kids and the not-so-little kids.

You are truly an MVP.

 

Read Full Post »

The floods that have hit Louisiana during 2016 have been devastating. And while the most recent floods in August were concentrated in the East Baton Rouge-Livingston-Ascension areas, others earlier in the year struck other parts of the state.

One family learned on Facebook of their home in Baton Rouge not only flooding, but burning when water got into the home’s electrical system—while they were vacationing in Texas.

I plan to publish a book about the widespread destruction inflicted on thousands of homeowners and businesses in Louisiana. Included in our book will be accounts of the difficulties of overcoming the burdensome red tape of the FEMA bureaucracy, local and state building codes, slow-paying insurance companies, and any other problems encountered with the floods and their aftermaths.

We want stories and photos about rescues (humans and pets), property losses, and any other events associated with the flooding.

Those whose stories and/or photos are used will receive complimentary signed copies of the book.

One-half of all net profits will be given to flood relief.

Please email your stories and/or photos to:

tom.aswell@yahoo.com

or mail to:

LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, LA. 70727

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »