Saturday, July 08, 2006

All the way

Returning the city's Dodge Durango you donated to yourself Renee? I guess God didn't want you to have it after all.

Well, you know you wouldn't be able to use it in prison anyway.

By the way, Renee, since you're feeling so generous, how about returning all the taxpayer money you doled out to your friends and future employers? And the inflated rent. Go ahead. Set an example for your former colleagues partners in crime on the City Council.

As for the rest of us, we still need a lot more sunshine on this kind of behavior.

Until we have ethics legislation at EVERY level of government, AND adequate attention to ENFORCEMENT, we'll continue to be ripped off by elected representatives.

Jan Moller reported in The Times-Picayune that the record(?) $27 billion state spending bill currently on Governor Blanco's desk contains $33.1 million in "special legislative projects."

Remarkably, included in that budget is a "$300,000 earmark for Care Unlimited, a New Orleans charity with close ties to former City Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt and the family of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson."

Recall that Care Unlimited is the organization Renee Gill Pratt donated money and vehicles to, and which hired her after she was shit-canned by voters.

Also included in that budget is $9.9 million in "state aid to local entities."

State Treasurer John Kennedy is saying that Governor Blanco should use her line-item veto power to slash these kinds of projects.

Kennedy said Governor Blanco's pledge of oversight isn't enforceable because she hasn't allocated enough enforcement resources to the state treasurer's office.

Daniel Poulin got it right in his letter to The Times-Picayune last week:

Almost every state senator and representative has affiliations with non-profits that are supposedly in place to help better the lives of the sick, poor or otherwise less capable than the rest of us.

They transfer money to these non-profits through their slush funds and direct allocations from the state budget, and the media have looked the other way for years.

The organizations get little done but pass money around in the form of management jobs, vehicles and expense accounts. Investigate each and every legislator's slush, pet projects and non-profits, and you'll be giving us, the citizenry, the tools to end the slush, the direct payments and the waste of taxpayer money once and for all.

Ironically, if Kennedy is right that he can't enforce paper promises, we're going to have to rely even more on the very same press that Poulin criticized for looking the other way.

I'd like both a vigorous press and ethics laws with teeth.

We can't stop at Renee's Dodge Durango. We need to use this occasion to go all the way with ethics reform.

Maybe that's why God gave Renee a Durango.

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At 7/09/2006 12:12:00 AM, Anonymous GentillyGirl said...

Ethics reform NOW!

Any City Councilperson that diverts funds/goods donated to the city to that which is not for ALL OF THE PEOPLE should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Maybe this is another aspect of Dollar Bill's influence?

At 7/09/2006 06:41:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Problem is, I'm not sure there is a law. I wish the TP would cover THAT story. Maybe another local blogger knows ....

At 7/09/2006 04:01:00 PM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

Here's a full list of the "sush fund"items in their new location inthe budget.

I worte an email to the Governor ( suggesting that the only proper thing to do would be to veto everything on that list, which I cut and pasted into the email. I also stated taht the money has a very good place to go right now, which is back into the hands of hte taxpayers who could more wisely and efficiently spend their tax dollars in such a time of need as we have. Maybe if enough of us do the same she might actually consider cutting out far more than she might otherwise.

At 7/09/2006 04:03:00 PM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

BTW, I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure there isn;t really a law governing the method used in this case. The closest I think we will hope to see is if the Council had breached the contract with the donating company by not using the vehicles for government use, which I believe the TP said was the situation.

At 7/09/2006 08:01:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Thanks for the link to the state budget slush fund projects Lenny.


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