Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fools on Parade

So many wonderful displays of idoicy at the hearings to repeal the LSEA but here are my favorites:

Sen Julie "Chinese drywall will be the death of me" Quinn making light of "people with little letters behind their names":

Sen. KCP bitch slaps her and Julie gets her panties in wad.  I love it.

Sen. Mike Walsworth asks why there aren't experiments where e.coli evolves into a human being:

He then goes on to quote "something" he found on the internet that he can't quite pronounce or understand but it supports his point so he attempts to quote it:

Then of course there's Zack...who just kicks ass:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don't Come Around Here No More...

...whatever you're looking for....don't come around here no more.

I got word that a new IT company is bidding for work in the City of NO...or DBA: Ciber as it shows up on domain registries....oy vey.

The company is called SLG Innovation (love that fancy stock art).

Guess who owns it.  I'll give you a big hint by posting the contact address:

164 N. Canal Street, Suite 1523, Chicago, IL  60606

Let's see who guesses it first....


Sulasula, who nailed it within 7 minutes of publishing the post.  Very impressive.

Our mystery company is owned by none other than our old buddy who fleeced us for 56 million smackeroos....Ed Burns formerly of Ciber:

After Ciber ripped off the City of NO and the state of Pennsylvania (Turnpike scandal) they cleaned house, culling the dirty agents off their payroll.  But fear not, Mr. Burns is back in business and going right back to the scene of the crime....New Orleans.

After testifying against Mark St. Pierre (and some of his testimony is questionable, I will get back to that later on in Sneaky Snake 2012, part deux) and saving his own skin, he's slithered right back to his old stomping ground to see what's left for the taking.  Mind-bogglingly brash these fuckers are, huh?

Well, now you know...let's see if the city follows HANO's lead and pulls another Junkeroos & Moveroos.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm sure it smelled fine

This was bought from a local unnamed grocery store yesterday (per Mac McKenzie):

How about a shrimp boil?:  an editorial 'bout it?

Two Years After the BP Spill, Gulf Oysters Are Full of Heavy Metals

That's not all they've been exposed to.  If you have the time and truly want to understand what has happened to the Gulf for the past 50 years, with the BP spill being the catastrophic climax, watch this interview I conducted with Stanley Waligora and Marvin Resnikoff, two of the top scientists in the country on NORM (Normally Occurring Radioactive Material).

Dr. Chris Busby estimated that as much as 50 pounds of uranium was released into the Gulf from the BP spill.

It can't be illegal if you're doing it for Jeeessuuss

Louisiana's Family Forum:  More Questions Than Answers

I mention this all for a reason: The Louisiana Family Forum continues to dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to the Louisiana Family Forum Action (the LFFA), its sister organization which is prohibited from receiving tax-deductible donations but is allowed a more expansive ability to lobby and influence the legislature. And today, according to its disclosures, in addition to paying Mr. Mills for his lobbying work and one other full-time employee, Dale Hoffpauir, the LFF doles out over $120,000 a year in “other” expenses related to employment, presumably consulting contracts which are not subjected to disclosure. Meanwhile, the LFFA is the beneficiary of tax-deductible donations via the LFF, which it could otherwise never receive. Mr. Mills, presumably, makes money as a lobbyist for the Louisiana Family Forum (considering he is its only registered lobbyist and it disclosed over $42,000 in lobbying expenses in its last report), and he receives a full-time salary from the Louisiana Family Forum Action, nearly $90,000 a year.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Pot and the Kettle

Jeffery pointed out this article I missed in the TP:

2 years after Gulf oil spill, Louisiana seafood still battling negative perception

...and in particular, this gem:

On Thursday, a National Enquirer-esque story was featured on the local online publication, Eater Nola, which mostly writes about local restaurants and food trends. The story told of "borderline Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-esque mutations" found in Gulf species and then linked to an Al-Jazeera news story that discussed Louisiana shrimp and crab catch as dramatically down as a result of these "mutated shrimp, crab and fish."
A video above that Al-Jazeera article interspliced random footage of people eating while it discussed these alleged declines in species. Last month, one headline within a similar Al-Jazeera story exclaimed in bold letters, "The shrimp are all dead."
A simple call to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to ask for shrimp catch numbers would have told the publication otherwise.
Perhaps this is correct in regards to the shrimp catch, but it's interesting that oyster spats were omitted from the story. 
Despite federal, state and local scientists stating again and again that Gulf of Mexico seafood is safe to eat, the majority of people across the nation still have concerns, with about 30 percent saying they won't eat it at all. 
How the seafood is tested, not if, is what we "conspiracy theorists" have been calling into question from the beginning. Many of those local scientists are on BP's payroll or the institutions they work for are on BP's payroll.  That's not conspiracy it's fact. 

This whole article assumes that anyone who doesn't believe seafood from the Gulf is safe is a "conspiracy theorist"  The reporter even went so far as to contact this dude...and I'm sure he is on some local entity's payroll as well:
Peter Sandman, a national risk communication consultant and former Rutgers University human ecology professor, suggests that perhaps persisting negative perceptions about Gulf seafood have little to do with risk and more to do with outrage.  
Ok, so listen to these scientists and tell me if they sound outraged...a simple call to a scientist not on BP's payroll in some form or fashion may have told the reporter a different story:

Happy anniversary.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I would love to interview Mark St. Pierre right about now

Jim Bridger, former Public Belt RR exec, sentenced to 2 years of probation

These teaches me one lesson....crime pays in New Orleans.

Want to me to prove it again?  Did any of you happen to catch the story about the new $710k Hano contract given out to a company called "Junkaroos & Moveroos" to redevelop the Iberville projects?

Housing Authority to approve four Iberville-related items

Guess who owns Junkaroos and Moveroos?  None other than Jefferson Parish City Council member, Byron Lee!  You know Byron, C-note Richmond's good bud and author of the con-profit known as the Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation.

Get this...Hano awarded the Iberville bid to the newly formed Junkaroos & Moveroos giving them a near perfect score in the bidding process supposedly based on previous performance.  Byron's sterling reputation must have overwhelmed the Hano assessors.

Oh...only one thing.  I'm curious if those gobsmacked assessors took the time to go to the Secretary of State's website and actually make sure Junkaroos & Moveroos was a registered company....because I did...and guess what I found...

I took this screen shot just yesterday....seems Byron's J & M wasn't even in good standing with the SOS when he landed that near perfect score and won the bid.  That's a pretty neat trick, Byron.

Of must have paid up as he is now in good standing.

Can't wait to see how that Iberville project turns out.

Oh...there's more coming on the crime pays in NOLA front.  This one will really blow you away and probably make Mark St. Pierre bust out of jail just to strangle someone.

Hang tight...coming soon....

But it smells OK so go ahead and eat it

Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists

It's amazing that the only media outlet reporting this story is based half a world away.  Simply amazing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Click, click, click...

...go the dominoes.

Corruption investigation of disaster-recovery firm takes aim at former FBI supervisor

I've got some related news coming.  Sneaky Snakes 2012, part deux, on deck.

And I decided to make a trilogy...the Star Wars sneaky snakes inspired me.

Welcome to the Hostility Zone

Here we are, once again in the eleventh hour, facing a new bill being pushed in the state legislature that we knew nothing about.  Senate Bills 473, 573, 608 (sponsored by Ed Murray, J.P. Morrell) and House Bill 967 (sponsored by Helena Moreno and Walt Leger) just hit the insider's radar last Friday and the public radar yesterday via Bruce Eggler’s column in the TP.

The public is just hearing of this bill a week out before it would go to committee.  Why is that?  Why is a bill this important, one that will affect every citizen in this city, just now reaching the public’s attention? 

This “urgent”, “has to happen” bill would create a new taxing zone, the “New Orleans Hospitality and Entertainment District”.  It’s essentially another DDD on steroids emcompassing “hospitality” areas of the city.  What are those areas?  Well...the hospitality “stakeholders” will decide that as needed, in perpetuity, and you, the citizen, will be informed after those decisions are made for you.  If your French Quarter, Marigny, Treme, Warhouse District, or 7th Ward house happens to end up in their "Hospitality Zone" you will be expected to comply with the agenda, resistance is futile.

But for now, we have to do this because Superbowl is coming up next year and we will be totally fuck’snu’d if we don’t pass it now!

Are you nervous?  

The general pitch for the bill would essentially create a new taxing district and new layer of government in the city.  11 million dollars of the expected new revenue would be split 50/50 between the city's two tourism marketing entities, NOMCVB and NOTMC.  That additional 11 million is on top of their current income and woud be used only for marketing.  That amount is an estimated 1.5% of the new 1.75% additional hotel/motel tax.  The remaining .25% would go towards "infrastructure" and "quality of life" enhancements in the newly created district.

Let’s take a look at what the primary objectives of the New Orleans Hospitality Zone and Entertainment District are (per VCPORA and French Quarter Citizens):

  1. The Initial $30 million (generated by a pledge from the Convention Center):  Provide a mechanism for distributing the Convention Center’s pledge to the primary tourist areas of New Orleans and improving its infrastructure.
  2. Funding for tourism agencies, the and the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp. (NOTMC) :  Obtain additional millions for advertising and PR for the agencies responsible for marketing New Orleans so the city is on par with other similarly situated US cities.
  3. Recurring Revenue for Infrastructure:  Provide a recurring revenue source for infrastructure, sanitation, and other issues related to improving visitor impressions of the “hospitality zone”.

Ok, so that’s the basis of the pitch.  I’m going to address my concerns in a minute but I want to list some of the concerns VCPORA and FQC raised:

  • Flexible Boundaries:
  1. The content of the bills vary, but roughly the Zone includes the French Quarter, CBD, Warehouse District, and the Marigny (with some bills including the entire Marigny and others drawing the line at Elysian Fields).  The boundaries, however, are NOT fixed and can be adjusted by the board and/or the Mayor - NOTE: THIS ITEM HAS REPORTEDLY BEEN AMENDED OUT.
  2. Several bills empower the Mayor to enlarge the district by annexing “contiguous” areas into the zone.  The bills also empower the District itself to divide into smaller “subdistricts”, which could be used to enable the district to draw out significant pockets of opposition for tax election purposes. NOTE: THIS ITEM HAS ALSO REPORTEDLY BEEN AMENDED OUT.
  • Unelected Board
  1. The creation of the board would represent a shift of power from elected leaders (like the City Council) to an unelected board made up primarily of tourism industry officials, so observers are expressing concern about accountability.
  2. The bills generally set out the purposes of the district, but there is little in the bills that would dedicate a specific amount of money (say, at least 50%) to enhancing capital improvements in the Zone.  Further, the board is not legally required to seek the input of the public or even the City Council in choosing projects.  One excpetion:  In SB 473, the board MAY enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the City for capital improvements in the zone.  But, “in the absence of ... (an) agreement” the funds (originally intended for improvments) are sent to the CVB and NOTMC.

Here we go again, eh?  Yet another “taxing district” to raise money for some urgent stuff we lack in regards to other “similarly situated cities”. 

In other words, the college fraternity next door just got a pool and a hot tub and we have to run out and get those things too or we just won’t be cool enough.  Never mind that we can’t afford those things, we’ll just jack up the rates on members’ fraternity dues in order to raise the money to get them.  But we have to hurry up because the big game is coming and we need that schwag for the tailgate party.

The only problem with the frat boy analogy in respect to this situation is that you can choose to leave a college fraternity, many people can’t simply choose to leave their house, job, friends and family and move to another area of the city or even out of the city.

People who live in a city are privy to their city government’s machinations but their government must also answer to the people.  Government is imposed on the populous in the form of laws and taxes but citizens have a representative voice in the process through the election of government officials.  If the citizens don’t like what is happening they can always vote out the lawmakers.

It’s this pregnant, little notion commonly referred to as a “representative democracy”.

A college fraternity is more often a monarchy....a fiefdom.  Seniority and title rule the roost.  This is the mindset that is imposed in a fraternity and the fruit of that vine usually carries that attitude to the grave.

On that note, let me briefly explain the CVB and NOTMC.  Both organizations obtain funding from a tax known as the “Hotel/Motel tax”.  This tax was created shortly after the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition failed miserably and had to be subsidized by government funding just to keep it running through its ending date.  The failure of the event was largely blamed on the lack of marketing to promote the event and as a result the two respective marketing agencies were created in order to market the city to tourists.  To fund the organizations a city tax was placed on hotel/motel rooms and restaurant meals with the blessing of the business owners.

NOTMC was designed to market to the “leisure tourist”, people who are simply visiting the city on a vacation or for festivals, etc.  NOTMC is wholly funded by the hotel/motel tax.

The CVB was originally designed to market more towards large conventions and business-based tourism but they also started taking on the role of marketing to leisure tourists as well.  The CVB does receive funding from the hotel/motel tax but they also receive private funding (I’ll get to this in a minute). 

There has always been an uneasy relationship between the two entities with the CVB being the aggressor.  NOTMC’s budget has repeatedly been in the crosshairs for the CVB and that power play climaxed last year in a rather hostile attempt by the CVB’s President/CEO, Stephen Perry, and a handful of CVB board members to collapse the NOTMC into their organization and essentially cannibalize their budget.  The merit of this move is up for debate, regardless, it was thwarted largely by the influence of then newly-elected Mayor Landrieu.  NOTMC is under the umbrella of the mayor's office; CVB is autonomous.  

I bring these facts up because one point of contention that surfaced during this battle between the two entities was that after repeated requests for their budget, including public records requests from more than one local media outlet, the CVB denied all requests to open their books.  Their lawyers claimed that since the CVB was a public/private entity they did not have to comply with the requests.  They finally buckled a little last year and agreed to open up their books only on the public monies they received from the hotel/motel tax. 
NOTMC has repeatedly made their books public. 

The CVB’s spending and bookkeeping has been the subject of much speculation for years, particularly since Katrina.  The organization has continually operated at a deficit since the storm; their spending largely unscrutinized and hidden from public view.  The organization’s hostility towards its sister organization, NOTMC, is the stuff of New Orleans’ political lore and last year’s battle was no exception, voodoo even made it into the mix (buy me a drink and I’ll tell you a tale).

What we have in the CVB is essentially a fiefdom....little to no accountability, self-rule, unelected legacy rulers. 

Now, at the last minute, we’re being told of a bill being pushed in the state legislature that would greatly expand that fiefdom’s territory, power and wealth by yet another tax imposed on the city.  We’re being told this “Zone” must be created in order for us to properly host the Superbowl next year.  We’re being told this plan was hatched by the “stakeholders” in the New Orleans’ tourism industry and apparently that elite group does not include all the citizens of the city.  

We’re being told this "Zone" will initially be the French Quarter, the Warehouse District and CBD (which will apparently overlap an already existing tax district, the DDD), Marigny, Treme, and the 7th Ward.

We’re being told we must simply accept all of this and agree to the tax without having any voice in the matter or course of action through standard governmental channels such as City Council.

We’re being told we have no voice on who runs this "Zone", the board will be appointed by the “stakeholders” and we “simply ain’t in that numbah’”.

Once agian, it's a fiefdom.  It’s called taxation without representation.

The spearhead of this ploy being primarily the CVB, an organization that has shown a blatant contempt for transparency.  However, what little we do know of the organization’s budgetary performance is cause for great concern.  

Now, they have the balls to tell us, not ask us, that they are going to create a whole new taxing zone in the city and they are going to spend that generated income at their own discretion.

Not very hospitable for an organization whose business is hospitality, huh?

This city...this amazing amazing because of its residents.  What makes New Orleans unique, what gives these tourism “stakeholders” their jobs and income is the eclectic mix of culture, music, food....people....that comprise this city.  Yes, some tourists come to New Orleans simply to get plowed and hang out in the “Zone” but what sets this city apart from Las Vegas, Disney that we’ve always had this amazing ability to walk the fine line between exploiting our culture and keeping it fo‘ true.  

 Make no mistake, this tax is going to affect all the people of this city, not just the self-ascribed “stakeholders”.  An increase in taxes on parking is going to put a burden on the folks who have to commute downtown to run the stakeholders‘ businesses.  An increase in restaurant prices is going to make folks think twice about going to the “Zone” to enjoy a meal in their own city.  I doubt folks in Gentilly and Lakeview paying for new shocks, struts and tires due to the damage caused by the gargantuan holes in their streets are going to feel like traveling to the “Zone”, pay an extra tax to park and eat, then watch already useable dowtown streets get repaved.

In the past few years we’ve seen red light cameras, we’ve seen speeding cameras, and most recently we’ve seen booting for a single overdue parking ticket.  Have you been down to the “Zone” recently?  There is a booted car on almost every block.  Those cars do not belong to tourists, they belong to New Orleans‘ citizens trying to make a living in this city.  

How much more can we own citizens before we cross the line and destroy what truly makes this city special?  (Answering my own question) When the price of admission for local folks to get into the “Zone” is too high, you will most certainly destroy what makes this city special.   

If the “stakeholders” behind this bill did not know how to “bring the public to the table” before they pushed this bill into the legislature announcing it at the eleventh hour....perhaps they have no business dealing with New Orleans’ citizens or their money.  If you scratch the surface of this bill it begins to look like a classic power grab to wrest control of the city's most valuable assets from the citizens who live in these areas.  There has always been a push to "disnefy" the Quarter and the only thing that has kept the balance of authenticity and the integrity of the residential neighborhood in the Quarter in tact is the homeowners and preservationists who fight to maintain a decent standard of living.  That dynamic is what makes the Quarter unique.  This bill appears to be an end-around those pesky preservationists and neighborhood associations who stand in the way of turning the quarter into a full scale timeshare, condo-driven amusement park.

I’m not opposed to taxing districts in general and I think we should look at ways to garner funding to better our city’s crumbling infrastructure but what I am opposed to is the way this was done.  I am sick of the blatant disregard, even contempt, for the public by public officials dealing with public monies.  For that reason alone, I hope this thing is shot down before it gets out of committee.  Maybe that will send a message to industry officials that we are all “stakeholders” in the business of our city’s tourism.

The bottom line is there is no possible way to publicly vet all the issues this bill will potentially create in the short amount of time there is to bring it to the legislature floor.  Make no mistake, this was by design.  Don't know about you but that really pisses me off.  I am hoping it backfires on them and the next time they won't be so arrogant.

I don’t think the authors of these bills fully understood their consequences when they threw their support behind them.  At least I don’t think Sen. Murray and Sen. Morrell did.  Apparently Rep. Leger is all on board; I’m not sure what’s going through Rep. Moreno’s head.  I would encourage you to contact all of them and let them know how you feel, even if you disagree with me.

Senator Ed Murray -

Senator J.P. Morrell -

Rep. Helena Moreno -

Rep. Walt Leger -

 UPDATE:  I failed to mention that the Yellow Blog had already broached this issue and sounded the warning bell.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"I see you Jake Sulley"

Oil from Deepwater Horizon still causing damage in gulf 2 years later, scientists find

Maybe we can get James Cameron to make the next Avatar series in the Gulf.  We can market to tourists and tell them, "We can make you into a Na'vi".

Thursday, April 12, 2012

very. stupid. move.

Mitch Landrieu to endorse Cynthia Willard-Lewis in City Council race

Because this city needs to go backwards?  This stinks as bad as the Gentilly landfill.

And BTW:

Landrieu is expected to appear with Willard-Lewis at an afternoon, get-out-the-vote event the candidate is staging at the New Orleans Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue.

Isn't the New Orleans Healing Center a non-profit?  Is it even legal for them to be hosting a campaign event?  

Sunday, April 08, 2012

When in nothing.

...just don't move...sit and watch.

Maybe the best political strategy in the book.

Unfortunately, so few listen.

Landrieu Backs Scandal-Plagued Potential Sucessor in Council Race?

I guess we'll find out how that strategy works soon enough.

paz y amor, bro's.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Just extend the rope

When I worked at the Smithsonian, way back in the mid-90's, I was lucky enough to attend a multi-week workshop for documentary filmmakers.  One of the speakers was a producer from Kartemquin Films in Chicago, the production house behind Hoop Dreams.

I'll never forget this guy's presentation.  He showed us a clip from the 1962 documentary, Lonely Boy, that profiled recording superstar Paul Anka.  There was a moment where the filmmakers were interviewing Anka's publicist and the the publicist was going over the top in his zeal to promote his client.

His publicist was claiming that Anka was the greatest composer of all time, better than Mozart, etc.

While the publicist was raving, the filmmakers  laid in B-roll shots of Anka writing songs before a performance under the publicist's words and the whole moment basically made Anka look like a douchbag.

The Kartemquin guy stopped the film and said, "Never do that.  Never, ever do that.  This is cheap and unethical.  Anka would never have said those things about himself and those words hung him based on the publicist's comments."

Fuckin' eh.

He went on to say, if you're going to hang someone the best and only way to do it is to simply extend them enough rope and they will most likely hang themselves if they are guilty of the charges.

He said it may take time but it is almost inevitable that the person will self destruct, your job is just to tell the truth.

I have found those words to be as right as rain.

Case in point.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

...and it continues to mount

Sea Foam Contains PAH's Almost Two Years After Oil Spill

How many MSM resources do you think will report this?  TP? WWL?  Fox8?  WDSU?

I know people from all these entities read this blog....I challenge any one of you to report this story.  The evidence is there, the data is valid.  Do your jobs, I dare you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

This is now war...

Let's get something straight.  These insanely racist, prejudiced, hateful bills being pushed through the Louisiana state legislature are coming from one place.....the Louisiana Family Forum and its president, Gene Mills.

DuBos: Pro-segregation bill is wrong for state


I've been trying to sound the alarm on these assholes for years but no one seems to care besides Lamar and Zack Kopplin.  Lamar has already pointed out that this entity which enjoys non-profit status is diverting money and resources from their organization to lobby state legislators.  In fact, I have been told by more than one state legislator that Mills, Richey and the LFF are considered to be one of the most powerful lobbying entities in the state, resorting to strong arm tactics and threats in order to push their hateful agenda into law.

A.G. Crowe is nothing more than Mills' puppet bitch...the same puppet bitch who introduced the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA).

Clancy is exactly right to call out both Mills and Jindal....this bill is so preposterous it's going to put Jindal's balls in a vice.  If he is stupid enough to get behind Mills on this...and man I hope he's not only going to draw international attention to the state, it will effectively destroy his political career.  And I got news for him, silence is not an option either.   If he doesn't vocalize his condemnation for this bill and the LFF, he is going to look like the biggest douchebag in the national political arena....don't think for one second this bill is not going to draw national attention to our fucksnu'd state.

Thanks A.G.!!!  Dance on little on to the organ grinder's tune.

As for the organ grinder himself, his arrogance and hatred apparently knows no bounds.  I've been banging the drum on this asshole for's time to quit drumming and start marching.  I'm going after these bastards.  If they're going to start attacking children with their hate, it's time to go to war.