Did former ATC Director Troy Hebert coax New Orleans club owners into financially backing Scott Angelle? That is what a source for Louisiana Voice is alleging. Hebert is already accused of sextorting - extorting sex - a club owner in exchange for smoothing over licensing issues. There are some interesting numbers to support this claim, but nothing - as of yet - that ties Angelle to the shakedown. The source alleges Hebert had meetings where he prodded owners to fund Angelle - perhaps in hopes of keeping his job. The 12 clubs in question did not give money to other campaigns but racked up $40,000 in donations to Angelle. Also, during an investigation of strip clubs - Operation Trick or Treat - out of the 18 investigated, 17 did not contribute to the campaign. Another strip club, Rick's Cabaret, is located close to nine clubs that received suspensions in New Orleans. Rick's was not investigated, as the source says the owners are friends with Hebert. The timing is not great as Angelle is still talked about as the guy to win David Vitter's Senate seat - if Angelle runs. But, JBE winning the governorship wasn't hindered by Trooper Gate. (Of course, JBE was running against Vitter, so ...) Whether or not this hurts Angelle, it makes Hebert look like the dumbest guy to hold a state job. And that is saying something. Oh yeah, this just in ... he's running for Vitter's seat!
Jim Brown may be a grumpy old man, but unlike his compatriots, he has experience and some possible solutions to what he is griping about. In his latest blog, Brown says we don't need the taxes John Bel Edwards is proposing. Instead, he offers places to cut spending. Legit cuts that can be made - not to services or higher education. Not bad, Pops!
Thanks to some legal mumbo jumbo and this-ing and that-ing, the state Supreme Court overturned an amendment that barred felons from running for office. So, John Bel Edwards, looks like you might be facing The Real Edwards in 2019. Whatcha gonna do, brother, when the Crook runs wild on you?
When John Bel Edwards spoke to the American Correctional Association’s Winter Conference, he expressed his desire to take Louisiana off the top of the list for incarceration rates. Not only did he stress how our standing does not make us any safer - look at the crimes still being committed in Louisiana - there are certain fix-the-budget undertones to what is being reported here. After all, we do spend $350 million keeping criminals on lock down. The only thing missing from this piece is how he plans on un-incarcerating our state. Eliminating mandatory sentencing? Removing jail time for certain petty crimes? Decriminalizing drugs? Making it legal to gargle in public? Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
One part of the budget that will not be cut is the fight to stop Planned Parenthood in Louisiana. This week, John Bel Edwards and new Attorney General Jeff Landry agreed that Landry's office would determine whether or not pursuing the appeal process to block Planned Parenthood would fall under the purview of the AG's office. Bobby Jindal's administration fought the ruling that said the state could not block Planned Parenthood. This was done through the Department of Health and Hospitals via private lawyer contracts to the tune of $750,000. Landry also says he will continue the appeal process. While it is a win for no one at this point, hopefully it will mean less money spent on outside firms handling the case. But this just in - we are still broke.