Archive for September, 2012

Ruston City Council to Consider New Living Word School


Monday night’s (5:30 PM, 10/1/12, Ruston City Hall, 2nd floor) meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be another opportunity for the citizens to be heard on the New Living Word School conditional use permit. The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission granted approval two weeks ago, but Ruston’s aldermen must ratify that decision.

The charter school, located on West Barnett Springs, has been the subject of considerable controversy over the past several months.

See here the application and memo.

Here’s the agenda for the rest of the meeting.

Other P & Z issues include substandard structures.

See here the memo.


Higher Ed Roundup – 9/30/12


LSU leaders voice consolidation concerns

OPPJ Monday, 5:30 PM


The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday, October 1, 5:30 PM, Ouachita parish court house, 301 South Grand, 2nd floor.

Here is the agenda.

Immediately after the regular meeting, the Finance Committee (a committee of the whole) will meet in the jury conference room, which is adjacent to the courtroom where the jury normally meets. Several budget items are to be discussed.

See here the agenda.

Maginnis: Vitter for La Gov in 2015?


John Maginnis – 9/28/12, La Tech University, Ruston, LA

Could U. S. Senator David Vitter be THE candidate to succeed Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana in the 2015 election? So suggested long-time Louisiana political writer and author John Maginnis this morning during a 45-minute talk at Louisiana Tech University’s (LTU) Wyly Tower Auditorium in Ruston.

Said Maginnis, “The one guy who might like to come after him (Gov Jindal) is David Vitter.” Noted Maginnis, “I have to give it to Vitter – he’s a resilient politician. He came back from his affair with a prostitute and ran in 2010 and won easily.”

Added Maginnis, “He’s a real deal conservative.”

Maginnis was today’s featured speaker for “Louisiana @ 200: A Bicentennial Lecture Series” and his presentation was titled “Our Heroes Have Always Been Governors: What Makes Louisiana Politics Different.” The series is sponsored by the Louisiana Tech College of Liberal Arts, the department of history, the department of social sciences, the School of Literature and Language, the department of journalism, and Phi Alpha Theta and Phi Alpha Delta national honor societies.

A crowd of nearly 150 were at the event.

Two Democrat names mentioned by Maginnis as potential gubernatorial candidates were District 72 State Representative John Bel Edwards, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Maginnis opined that for Vitter to win, he would need to have as an opponent a strong Democrat, because if he were in a runoff with a moderate Republican, the state’s democrat vote would likely go for the moderate.

As for Jindal’s future, Maginnis said that likely he will finish out his term as governor, and he didn’t think Jindal would be a cabinet officer in a Mitt Romney GOP administration.

Said Maginnis, “I can’t see Jindal taking a job in the Romney cabinet – it’s just not, I don’t think its in his DNA to go to work for someone else again.”

Nor did Maginnis think Jindal would run against Louisiana’s other U. S. Senator, Mary Landrieu, 2014. He might take a look at the 2016 presidential race, depending upon how this year’s election turns out, Maginnis opined.

Asked about a name that has been prominently mentioned as a potential statewide Democrat candidate for office – Jim Bernhard, son-in-law of retiring Tech President Dan Reneau – Maginnis opined that he was “the Magical Democrat” with a business background that could appeal to the common man.

Said Maginnis, “He’d be a great candidate ‘on paper’ for Democrats. But like a lot of guys who are good candidates on paper, you’ve got to see what they would be like out in the field.”

Maginnis currently publishes “Louisiana Political Fax Weekly,” operates the website, and authors a weekly column syndicated in several newspapers around the state.

Iberia DA Update


DA’s conflict of interest case under examination

NEW ORLEANS — A disciplinary board is examining whether a district attorney in Louisiana should be punished for representing a woman in his private practice after charges were brought against her in a boating accident — an alleged conflict of interest.

On Thursday, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board heard a case that has dogged J. Phil Haney, the district attorney for Iberia, St. Mary and St. Martin parishes.

In Louisiana, many parishes allow their district attorneys and assistant district attorneys to run a private law practice and prosecute cases on the public’s behalf, just as Haney did.

In September 2011, Haney was accused by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, a body that investigates misconduct by lawyers, of violating rules of professional conduct.

The board did not make a ruling Thursday. The state high court will have the final say. Lawyers facing disciplinary charges can be slapped with a public reprimand, probation and suspension. They also can be disbarred for serious violations.

At the hearing, G. Fred Ours, a deputy with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, said Haney should have stopped representing Stephanie Provost after he found out that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had filed charges.

Higher Ed Roundup – 7/28/12


Regents OK new degree programs – Higher ed chief evaluated in closed session

Retired JPSB Biz Mgr Now Jonesboro Town Clerk


Gloria Moore, retired Business Manager for the Jackson Parish School Board (JPSB) was this afternoon approved for hire as the the Town of Jonesboro’s clerk, subject to the approval of town Fiscal Administrator Bill Ryder.

The town’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson recommended Moore, and the Board of Aldermen concurred on a 3-1-1 vote for Moore, who was at the meeting.

Voting for:

LaStevic Cottonham – Alderman-at-Large
Charla Melton – District C
Devin Flowers – District D

Voting no:

Renee’ Stringer – District B


Sam Lamkin – District A

There was a bit of discussion about the hire, however. Lamkin questioned why other applicants for the job weren’t given a chance to come to the meeting and make their case before a decision was made by the mayor.

Said Lamkin, “I just think if one applicant is here, then the others should be here.”

Stringer said she was concerned that the applications and resumes were not available for review by the board members prior to the meeting.

Said Stringer to Moore, “I didn’t receive your information. I’ve not had time to review your resume or anything relative to your appointment, or your recommendation by the mayor.”

Thompson replied that Moore was his recommendation, and that all the board had authority to do was accept or reject his choice for the job.

Earlier in the meeting, two sets of minutes from 1 1/2 years ago were amended. It seems the documents did not accurately record the votes when the board hired contract attorneys to represent both the town and the individuals in the matter of Essmeier v Jonesboro. Audio of the meetings were played back before the council voted 4-1 to make the changes.

Stringer voted no, saying she wanted input from the town’s legal adviser on whether you could actually amend minutes that had been previously approved.

See here the original minutes as approved:


Audio recordings of the meetings can be found here:

The Truth @ Jonesboro

Letter to the Editor


To the residents of the Town of Jonesboro:

Your Fire Insurance has already increased due to the fact that your Fire Rating was upgraded from a 3 to a 4. This increase was under the current Administration, but Mr. Treadway was not Fire Chief at the time and this was also done while the current tax was in place and being collected. Please contact PIAL ( Property Insurance Association of Louisiana) at 504-836-7980 to confirm and then please contact your current insurance provider and confirm this information with them.

The Fire Department was given a budget increase in the most recent Fiscal Budget that was adopted while the Police Department was decimated, this also was done under the current taxing period. Please see the attached Budget adopted by the Town of Jonesboro Council. Please look at Salaries in the budget, this again is done while the current tax is effective. The voting was as follows: Cottonham, Mason, Flowers-for, Stringer Nay, Lamkin-Abstained.

Please read the budget provided and know that I questioned the CFO in the prior Budget meeting when only a minute portion of the revenue generated from the current dedicated tax was allocated to street repair and maintenance. I also brought to the attention of the representative of the Legislative Auditor’s office.

I do agree with Mr. Lamkin on one issue, the current crisis and issues did start during the Previous Administration and that is also the current Administration. I also agree that I served on the former Council, but I and my colleagues worked very diligently to serve Jonesboro to the best of our abilities, we submitted the information that was provided to us to Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney Johnathon Stewart, the Legislative Auditor Mr. Purpera, the Attorney General James D. Caldwell, State Representative Jim Fannin, Senator Robert Kostelka, the FBI, and FEMA. WE were all in agreement as records of signed requests for help were provided to the above individuals and Governmental Agencies. We worked TOGETHER for a common goal, to try to make Jonesboro a better place to live, to raise a family and most of all a place to be proud to call home.

Please know there have been increases in other areas, mainly in Salaries, while your infrastructure is decaying at alarming rates. I would rather have a functional Sewerage Lift Station for 45% of the Raw Sewerage of the Town of Jonesboro ahead of repairing a Rodeo Arena and I don’t apologize for trying to get the funding for the Lift Station instead of the Rodeo Arena.

We have not had an Audit in 4 Years, until someone can provide the evidence that your TAXES are being UTILIZED for their intended purpose,not personal gain,I will not support the renewal of the current tax. Look at what you have now WITH the CURRENT TAX and figure out what you will lose if you don’t renew the tax. Your fire insurance has already increased, with the CURRENT TAX and YOUR STREETS are crumbling before your eyes, WITH THE CURRENT TAX. If you should need additional information, please contact me. You can reach me at 318-259-6281.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers,
Your Servant,
Ms. Renee Stringer

2012-2013 General Fund Budget
2012-2013 Street Fund Budget
2012-2013 Fire Department Budget

Higher Ed Roundup – 9/27/12


Southern University new model for fund-cut schools

Letter: Regents have lost their way

Jonesboro Council Meeting Tomorrow


The Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen will meet at noon tomorrow (Thurs, 9/27) for a special called meeting at W. Richard Zuber City Hall, 128 Allen Avenue.

Here is the agenda.