Archive for August, 2013

More on Lafayette DA Race – 8/27/13

08/31/2013

Keith Stutes taking on Harson

TUE, AUG 27 12:56PM by Leslie Turk

Keith Stutes, the respected former assistant district attorney who retired last year and confirmed his decision to leave was in part related to the federal bribery probe of the DA’s office, is taking on his old boss next year.
stutes

Stutes’ goal is to restore confidence in the position. In an Aug. 23 letter about an upcoming fundraiser, he indicates he will turn the dysfunctional office around and ensure justice is administered in a fair and impartial manner. The candidate, a longtime amateur sports photographer, plans to release this video at Friday and Saturday’s high school Jamboree at Cajun Field. Stutes will make his candidacy official Sept. 5, although he has not confirmed where the announcement will take place. He has already set up a website.

Thompson Trial Coverage

08/30/2013

As our readers may know, we’ve been subpoenaed in the case State v Thompson. In accordance with LA CE 615(A), we have been “sequestered,” and are prohibited from discussing the case.

However, coverage of events can be found at these news sites:

The (Monroe, LA) News Star
Cole Avery – Twitter
KTVE-TV10
KNOE-TV8

As soon as our testimony is complete, we will resume coverage of the trial.

Port Allen, LA Update – 8/29/13

08/29/2013

Organizers get closer to Mayor Slaughter recall election

By Terry L. Jones
tjones@theadvocate.com

Port Allen — Organizers behind the effort to oust Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter told city officials Wednesday they have collected enough signatures to request a recall election.

Stacy Ryan, West Baton Rouge Parish’s registrar of voters, said the chairmen of the recall committee hand-delivered a letter to her at 8:09 a.m. Wednesday notifying her of the group’s intent to seek the recall election.

After the group submits the petitions to her Tuesday, Ryan said, she will have 15 days to certify the signatures before the petitions are sent to the Governor’s Office.

The Governor’s Office will have 15 days to decide whether to set an election to recall the mayor, she added.

Ryan said the recall petition is a first for West Baton Rouge Parish.

The group had until Dec. 4 to gather approximately 1,270 signatures — at least one-third of the city’s qualified voters at the time the petition was filed with the state Secretary of State’s Office on June 7.

John Michael Lockhart, a Port Allen resident and recall organizer, said Wednesday the group has collected more than 1,400 signatures.

“Friday was the final straw for a lot of people,” Lockhart said.

On Tuesday, New Orleans pastor and civil rights activist Rev. Raymond Brown joined two dozen of Slaughter’s supporters outside of City Hall threatening to boycott local businesses if Slaughter wasn’t shown more respect from certain members of the City Council.

Monroe Mayor Mayo Absent Last Night

08/28/2013

The time-tested theorem of absence was again proved last night – that is the LACK of information or ABSENCE of someone is often more significant than what information IS included or who IS in attendance at a gathering.

Monroe’s controversial Mayor Jamie Mayo was not at the meeting of the Monroe City Council. Instead, Director of Administration David Barnes sat in for Mayo.

And that absence contributed to a different tone at last night’s meeting. The council was much more assertive and “in charge,” since they didn’t have to deal with Mayo’s bluster.

First up was a report on the heretofore secretive Interstate 20 Economic Development District Corporation, by Secretary-Treasurer Charles Pritchard. Among the reports Pritchard gave to the council:

2012 meetings summary and ongoing/future projects
List of businesses in the district
Historical tax revenues
Total expenses by project
Debt service
Fund balances

Pritchard noted that the board had been “negligent” in providing reports to the council, but they would attempt to catch up with their duties.

During questions, District 3’s Betty Blakes asked about monies dedicated to projects that included the Monroe Airport terminal, but were “subject to the Attorney General’s approval.” Blakes asked if that approval had ever been received.

City Attorney Nanci Summersgill couldn’t directly answer the question, as there was a tremendous legal file with “tons of documents.” Blakes said she would make an appointment to review the files.

The council rejected a proposal for generators for the airport, as there was only one received. The request for proposals (RFQ) will be re-advertised.

District 1’s Ray Armstrong noted that the administration did not do due diligence in soliciting the proposals, and that proper procedure was not followed.

Said Armstrong, “It is the city’s responsibility to notify them (vendors and contractors) in the change in the official journal.” He added that the state’s bid law said, “To encourage competition, specs and bid forms should be mailed to all known area vendors of the commodities sought, or all contractors in the area.”

Quite a bit of the meeting was taken up on a condemnation recommendation by Code Enforcement on a building owned by the Martin Temple Christian Church.

The council voted to not condemn the property, but Council Chair Eddie Clark (District 5) strongly encouraged the owners to rehabilitate the property, as this was the second time they had addressed that particular property.

Clark said that Code Enforcement could bring the issue back up in 60 days, and that the council likely would okay their recommendation if that happened.

Finally, the council presented a joint resolution to long-time Monroe Housing Authority member Ed Miller, who had served on the board since 1985.

Jonesboro City Council Tonight

08/28/2013

The Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen will hold a special called meeting tonight (8/28), 6:00 PM, W. Richard Zuber City Hall, 128 Allen Avenue.

See here the agenda.

Homer, LA Update – 8/27/13

08/28/2013

Homer, LA Guardian-Journal – 8/22/13
Deadline for mayor’s recall here

The petitions to recall Homer Mayor Alecia Smith have now been turned in.

Recall petition chairman Willie “Hoghead” Curry said the goal of this recall was not to create division in the community. “Friday, we submitted approximately 800 names in the recall regarding the mayor,” Curry said.

In order for the recall issue to be put before voters, at least 660 signatures must be certified by the governor.

The Shreveport Times – 8/26/13
Homer police officer alleges corruption, improper tasing

HOMER — A Homer police officer says he is being punished for disclosing corruption within the Police Department connected to an FBI investigation into alleged civil rights violations, particularly the alleged improper use of Tasers by other police officers.

Port Allen, LA Update – 8/27/13

08/28/2013

Activist urges Port Allen to reject drive to recall mayor

By Terry L. Jones
tjones@theadvocate.com

PORT ALLEN — A New Orleans pastor on Tuesday called the petition to recall Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter a hoax and urged residents to reject the drive by picketing local businesses until City Council members give the mayor the respect she deserves.

“The legislative branch is trying to run the executive branch in this town,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a civil rights activist with National Action Now, said Tuesday afternoon outside of Port Allen City Hall. “It’s a gross misconduct of justice. You have to respect the mayor and her authority. If not, we’ll come into town and start marching and demonstrating and picketing businesses in this area.”

Brown made his comments after Tuesday’s special meeting of the City Council, which followed by one day an announcement that Councilmen Garry Hubble and Hugh “Hootie” Riviere were signing the petition to recall Slaughter, citing two longtime city employees who abruptly quit their jobs on Friday.

Hubble and Riviere said five city employees had resigned within the past few weeks because Slaughter had created a hostile work environment.

Port Allen, LA Update – 8/26/13

08/27/2013

2 Port Allen councilmen seek recall of mayor Slaughter

By Terry L. Jones
tjones@theadvocate.com

PORT ALLEN — Two Port Allen city councilmen said Monday they are joining the recall effort to have Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter removed from office, claiming she has created such a hostile work environment that five employees chose to quit their jobs recently.

Councilman Garry Hubble said he signed the recall petition over the weekend after finding out Melita Rasberry and Robin Ackerman, two administrative coordinators, told the mayor on Friday they were quitting, effective immediately.

Councilman Hugh “Hootie” Riviere said Monday he intends to sign the recall petition on Tuesday.

Slaughter confirmed, via email, that Terecita Pattan, an administrative coordinator, and two utility clerks, Kaci Daigle and Kathy Pierson, also recently resigned from the city.

The mayor said she is reviewing all of the administrative jobs in the city and hopes to combine the duties of several positions before she attempts to fill any remaining vacancies.

But it was revealed during a council committee meeting on Aug. 7 that Slaughter has already filled the utility clerk vacancies.

Hubble and Riviere criticized the mayor’s actions because they said she sidestepped council approval to make the appointments.

Slaughter has been the target of a recall since June 7.

The recall group needs the signatures of at least one-third — or 1,273 — of the city’s qualified voters at the time the petition was filed in order to get the Governor’s Office to issue a proclamation ordering an election be held for the purpose of recalling Slaughter.

The group has until Dec. 4 to submit the signed petition to the parish’s Registrar of Voters Office.

Was Mayo on Vacation Yesterday?

08/27/2013

Controversial Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo yesterday was campaigning in Alexandria, LA, speaking at a Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce forum for candidates running for the U. S. Congress from the Fifth Congressional District.

From KALB-TV5 in Alexandria yesterday:

“We’re having a forum, this is our opportunity to at least talk about some issues in the 5th congressional race, and also talk about what my strengths are and I’m sure other candidates will do the same.” Said Jamie Mayo, mayor of Monroe.

Presumably, he took vacation time to travel to and from Alexandria.

From KTVE-TV10 last week:

Mayor Mayo says he will continue his duties as mayor during the run. He says he’ll campaign in the evenings and weekends and also use vacation time.

Lafayette DA Update – 8/26/13

08/26/2013

Former ADA Stutes to run against Harson

By Richard Burgess
rburgess@theadvocate.com

LAFAYETTE — Retired prosecutor Keith Stutes, who left the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office last year after 28 years, is gearing up for a run against his old boss Mike Harson in next year’s election for district attorney.

He has already launched a campaign website — http://www.keithstutes.com — and has scheduled a Nov. 6 fundraiser.

He retired in September 2012 in the wake of a federal investigation of bribes paid to employees in the district attorney’s office for favorable treatment in DWI cases.

Since Stutes’ retirement last year, the ongoing federal bribery investigation has brought guilty pleas from five people.

Three of those people worked in the district attorney’s office, including Harson’s longtime secretary, Barna D. Haynes. She admitted accepting a total of $55,000 in bribes over four years to help set up special plea deals for criminal defendants.

Stutes wrote in his campaign letter that he believes $500,000 or more in campaign money is needed for the race.

It is unclear how actively Harson has been fundraising this year, but the incumbent ended 2012 with $63,151 in campaign funds, according to state campaign finance records.

The election for 15th Judicial District Attorney is scheduled for Nov. 4, 2014. The position oversees the district attorney’s offices in Lafayette, Vermilion and Acadia parishes.