Monday, October 31, 2011

Bossier School Board considering consolidating Bossier, Benton & Airline

For the moment I am going to ignore the upcoming November 19th general election.  Don't worry, I'll be back to it tomorrow.
We have known that the Bossier Parish School Board would be coming up with a proposition by the end of the year.  Teacher pay is one thing that is being discussed, and I think people would approve teachers' raises.
More controversial, however, is talk about combining Bossier High School, Airline High School and Benton High School into a single school somewhere north of I-220.
As I understand it, some of the Bossier High kids would go to Parkway, but the rest, along with Airline and Benton students, would go to the new high school.
This may look great on paper, and may (or may not) be economically feasible. 
My personal opinion is that this one will be dead in the water if they do propose it.  Simply put, Airline folks and Benton folks will never go along with it. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween decorations coming up missing

If you live in Palmetto Park or any of the other subdivisions around the country club you may want to keep an eye out.  It may just be kids vandalizing, but there is no excuse for it. I received this letter today:
I live on Parkridge Drive in Benton, Louisiana and would like to let my neighbors know we have a thief in the neighborhood. I noticed the other morning that some of our Halloween decorations were stolen  out of our yard and then again this morning I noticed that the decorations that I have on our porch were also stolen. Please post this and see if anyone else in my neighborhood is having this problem and maybe we can catch this thief!!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Margaritaville on ballot for November 19th

Bossier City voters are being asked to vote yes or no on allowing the Margaritaville Resort Casino development to continue.
I'm pretty sure it will get a yes vote, and that's all right with me.
The upside is that this is a very strong brand and will bring new people in.  The downside is that people who are against gambling don't want another casino.
Gambling is already here.  If you don't like that, then start a move to get it outlawed.
Dealing with reality, since it is here let the marketplace work. 

A look at the Police Jury

Three incumbent Bossier Parish Police Jurors were defeated in Saturday’s primary election. Winfred Johnston, Barry Butler and Brad Cummings will not return to the jury. Incumbent Wanda Bennett is facing a runoff with Lucy Cooper.
Here is a rundown.
District 1
Incumbent Hank Meachum did not seek re-election. This one resulted in a runoff between Brotherton and Small.
District 2
Glenn Benton won re-election over challenger Mark Toloso.
District 3
Incumbent Wanda Bennett is facing a runoff against challenger Lucy Cooper.
District 4
Incumbent Winfred Johnston got only 12% of the vote. This one will be a runoff between Jerry Carter and Sonny Cook.
District 5
Jack ‘Bump’ Skaggs defeated incumbent Barry Butler.
District 6
Incumbent Rick Avery had no opposition.
District 7
Jimmy Cochran was unopposed.
District 8
Doug Rimmer defeated incumbent Brad Cummings.
District 9
Freddie Shewmake took 72% in a resounding win against Gary Binyon. Incumbent Juror and Parish Administrator Bill Altimus did not seek re-election.
District 10
Jerome Darby had no opposition.
District 11
Wayne Hammack was unopposed.
District 12
Paul Plummer was also unopposed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thoughts on the Election

Statewide, it was a good day for incumbents. No one doubted the outcome of the Governor’s race, and Bobby Jindal carried 65.82% of the vote.
Jay Dardenne had a sound win over Billy Nungesser, winning 53.13% of the vote to Nungesser’s 46.87%.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler had a closer encounter, winning 50.48% of the vote to Jim Tucker’s 49.52%. (Senator David Vitter had supported both Nungesser and Jim Tucker, in what some saw as a power move in the state Republican Party. He lost)
Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon were both back in with substantial leads.
In our Bossier Races, Julian Whittington was elected sheriff with 68% of the vote. Assessor Bobby Edmiston won 73% for a landslide victory.
When campaigns go negative, regardless of who you think started it, someone is going to pay. In yesterday’s elections, it was Duke Lowrie and Jane Smith who paid the price. In the Lowrie-Thompson race, the negativity came from both sides.
In the Peacock-Smith race for Senate District 37, most of the negativity came from Smith. This might have contributed to her carrying only 52% of the Bossier vote. Smith accused Peacock of being ‘soft’ on abortion, and when Peacock questioned her voting record she acted as if she was being personally attacked. This apparently didn’t set well with voters on either side of the river. I wasn’t surprised at Peacock’s win, but was slightly surprised at the margin – 55% to 45% district-wide.
Caddo Races
Not surprisingly, Sheriff Steve Prator won re-election with 78% of the vote. Assessor Charles Hennington beat back a challenge by Tea Party favorite Royal Alexander, winning 65% to 35%. I think voters in both parishes realize that they have voted for the taxes they pay, and that the assessor’s job is to properly assess property in the parish, not to attempt to lower taxes by lowering assessments.
Incumbent State Senator Sherri Smith Cheek won re-election handily over challenger Troy Terrell with 55% of the vote.
In Senate District 39, incumbent Lydia Jackson is headed into a runoff with Greg Tarver, who previously held the seat. Jackson got 9393 votes, Tarver 9015 while challenger Jim Slagle received 3,215 votes. It is hard to know which way the wind will blow in this one.
In the Representatives’ races, Alan Seabaugh won a whopping 80% of the vote to hold on to his District 5 seat. In District 7, Richie Burford won re-election with 68% over Cindy Williams.
In what I consider to be great news, 3rd District State Representative Barbara Norton will be in a runoff with Lynn Cawthorne in an effort to save her ass seat.

I will have a separate post on the Bossier Police Jury races, which were very interesting.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Squeaker in City Council Race

District 5 City Council Special Election
Larry Hanisee 1167 (50.09%)
Tommy Harvey 1163 (49.91%)

This one will go to a recount.

Wind up (most of) Election 2011

Congratulations to Julian Whittington, Bobby Edmiston, Jeff Thompson and Barrow Peacock for wins tonight.
We'll look at the Police Jury results and the runoffs tomorrow.
Best news of the night - Barbara Norton is forced into a runoff.
Numbers and more tomorrow.
Good Night!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The day before: wrap up on the election

Tomorrow is election day, and at this point everyone pretty well knows who they are voting for.
I haven't covered any statewide races, but the race for Lt. Governor between Jay Dardenne and Billy Nungesser has gotten pretty hot.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler is challenged by Jim Tucker. Bobby Jindal will be re-elected as governor.
The major races for Bossier residents are for Sheriff, Assessor, State Representative District 8 and Senate District 37.  Here are the candidates, with links to information they sent My Bossier about their candidacies.
Mike McConnell
Julian Whittington
Bobby Edmiston
Ryal Siem, Sr.
State Representative District 8
Duke Lowrie
Jeff Thompson
State Senate District 37
Barrow Peacock
Jane Smith

I'm not listing all of the candidates for Police Jury.
Links to the candidates who sent us information.
District 1:
Troy Ogletree
District 2:
Mark Toloso
District 3:
Martha Peace Reyenga
Lucy Cooper

These are my endorsements:
Julian Whittington for Sheriff
Bobby Edmiston for Assessor
Duke Lowrie for State Representative

Below are other blog posts about the candidates and the election.
Mike McConnell: Why I’m running for Sheriff
Election 2011: The Final Week
October races are shaping up
Candidate Profile: Mark Toloso
Duke Lowrie receives major endorsements from Business, Oil & Gas Groups
Lowrie sues Thompson for defamation, breach of Attorney-Client privilege
Lowrie Thompson race heats up
A friend’s perspective on Duke Lowrie

Videos that have been sent to My Bossier by the Candidates.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City Employees should receive raise

The Bossier City Council met yesterday and amended Mayor Lo Walker's proposed budget.  Among other things, they cut out a 2% raise for all non-classified city workers.  Civil Service employees get a mandated 2% raise yearly.
The workforce has been cut in the last year, and workers have handled those cuts without a decrease in service to the people of the city.  In my opinion, the employees deserve the increase.
Council President David Montgomery said that the city will pay an additional 10% on health insurance that the workers would otherwise have to pay themselves.  Mayor Walker said that he would prefer the council give the 2% raise and pick up the insurance cost.
The council also nixed plans to allow for hiring additional police and fire personnel to make up for anticipated openings in those departments.
Councilman David Jones was the only dissenting voice, saying that he believed that all city employees should get the 2% increase.  He also favored beginning the hiring process on an additional 8 police officers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lowrie-Thompson race heats up

Not surprisingly, the race between Duke Lowrie and Jeff Thompson has heated up - again.  This is Lowrie's latest flyer.
In response, an email was sent out today from Thompson's office to various lawyers in the area.
Dear Colleague:
As you may know, Jeff Thompson is a candidate for the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 08. The election is this Saturday, October 22nd. Getting people to the polls is going to be crucial, and is made more challenging by the LSU home game against Auburn that day.
Rather than address the issues, Jeff’s opponent has resorted to negative and false attacks. Lowrie has already spent more than $175,000 of his own money in this race and now recognizes the fact he must resort to false allegations and attacks to in an all-out effort to defeat Jeff at any cost. He has even filed a completely meritless lawsuit alleging that Jeff violated attorney/client privilege. This suit is a political stunt and is an abuse of the legal system. It is an example of frivolous litigation Lowrie claims to oppose.
The attacks Lowrie has resorted to also include a series of all out assaults on our profession. Attached are copies of the various direct mail pieces sent throughout the district. Please take a moment to read over them and see for yourself the ridiculous claims asserted. If you share my frustration at the implications and assault not only on Jeff, but on our profession, I ask that you please join me in this final week of the campaign and help.
How can you do that?

 Make a financial contribution to help offset the tens of thousands of dollars in media buys and efforts Lowrie is making as a final effort in continuing the vicious, unfounded attacks which are certain to come in the last days leading up to the election. You can do that by making a secure online donation right now by clicking (LINK). You can also write a check, which we will gladly come and pick up. Just call me at (318) 747-7466 and let me know and someone will be right over.

 Early voting has already ended, so if you live in Bossier or Benton, please be sure to vote this Saturday, October 22, and take your family and friends with you!

 Help us with volunteers. You, your family members, runners or office staff could be used to assist with the campaign in these final days. We have things to do all day every day, so no matter when someone wants to help, we can put them to work! We are particularly working for a large turnout of volunteers for this Friday and Saturday. No amount of time is too small and all efforts would be very much appreciated. Just let us know by reply email or telephone call when volunteers may be available.

Desperate candidates do desperate things, and this election cycle has seen some incredible instances of mudslinging, misrepresentations, unfounded attacks and outright lies. We cannot sit idly by and allow these meritless assaults to continue. The price of getting that message out to the voters is increasing and your assistance in defense of not only our friend and colleague, but of our profession, calls us all to action. Please act now (CONTRIBUTION LINK). Please also ask others to join us.
Thank you.

Election 2011: The Final Week

Two things are certain this Saturday evening - LSU will be 8-0 and the two most bitterly contested races in Bossier will be settled.
Because we all know that LSU will beat Auburn.
And we know that the race for House District 8 and Senate District 37 will both have a winner.
There have been fireworks in both of these races, really revving up a little over a week ago in District 8 when Jeff Thompson sent out his now infamous flyer "Duke Lowrie, a record of deceit", in which he said that Lowrie was suspended from BCFD for 'lying'. 
Lowrie promptly responded with a lawsuit for defamation and violation of attorney/client privilege.
In the Senate race, long time Rep. Jane Smith zeroed in on opponent Barrow Peacock, accusing him of being soft on social issues.
Peacock responded by attacking Smith on her Achilles heel, tax increases.
Look for more fireworks in both of these races this week.
Meanwhile, not every race has been so contentious.  In the race for Bossier City Council District 5, candidates Tommy Harvey and former Council Member Larry Hanisee have conducted a clean, straightforward campaign.  These are both good, qualified candidates, and District 5 will be the winner in the end.
The Assessor's race between incumbent Bobby Edmiston and challenger Ryal Siem has also been free of personal attacks.  I have endorsed Bobby in this race, but tip my hat to Ryal Siem for a race well run.
In the police jury races, Mark Toloso seems to be giving incumbent Glenn Benton a run for his money in District 2.
In District 3, Martha Peace Reyenga and Lucy Cooper are both campaigning hard for the seat held by Wanda Bennett.
Incumbent Winfred Johnston has 5 challengers in District 4.  It isn't hard to predict a runoff in this one, but I have no idea who the final 2 will be.
I'll keep my ear to the ground and pass on anything I hear.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Friend's perspective on Duke Lowrie

This is a guest blog by Mike Dooley, a retired fireman who worked with Duke Lowrie for a number of years.  Mike is very outspoken.
I can honestly say that Duke is the man to send to Baton Rouge. He is one of the most honest and hard working guys I know. He was one of the most educated firemen on the job and his work ethics showed it.
The deal that Jeff whats his name is stirring up is hog wash. Duke stood up to the establishment and won that fight because it was something he believed in.
He was the one that got the rules changed because it wasn't right. He will never back down from hard work or what is right.
I told him these attacks would come during his race, even though the whole thing is false. Jeff couldn't make a pimple on Dukes butt!! 
This burns me up that Jeff is being dishonest telling these lies on Duke. I know the truth and Jeff needs to get his facts straight!!!! Thats my take !!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update on Thompson lawsuit

Jeff Thompson told Channel 3 today that he never established an attorney/client privilege with Duke Lowrie.
He didn't mention the lying flyer.
I promised to put up copies of the documents filed in the Lowrie-Thompson lawsuit yesterday. Forward Now has posted the entire lawsuit and the exhibits here.
Rex at Conservative Drink has his take on the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, And So it Goes in Shreveport has endorsed Barrow Peacock for the District 37 Senate seat.

Comment Moderation

The first time I used comment moderation was during the city marshal's race back in March.  This is what I published then:
I am instituting comment moderation on the blog, this means that I will have to read and approve any comments that are left before they go up.
I am doing this because a lot of unnecessary comments, some bordering on slander, some silly and some just outrageous, have been left lately.
You will still be able to fully express your view, support your candidates, and discuss your agreement/disagreement with any candidate or their platform. What you won't be able to do is make accusatory remarks that can't be substantiated.
Let's see if it improves the level of our discussions.
Now I am forced to do it again, and I hope we don't have to keep it up until the election.  I detest doing this to my regular readers, who comment all the time and are accustomed to seeing their comments go up immediately.  It is necessary, however.  I'll turn it off from time to time over the next couple of days and see if we can get back to normal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lowrie sues Thompson for Defamation and Breach of Attorney-Client privilege

Attorneys for Duke Lowrie filed a lawsuit in Bossier District Court today against Jeff Thompson for damages for defamation and breach of attorney-client privilege.  Lowrie and Thompson are both running for the District 8 House seat left open by Jane Smith.
The lawsuit is in reponse to a flyer that Thompson sent out a few days ago saying that Lowrie was ‘suspended for lying’. In short, Lowrie faced disciplinary action for ‘padding’ his time sheet with two hours for continuing education training. At the time, hours were ‘rounded up’, not only by Lowrie, but by all employees. Lowrie was the only one called to task.
The petition goes on to say that Lowrie
  • "did in fact comply with the said rules of the Bossier City Fire Department Training Department. The said rules of the Bossier City Fire Department Training Department at the time of operation (2002) did, in fact, violate the Louisiana Bureau of EMS Education Policy. These rules did not comply with state or national standards in that they allowed for (1) rounding of the number of hours spent in training, and (2) duplication of video hours spent in training. Both of the policies resulted in EMT’S being credited with more training time than they may have actually acquired. These policies resulted in Plaintiff, Michael D Lowrie’s being inaccurately credited with two (2) hours of training."
As a result of this, the lawsuit contends that the campaign flyer sent out by Jeff Thompson made untrue and defamatory statements relative to Lowrie.
Here is the portion of the flyer that the lawsuit is referring to.

The lawsuit also says that:
  • "In 2003, Plaintiff, Michael D. Lowrie, went to Defendant, Jeff R. Thompson, an attorney and neighbor, for a second opinion as to what his rights and remedies may have been. In so doing, he established client/attorney confidentiality or privilege. This confidentiality/privilege was violated by Defendant, Jeff R. Thompson when he mailed out his said campaign flyer, wherein he wrongfully and maliciously accused the Plaintiff, Michael D. Lowrie, of lying."
I will get into a more detailed account of the events laid out in the case in the next day or so, and will provide a link to copies of backup documents filed as exhibits in the case.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Police Jury Races

I haven't spent a lot of time on the Police Jury races.  The following candidates have sent us information to publish:
District 1: Troy Ogletree
District 2: Mark Toloso
District 3:
Martha Peace Reyenga
Lucy Cooper

Marty Carlson has talked to the candidates in all of the contested races.  Here are links to her columns in the Bossier Press Tribune about the races:
Districts 1 & 2

If you are unsure what district you live in, here is a map of the districts.

On the Light Side

Go ahead and take 5 minutes and listen to it.  This is funny stuff.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Endorsement: Julian Whittington for Sheriff

My Bossier is endorsing Julian Whittington for Sheriff of Bossier Parish.
Julian grew up in Benton, has an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from BPCC and a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from Northeast Louisiana University (now UL Monroe).
Julian served Bossier City as a reserve officer for 4 years, from 1983-1987, then worked as a Detention Coordinator for Rutherford house before becoming a probation officer for the Caddo Parish Juvenile Probation Office.
In 1988 he started on patrol with the Bossier Sheriff’s Department and was P.O.S.T. certified in 1989.
In his years with the Sheriff’s Office, he has served as Supervisor for the Bossier City Substation, Supervisor/Manager of the Special Services Division, Public Information Officer, and Supervisor of the Tax and Civil Division.
He was one of the department’s first D.A.R.E officers, organizing the D.A.R.E Summer Camp at Barksdale.  He also trained other D.A.R.E. officers from around the country.  He was elected President of the Louisiana D.A.R.E. Officer’s Association.
In 2005 Julian attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, which involves intense physical training and law enforcement education.  On his return home he was promoted to Chief Criminal Deputy and served in that capacity for over 5 years, supervising and administering all of the departments in the office.  He also served as Inspector General, overseeing all legal issues.
He is also a Boy Scout Leader, has been active in 4-H all of his life, and belongs to the Bossier Noon Exchange Club, Bossier City Lions Club, and the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.
He has been married to his wife, Melissa, for 28 years and has two children.  Julian and Melissa are members of Cypress Baptist Church.
In considering the candidates and their experience, I considered several things.
First of all, the character of the candidates.  On this test, all three pass with flying colors.
Then experience in law enforcement.  The other candidates may have more patrol and detective experience, but with four years as a Bossier City reserve officer, two years on patrol and five years as Chief Criminal Deputy, Julian is well qualified in this area.
The policing that the sheriff does is somewhat unique, in that he offers direct policing and patrol to less than half of the population of the parish, but that is spread out over 843 square miles.  Of course, the sheriff always stands ready to assist the local police departments.
The Sheriff is also in charge of courthouse security.
You also have to consider that the sheriff is the executive officer of the Bossier Parish District Court system, and as such has to serve citations, summons, subpoenas, notices, and other process, and shall execute writs, mandates, orders, and judgments directed to him by the district courts, the courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court.
The Sheriff executes service on almost 20,000 papers per year.
Upon the execution of a writ of attachment, sequestration, fieri facias or seizure and sale under executory process, the sheriff is directed by the court to seize the subject property. And, in some cases, these seizures may lead to the public auction of the seized property.
The sheriff is also the ex-officio tax collector for the parish, and as such collects all property taxes and disburses them to the proper taxing authorities.
In addition to that, the Sheriff operates three prisons, and must have first hand knowledge of daily operations and of the laws governing that operation.
Julian Whittington is the only candidate who has experience not only in working in all of these departments, but in supervising them.  The new sheriff must not only have experience on the streets and roads enforcing the law (which Julian has), but must first and foremost be a good manager.
Julian Whittington is the clear choice for Sheriff of Bossier Parish.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Candidate Forum: Troy Ogletree for Police Jury District 1

My name is Troy Ogletree
I was born and raised in Bossier Parish.
I live in Elm Grove and am a graduate of Airline High School.
I have been married for 33 years to Barbara Ogletree and we have 2 daughters
and 4 grandchildren.
I am currently employed in management with New World International and have been very successful there for the last twenty years. My management and team building skills will make me an outstanding contributor on the Jury.
I would appreciate the opportunity to represent the voters in District 1
And to make a positive impact on the Bossier Parish Police Jury.

If you have any questions, please EMAIL me. 
Here is a link for a map of the districts.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Duke Lowrie receives major endorsements from Business, Oil & Gas Groups

NORTHPAC, one of the political action arms of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), has endorsed Duke Lowrie for District 8 Representative.
The PAC, which represents business interests across North Louisiana, also sent a $2,500 contribution to Lowrie’s campaign.
LOGPAC, the political action committee for the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, has also endorsed Lowrie. LOGPAC, in their endorsement letter, said that “the business climate is constantly changing and the oil & gas industry is a constant target for lawsuits, environmentalists and politicians looking to make a name for themselves and to bring down the industry. LOGPAC believes you have the ability and desire to stand up against those who wish to do harm and that you will provide support to our industry in your district, parish and state.” With the Haynesville Shale action, the oil and gas business is a major economic force in the area.
Bossier City Firefighters Association Local 1051 has also endorsed Lowrie, who himself is retired from the Bossier City Fire Department.
Both the LABI and the Oil & Gas Association endorsements are big deals. Apparently they looked at the field and decided to go with the person who is actually a businessman and not the lawyer who has tried hard to assume that mantle.
Copy of LOGPAC letter endorsing Lowrie
Copy of NORTHPAC letter endorsing Lowrie
Copy of Firefighters letter endorsing Lowrie

Candidate Forum: Mike McConnell for Sheriff Commercial

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Endorsement: Bobby Edmiston for Assessor

Tax Assessor.
Just the title itself stirs people up. In fact, of course, the people vote on all property taxes. Let that sink in – you voted for the taxes that you are paying.
The job of the assessor is to provide accurate property assessments so that the taxes you voted for can be properly collected.
The office of Assessor has operated well since Bobby’s election in 1998. There is now a Bossier City satellite office to assist taxpayers, and a user friendly website that is second to none.
The law calls for the assessor to fairly assess all property in the parish, providing updated assessments every four years. If anyone feels that their assessment is incorrect, they can appeal to the assessor. If that fails, they can appeal to the Louisiana Tax Commission.
As far as property taxes go, Louisiana has some of the lowest tax rates in the country. Sales taxes, on the other hand, are generally higher.
Bobby Edmiston has done a good job as Assessor. I believe that he should be re-elected.