Sunday, April 12, 2015


Certainly some of us are old enough to remember Bobby Jindal's 2007 campaign for Governor. It wasn't that long ago, although it may seem that way.  More than anything else he proposed to do, he promised to cram us all more full of ethics than a clown car is full of clowns.

You would have been perfectly reasonable to assume that an ethicsy administration would endeavor to be diligently responsive to records requests. On the other hand, how could you be so stupid?  This is from a letter from Lamar to Jindal's  lawyer Thomas Enright. I think you can get what's going on here from this bit.
In Louisiana, a citizen’s right to access public records is considered fundamental, and the burden is on the government to provide a legal basis for each and every record denied. Unfortunately, your office has elected to prevent the disclosure of even a single record.

Gov. Jindal recently requested the full disclosure of all e-mails maintained by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, presumably under the belief that those e-mails would enhance accountability and transparency and better inform the public.

Gov. Jindal’s unwillingness to disclose even a single e-mail, under the pretense of deliberative process, stifles the fundamental rights of Louisiana citizens and starkly contradicts the law and his own repeated pledge to implement a “gold standard” of ethics reform.
So that's cute.  The Advocate's request was also denied too.  Here's what they were told.

Another reason Jindal doesn't rely on email very much is he tends to send most of his communications through a 12 year old intern who writes his regular news opinion columns for him.

Meanwhile, Marlin Gusman is under considerably less of a pressing obligation to maintain open records.  Rather than the serious commitment of a political commercial full of clowns to answer to, he only has a federal legal proceeding.
Attorneys with the U.S. Justice Department and the MacArthur Justice Center asked a federal judge this week to order Sheriff Marlin Gusman to turn over a stack of some 1,200 reports documenting an array of potentially problematic incidents at Orleans Parish Prison.

The attorneys claim Gusman’s refusal to release the records violates a court-ordered plan to reform the jail, an agreement that calls for the Justice Department and inmate advocates to have unfettered access to the jail and relevant documents. They say they can’t evaluate Gusman’s progress and compliance with the reform plan, known as a consent decree, without being able to review the incident reports.
 Don't expect Gusman to be too quick to comply with this request.  He can't even pay his own employees.
A former sheriff’s deputy has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman failed for years to pay him and other hourly employees for all the hours they worked, in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

The suit was filed by former sheriff’s deputy Donald Marshall, who left the office last year. Marshall is seeking class-action status for the suit, applying to all current and former deputies for the past three years.
It's probably this kind of reliable attention to records keeping, transparency, and all around good government that convinced the wise professional analysts at the  Bureau of Governmental Research  to recommend that voters pass Gusman's millage request on the May ballot. Those guys certainly know a steward of propriety and transparency when they see one. Thank god they're around to tell us what to do.

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