Then there was East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, who introduced the first real note of public discord into the mix.
Holden wasn't happy that East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux sought to impose a curfew after reports of looting started cropping up — or, apparently, that Gautreaux asked the governor to issue an executive order when Holden declined to impose one.
Ok, so? Kip is the mayor. He isn't required to impose a curfew if he doesn't think it's the right thing to do. Curfews may have fallen into the default package of emergency response tools recent years but this doesn't make them defensible. A curfew is a constitutionally questionable and ham handed way of dealing with free people. Kip is perfectly within his right to question this course of action. In fact it's worth considering that, as the people's representative, he's obligated to do so.
But, oh noes, says Grace. He's introducing "discord." So what? Disagreement exists. Kip has a valid concern. He is completely correct to give his legitimate concern a voice. It is disturbing enough that political and law enforcement authorities continually seek to squash dissent at crucial moments like this. That we have a press who enable this tendency is obscene.
So Holden called the city's media outlets and airing his grievances. He said the restrictions could impose a hardship on businesses and their employees, but also told WAFB that he had "no issue whatsoever" with the curfew itself, "just the way all of this has been handled." He added that he didn't "want to get into a back and forth about the sheriff and myself," which kind of makes you wonder what he wanted the audience to take away from the interview in the first place.That bolded line. Seriously, what the hell? Always second-guess "law enforcement leaders." To do otherwise is dereliction. That we fail to question is exactly how an automatic curfew becomes an "in-the-box policy" in the first place.
You've also got to wonder about the wisdom of second-guessing law enforcement leaders — or seeming to, anyway — who are pursuing what seem like perfectly in-the-box policies at times like this. That goes double for law enforcement in the East Baton Rouge Parish, where many deputies who've been out rescuing people, and who were already coping with a summer of stress, have seen their own homes flooded.