06 July 2006

local government a mess

this was in yesterdays town talk but because google's blogger is becoming as crappy as a microsoft product we couldnt publish like we wanted to yesterday. anyway, we can always count on local gadfly mr george bennett of libuse to write in to the town talk with something interesting and forthright.


As a long-time observer of politics in Rapides Parish, it is a sad conclusion at which this Town Talk reader has arrived.

Beginning with the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office, even the most optimistic citizen must agree that the taxpayers of the parish were absolutely duped by the present sheriff's duplicity on the passage of the outrageous one-half-cent sales tax, which apparently will be on the books forever. Have you as a taxpayer in this parish ever been told what that tax raises each month or what it is used for? How about that $600,000 riot control truck? It is apparent that the sheriff's hand-chosen replacement will continue the same old "good ol' boy" style of law enforcement in the parish. Talk about a need for a recall petition on that sales tax and some new blood in the leadership.

Next, the Rapides Parish Police Jury. It is apparently that the jury is made up of the weakest individuals, most susceptible to payola and kickbacks, that have ever served on that totally unsupervised body of elected officials. Every other publication of our local newspapers reveal more shady deals and irresponsible action on the part of the police jury. They fail to have contractors live up to their contracts. They make decisions based on "the good ol' boy" and kinfolk relationships. They have no reasonable method of deciding which roads are repaired and which are allowed to endanger parish citizens. They fail to report the financial status of the parish to the taxpayers. Yet, they never fail to use taxpayer money to attend conventions in Las Vegas or Hawaii. Like there is a real and useful purpose for their attending -- ha!

Then we have the city of Alexandria. Talk about mismanagement. High city officials bidding for city contracts -- illiterate City Council members, egotistical, blowhards posing for the television cameras. Competent men being axed to satisfy majority council membership, being replaced with yes-people and kinfolk. Talk about the Alexandria Zoo -- it's not on Masonic Drive anymore. It's on television and as comical as it is, it's not funny. It's just pitiful.

When the fall elections come, the voters of Rapides Parish need to do some intense soul-searching before they pull the curtain of the voting booth. They need to decide who has been pulling the curtain down on good, honest, Christian leadership in our parish. There is nothing that crooked politicians fear more than voters who can think and decide for themselves the type of representation that they want and deserve. It is way past time for the people of Rapides Parish to do some serious housecleaning.

George A. Bennett Jr.

Originally published July 5, 2006
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