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Government Nepotism at Taxpayers Expense

Question asked on November 23, 2005 8:45 AM :: :: Comments (0) :: TrackBacks (1)

In the special session that just ended, everyone seems to agree that the biggest failure was the adoption of a bill by Senator Walter Boasso that would have combined all of the regional levee boards into one. After amendments in the Senate that left the existing boards, mainly the Orleans Levee Board, in control of their current interests, minus the levee's, it passed the Senate by a vote of 37-0.

Unfortunately, once it reached the house, procedural moves by Rep. Ken Odinet prevented the bill from ever going into committee, effectively killing it.

This then begs the question, who is Ken Odinet representing? He claimed that he was afraid that levees in St. Bernard would be forgotten about while trying to protect the City of New Orleans. Did Mr. Odinet not see what happened during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita?

The levee break along the industrial canal flooded Arabi, which is his district and where he lives.

Since Mr. Odinet was interested in protecting the Lake Borgne Basin Levee Board, let's look at who is on that board. According to the state's web site, the board has three members: Stephen Ehrlicher (Meraux), George Lopez (Meraux), and Randolph Odinet (Arabi). I think you can draw your own conclusion from here.

Also consider the fact that Mr. Odinet could be considered a lame duck. Because of term limits he will not be able to run for this office again and unless he looks at running for a parish council seat, I would say that his political career is over.

Being that Mr. Odinet most likely will never face the voters again, it may be excusable, but I also think that Sen. Boasso failed in trying to get his bill passed. Although he had strong support from the business community throughout Louisiana, he failed to enlist the support of voters.

I don't think the general population ever heard a good strong argument for the single levee board, so there was a lot of in-difference among voters. Why should the residents of Arabi, who elected both Rep. Odinet and Sen. Boasso, bother calling Mr. Odinet's office to voice their support of the bill if they know nothing about it or why they should support it.

In his two years as a Senator, Mr. Boasso has introduced legislation that would strongly overhaul many of the sacred cows of Louisiana politics. Being a business man, Mr. Boasso usually gets the support of the business community. However, he needs to learn that while businesses contribute to political campaigns, they do not elect legislators. That is done by citizens. Without their support, some battles could be harder than they need to be.


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