January 01, 2006

Gov. Blanco -- Incompetent And Profligate

Had we not seen so much of her incompetence during the days around Hurricane Katrina, I would be unable to believe that even the governor of Louisiana could be so self-serving, insensitive, and wasteful with government resources while her people were in need.

Some members of the governor's staff will return from the three-day holiday on Tuesday to newly renovated offices at the State Capitol.

Shortly after the two hurricanes, Gov. Kathleen Blanco decided to renovate some of her staff's offices. At the time of her decision, Blanco also was hinting at deep budget cuts to state programs and the possibility of laying off 20 percent of the state workforce.

The project cost $564,838.

Given the condition in which the hurricane left your state, including the city of new Orleans, don't you think there might be a few other ways to spend over half-a-million dollars?

The newly refurbished office space on the sixth floor of the State Capitol includes hookups and mounts for two flat screen televisions, Swedish granite countertops, walnut paneling and frosted laminated glass. The floor, which will not be accessible to the public, was redesigned to add three new offices, a conference room and file storage areas.

About 20 members of the governor's staff – who focus on constituent services, children's issues, women's policies and other functions – will work on the newly restored floor

Well, twenty staff members will use the space. It isn't like there are displaced families living in temporary shelter who could use that money. It isn't like there are homes and businesses that need reconstruction. Your aides need fancy-schmancy offices right now. Screw the victims -- Louisiana's corrupt ruling class needs Swedish marble counter tops!

But at least your aides thought about not doing the project -- and then decided to move forward anyway.

Concerned about the perception of fixing up their office space while slashing others' spending, Jimmy Clarke, Blanco's chief of staff, said Friday the governor's top aides considered not fixing the 6th floor.

But the sixth floor project was bid six days before Hurricane Katrina came ashore near Buras on Aug. 29. Clarke said he became concerned that the state could be sued successfully if the restoration project were shut down.

"We certainly would not have initiated this work post-Katrina and Rita," Clarke said. "Given all that the state faces at this time, these renovations would be a very low priority."

Somehow I suspect that there might be language in the contract -- or in state law -- that might have allowed for the project to be terminated due to the situation that existed after Katrina. So tell me -- whose brother-in-law or cousin got the job? I mean, the governor was cutting and freezing elsewhere.

Restoration work began on the sixth floor Oct. 10, two weeks after Hurricane Rita struck Cameron on Sept. 24.

The week before work began, Blanco ordered a spending and hiring freeze to rein in state government expenses.

Three days after crews started tearing out the old offices, the administration announced that the state's budget would be about $1 billion short because of damages caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That day, Commissioner of Administration Jerry Luke LeBlanc told a legislative finance committee that the budgets supplying money for public health care and education would need cuts of 20 percent or more and that more than 18,000 state employees would have to be laid off.

I'm glad we had the priorities straight -- office upgrades for the governor's staff certainly trump the students and teachers of Louisiana, as well as those who rely on public health programs. Heck -- I bet that a dozen state employees could have kept their jobs if your staff had just walked on older carpet or kept the space configured in the older fashion. After all, it had only been about twenty years since the last remodeling job.

Now there would have been a press uproar if a Republican administration had behaved in such a disgusting manner. I know that Democrats would have howled over such screwed-up priorities and wasteful spending by a GOP governor. I can't help but notice the relative silence here.

But not to worry -- I'm sure the staff of your Republican successor will appreciate teh fruits of your wasteful spending after your sorry Democrat ass is thrown out of office.

OTHER POSTS AT: Mover Mike, Louisiana Libertarian, You Are A Sissy-Man. The Old Curmudgeon, That Gay Conservative, EU Rota.

TRACKBACK TO: bRight & Early, Uncooperative Blogger, Stuck On Stupid, Wizbang.

» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: New Year's link-o-rama

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» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: New Year's link-o-rama, on January 02, 2006, 10:00 AM
Excerpt: Hope everyone is recovered from any Nuevo Año celebrations. For your feel-better perusal, we offer the following stories: * Greg at Rhymes With Right details how Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has discovered $564,838 to renovate her offices. Howeve...

Comments on Gov. Blanco -- Incompetent And Profligate

"Drew a" Blanco's aide is liar. If the bids were received before Katrina, the state has the option to reject the bids. I have seen it happen in public bid jobs as a registered architect.

Fact of the matter is that Blanco and her staff have been feathering their public nests since the day they took offce and Hurricane isn't about to change their ways. After all, if they realize that there will be no second term (though that assersion is not guarenteed), they see no motivation to change their ways and might as well live it up till Blanco's term expires.

|| Posted by Kinch, January 2, 2006 02:17 PM ||

I heard about this stupidity, but I just haven't had the energy to blog on it. Thank you for sharing this story of Governor Blank Brain with my readers.

|| Posted by Brian Bonner, January 4, 2006 08:49 PM ||

I am so embarrassed to live in the state of Louisiana. Gov. Blanco is a idiot. Her husband runs the state through her. It was painful to watch her "news conferances" every 10 minutes. She showed everyone that she can't handle real pressure and that she would rather talk about it till she's blue in the face instead of taking action. She could and should have been a leader.
Don't even get me started on the state of Louisiana politicians and where money always goes.

|| Posted by Kirsten, January 5, 2006 09:53 AM ||

Sorry I misspelled conferences,lol. I get started on Blanco and I get to angry to type fast.

|| Posted by Kirsten, January 5, 2006 09:57 AM ||
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