Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Advice to Jindal from Uncle Earl
- 2013 - 801 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
- December 2008 - 146 articles
- November 2008 - 147 articles
- October 2008 - 232 articles
- September 2008 - 189 articles
- August 2008 - 126 articles
- July 2008 - 147 articles
- June 2008 - 111 articles
- May 2008 - 147 articles
- May 31st, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- May 30th, 2008 (Friday) - 2 articles
- May 29th, 2008 (Thursday) - 12 articles
- May 28th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 8 articles
- May 27th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- May 26th, 2008 (Monday) - 1 articles
- May 25th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- May 24th, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- May 22nd, 2008 (Thursday) - 18 articles
- May 21st, 2008 (Wednesday) - 13 articles
- May 20th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- May 18th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- May 17th, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- May 16th, 2008 (Friday) - 10 articles
- May 15th, 2008 (Thursday) - 3 articles
- May 14th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- May 13th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- May 11th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- May 10th, 2008 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- May 9th, 2008 (Friday) - 2 articles
- May 8th, 2008 (Thursday) - 3 articles
- May 7th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 22 articles
- May 6th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- May 5th, 2008 (Monday) - 2 articles
- May 4th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- May 3rd, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- May 2nd, 2008 (Friday) - 3 articles
- May 1st, 2008 (Thursday) - 16 articles
- April 2008 - 141 articles
- March 2008 - 125 articles
- February 2008 - 135 articles
- January 2008 - 111 articles
|Advice to Jindal from Uncle Earl|
The Jindal administration is wrangling with the Legislature over how many of the thousands of documents that flow through the governor's office should be open to public view. It's an area where this governor shares much in common with his predecessors, including those like Earl Long, who had more to hide.
A far-reaching bill that would make public most of the records in the governor's office so concerned executive counsel Jimmy Faircloth that he imagined it would lead to staffers ceasing to write anything down and only communicating verbally.
It wouldn't be the first time, for Uncle Earl once famously instructed, "Never write down what you can say on the phone. Never phone what you can say face to face. Never say would you can nod. Never nod what you can wink. Never wink what you can smile."
The link to Long is not so fanciful, because government secrets are more closely guarded in Louisiana than in nearly all other states. The reason, surmised Faircloth, "One hundred years of Louisiana politics."
That is an era Jindal vowed to close and has so started with his "gold standard" of ethics laws. Yet while the governor talks urgently of the need to let the sun shine on government, he keeps the blinds closed around his office.
After resisting an earlier legislative effort to open more records, the administration came with a bill of its own. The measure by Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, would open the records of 60 ancillary, minor offices within the governor's office but would keep closed those of dozens of his aides.
The Louisiana Press Association has crafted a much tighter measure, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Waddell, R-Shreveport, which exempts only the governor, his chief of staff and his executive counsel.
Under ordinary circumstances, choosing between an administration bill and one from the press association is as easy as picking between Ruth's Chris and Chick Fil-A, even with the $50 limit. For when's the last time a newspaper built a road in anyone's district?
Yet these competing bills arrive against the backdrop of legislators' own frustrations over getting a straight answer or even a returned call from the governor's top aides, let alone the man himself. Word is that Walsworth delayed bringing up his bill last week because some senators were ready to vent about their dealings with the governor's office.
No one has been more frustrated on that score than reporters, who, following a recent Jindal appearance, were physically blocked by his press secretary from getting close enough to ask questions. Radio talk show hosts, who couldn't get candidate Jindal off the phone, feel they have been abandoned for Jay Leno and the national circuit.
Access to records and access to Jindal are two different issues.
Whether or not the governor gives reporters or legislators the time of day is how he runs his political business. He is not mandated to comment on stories or to return politicians' calls.
As long as it works for him, he will go over the heads of both to communicate directly to the people. Yet that never works well for long, as presidents on down have learned, once the public gets wise to the spoon-feeding.
Public records are another matter. Outside of sensitive and timely documents handled by the governor and his immediate advisors, there is no real need to shield records, the likes of which are wide open in most other states.
The governor's counsel and the press association need to work out clear ground rules for access to executive records. The better approach is to regard the nature of the document instead of whose file cabinet it is in. A report in the Office of Homeland Security about anti-terrorism should be off limits, but not one dealing with emergency planning for hurricanes.
Negotiations over incentives for companies considering locating in Louisiana should be guarded, within reason. In committee, Faircloth argued that Louisiana's broad executive exemption gives it an advantage over other states.
Oh yeah?, countered Rep. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans, pointing out that Alabama, with a far more open records policy, beat out Louisiana for the German steel mill last year. "End of argument," she concluded.
Actually not, but it is a start.