Monday, January 02, 2006

Hypocricy In Action

Can you believe that now while trying to help re-build the city of New Orleans and other cities in Louisiana, that Gov. Kathleen Blanco is indulging in such blantant and obvious excesses? While she decries the lack of Federal help for her state, she does indulge herself and her staffers with that very money she's crying about not getting enough of! According to today, a Baton Rouge paper:

Blanco orders remodeling just after storms Office tab: $564,838

By MARK BALLARD - Capitol news bureau

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. 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.

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."

The floor had not been improved since the early 1980s and the space needed to be upgraded to meet safety codes, Clarke said.

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 that 18,000 state employees would have to be laid off.

All three floors that the governor and her staff occupy saw some upgrades, said William Wilson, director of the Office of State Buildings.

A bathroom was added to the fifth floor and new carpet was added to all three floors, he said. But the sixth floor saw the most work, costing almost $300,000 alone, he said.

"Swedish granite countertops, walnut paneling and frosted laminated glass." What??? Folks, this is the epitome of hypocricy if I've ever seen it. Why do the people of Louisiana keep electing "leaders" like these? It's very clear to me that she obviously doesn't truly care about the people of Louisiana - or else, this more than half a million dollars would be going to reconstrution! UnBELIEVABLE!


Blogger Karen Heckler said...

Thank you for bringing this information to light. To say the least, Blanco & Nagin were & are hopelessly clueless & in over their heads! This story, however, will get lost in the Bush hating media because it can't see beyond the "Pres. Bush hates white people," comments of Kanye West & the other misinformed American people who can't think beyond what they're told on the "idiot" box. Fema & this administration will take the heat for Katrina, while Blanco will probably continue in politics, headed for the cronyism of the Senate.
Excellent blog!

January 26, 2006 9:31 PM  

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