Ethics Policies In Lafayette And The Fall Of Paula Deen – Wingin’ It Wednesday
On this week's edition of "Wingin' It Wednesday", panelist Mike Stagg, Carol Ross, and Warren Caudle joined "Mornings with Ken and Bernie" to discuss the impact of state ethics policies on local government as long as the racial scandal surrounding Food Network star Paula Deen.
Here's what the panel had to say:
1. An audit by the Legislative Auditor’s Office determined that the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority needs to have an ethics policy in place and must comply with the state’s open meetings law. Former LPTFA Chairman Greg Gachassin was charged last year with violating the State’s Code of Governmental Ethics. Do you think an ethics policy and compliance with the open meetings law could have prevented the charges against Gachassin?
Mike Stagg started us off:
If there's no will to observe the law then no, it wouldn't have prevented anything.
The real story here is that this is the legislative fiscal auditor. The ethics charges, if anything ever comes of that, will be way down the line. It's a reflection of the "gold standard" that Governor Jindal created when he became governor.
It has totally gutted ethics enforcement in Louisiana.
If you have an attorney, and most of the people who want to get out of these ethics complaints go to Gray Sexton, the former director of the state board of ethics, they go to hime because he understands that this "reform" is fundamentally flawed. Anyone who has used him as an attorney has gotten off any ethics charged that were levied against them. There is no ethics regime in Louisiana that would address these ethics complaints.
It's just crony capitalism at its worst and the state ethics regime is incapable of addressing these issues and it takes someone like the legislative auditor just to point out the problems.
Carol Ross added:
There is a question because he hired Grey Sexton who's the former head of the ethics board. Do you really think anything will come from this?
If you've ever gone to an LPTA meeting - it's quite instructive. When I went we were told you cannot ask questions. You can make a comment, but you cannot ask questions. Violating the opens meeting law, every time the put out a special meetings notice, they don't have to give the normal timeline to tell people when the meeting will be.
It's not crony capitalism, it's just cronyism at its worst.
Warren Caudle concluded:
What we do know is the charity hospital system was short stopping medical dollars coming into this state and really damaging the health care system in a lot of ways.
I think the people at Lafayette General are very sincere in what they're trying to do. Do you think LSU would have given it up if it were a good deal for the state? This was not working and it was not going to work. I'm willing to give them all the benefit of the doubt.
- Warren Caudle, Carol Ross, Mike Stagg; KPEL 965
2. Food Network star Paula Deen was dropped from the network and lost sponsorship of Smithfield Hams following her admittance of using a racially offensive word. Deen is being criticized by many national figures including Jesse Jackson who once used a racially offensive word to describe New York City as a city populated by Jewish people. Do you think Deen is being unfairly treated?
They said Paula Deen said this around 20 years ago, and Lisa Jackson, the woman who originally filed the complaint said in a deposition that she never actually heard Paula Deen say the word.
I don't watch the Food Network, I don't care about Paula Deen. I hope she does well, I hope she gets redemption, but this points out how ingrained political correctness is in our speech. Here's the cautionary tail, if you're a white conservative with a southern accent be careful what you say because they will come after you, no matter when you said it or how stupid it was.
What is the Food Network and who is Paula Deen?
The real fact of the matter is that we used to be a country the prided ourselves on manners. There was a certain type of language and talk that was inappropriate to use in the work place, at some point we regressed and we have no manners anymore.
If it's bad for one group to use it, then it's bad for all groups to use it. Whoever backed Paula Deen, they've got a right to fire her for whatever reason they want.
We've got a southern fried turkey here.
What this was about was wanting to have a plantation style wedding for her brother. This was to glorify an era where everyone was real polite, but that word was used a lot and it was about putting people in their place.
I think what we're seeing though is that these corporations don't want any negative connotations being brought to their companies and brands.
This is corporate political correctness, not really about the politics. I will not say that what she said was okay in anyway, particularly not in the context that she used it. It goes back to those very bad old days when that word and that setting had real consequences.
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think about today’s Wingin’ It Wednesday topics. Who got it right, who got it wrong, and who was way off? Let us know in the comment section.