John Delgado’s Successor On The Baton Rouge Metro Council Has Now Made Us Miss Him Badly

That’s because Barbara Freiburg, who succeeded Delgado as the Metro Council representative from District 12 after he gave up the seat to run for mayor last year, just cast the deciding vote to levy an $8 million tax to pump your money through the hideously corrupt, racist and catastrophically wasteful East Baton Rouge Council On Aging.

The East Baton Rouge metro council voted 8-2 to levy a tax that will benefit the Council on Aging (COA). Voters approved this tax back in November of 2016.

The tax was for 2.25 mills. The council failed to adopt the tax back in mid-April, and several council members walked out of the meeting in anger, causing the vote to be delayed for 60 days.

“I’ve never seen anything like this at the city council level,” said Rep. C. Denise Marcelle. “It should have never been so contentious.” Marcelle, who also sits on the COA board, says it was a no-brainer and that she is surprised it took council members so long to approve the tax.

They actually got a key fact wrong. The vote to levy the COA tax was 7-4, not 8-2. And the deciding vote was the FOURTH vote the Metro Council took on the question – to levy the tax required a seven-vote majority, and proponents only had six votes the first three times it was called. Trae Welch, who at this point really ought to stop calling himself a Republican, was always a vote in favor of waste and corruption on this issue.

But on the fourth vote, Freiburg switched from an abstention to yes, making her singularly responsible for feeding $8 million of your tax dollars into what is the most demonstrably corrupt entity in Louisiana local government.

We were always nervous about Freiburg, as our experience has been that members of the East Baton Rouge School Board have generally learned nothing but horrendous governmental habits and the acceptance of failure from that experience, lessons they inflict elsewhere when moving up to other political jobs. It appears that is the case with her – the school board was a wasteful disaster when she was there, though it was never presented as her fault that this was so, and now the Metro Council has acquiesced in building a colossal slush fund for free vacations, campaign finance fraud, bank fraud, financial abuse of vulnerable clients and other slimeball machinations well-documented by local media.

She can’t hide from this vote. And while Delgado’s four years on the Metro Council were marked by stupefyingly ill-advised statements and infuriating examples of micturating inside the Republican tent, we would have been completely assured that he would never have voted to turn loose that money for Tasha Clark Amar to steal.

Things are getting worse. They’re getting worse because of Republicans who promised to keep the decline from happening. It’s very dispiriting.

UPDATE: The Baton Rouge Advocate’s writeup of the proceedings was surprisingly good, and kudos go to Andrea Gallo for it. A highlight, which gives us cause to thank Councilmen Buddy Amoroso and Dwight Hudson for fighting the good fight, even in vain…

Amoroso and Hudson tag-teamed their opposition to the Council on Aging’s tax throughout the night. Hudson unsuccessfully tried to allow the Metro Council to ratify every Council on Aging board member.

Hudson later proposed setting the rate of the tax at zero dollars, rather than the voter-approved 2.25 mills. Batson said the Metro Council could not legally do away with the Council on Aging’s tax, but that they could set the millage rate at any figure between 0 and 2.25 mills.

Amoroso also unsuccessfully tried to set the millage rate at 1.13 mills instead. And when he tried to ask Amar about the Helen Plummer case — in which Plummer’s family accused Amar of coercing their grandmother into leaving Amar $120,000 to oversee Plummer’s estate after she died —  Amar refused to answer. Wilson pointed out that the Plummer case is relevant to the Council on Aging, given that Plummer’s family accused Amar of using her position as executive director to take advantage of the elderly and to cash in on their grandmother’s estate. But Amar called it “a legal matter” and repeatedly said she would not discuss it.

Amar is now suing Plummer’s family for defamation.

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