East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden has some serious chutzpah. Not only did he plot and scheme to deny over 50,000 of his constituents a voice in local government, but he used taxpayer money to do it.
Earlier this month, Metro Councilman Scott Wilson introduced a resolution to add three new members to the Library Board of Control and the Board of Commissioners of the Recreation and Park Commission to represent Baker, Central and Zachary. Wilson’s resolution would put the issue to a parish-wide vote in the fall, giving EBR voters the final say. Despite howls of protest by Holden, it was overwhelmingly approved 8 to 2 by the Metro Council.
However, since BREC was created out of a state statute, approval by the State Legislature was needed before any change in organization could be considered by the voters. As a result, HB 322 was introduced this session to codify the BREC change. Every State Representative and State Senator from the northern part of East Baton Rouge Parish supported HB 322, and it sailed through the House 86-3. It was expected to easily pass the Senate as well.
Only it never made it up for a vote, because Kip Holden used the City-Parish’s lobbyists, Bud Courson and Jim Nickel, as his own, and had them push hard to kill the bill in committee. They succeeded thanks to four Senators who don’t live anywhere near East Baton Rouge.
Keep in mind, Courson and Nickel’s contract is approved annually by the Metro Council and they are paid with taxpayer dollars. Their job is to represent the interests of the taxpayers of East Baton Rouge Parish. Yet, they lobbied to kill something that those same taxpayers, via their elected representatives on the Metro Council, had overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 8 to 2. This is unbelievably inappropriate.
King Kip Holden is a disgrace, and this just shows he’ll do whatever it takes to get his way, even if it means subverting the will of the people via their elected representatives and using taxpayer funds to do it.