JBE’s New Website Seeks To Build A Confederacy Of Rats

You knew it was a matter of time before Louisiana entered the realm of lots of other states where the government officially solicited the involvement of citizens to rat each other out. But the rats are now here.

For the most part, so far there hasn’t been a plethora of examples here of police harassing or abusing people for the sin of exercising their freedom of speech or association as in places like Wisconsin, California, North Carolina or New Jersey, and thankfully Gov. John Bel Edwards hasn’t issued forth any anti-semitic threats like New York mayor Warren “Bill DeBlasio” Wilhelm has.

There was the Tony Spell extravaganza, to be sure, and last week there were the arrests of protesters at abortion clinics which brazenly defied Edwards’ shutdown orders. But before now, there wasn’t an open invitation for people to play Karen and snitch on each other.

We give you OpenSafely.LA.gov.

It’s Edwards’ website which purports to assist businesses in reopening while conforming to his coronavirus mandates…

Let Us Help You Open Your Business Safely!

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, businesses were required to close or restrict activity to preserve and protect the health and safety of the citizens of Louisiana. Because of the success of these efforts, Louisiana is now ready to move forward with opening businesses in a safe, phased-in approach.

This site allows you to register your business and your registration allows you to receive updated communication, notifications, and helpful guidance via email from the State Fire Marshal’s Office specific to your business type. These notifications will answer the important questions:

  • When can I partially or fully open my business?
  • What are the steps to open my business?
  • What changes can be expected for businesses that have been operating, but with restrictions?
  • What restrictions are my business subject to, if any?
  • Are there any new sanitation requirements for my business?
  • Are there any personal protective requirements (masks, gloves, etc.) for my employees?

To begin receiving notifications and guidance for safely opening or operating your business, click “Register Your Business” below. You can also submit any concerns you may have about the safe opening or operation of other businesses by clicking “Register a Complaint” below. State Fire Marshal field personnel will be assisting owners statewide with their business openings and safe operation.

Edwards has threatened to sic the Fire Marshal and state health department on those businesses which open in defiance of his orders, though it’s not completely settled that he has the power to do so. The implication is that if a business owner registers with this website they’re less likely to be harassed by government officials.

There is this disclaimer, of course, which makes one wonder why anyone would want to register with Edwards’ website…

NO UNAUTHORIZED USE – USERS OF THIS SYSTEM EXPRESSLY CONSENT TO MONITORING

This website contains government information which is restricted to authorized users only and for the intended purpose. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety (LADPS) is providing this website as a service to the public. This website is subject to monitoring to ensure proper performance of security features or procedures. Such monitoring may result in the acquisition, recording and analysis of all data being communicated, transmitted, processed or stored by this system. The data collected are limited to information (name, telephone number, mailing address, physical location, and email address) regarding your business. Unauthorized access, use, misuse or modification of this website or data constitutes a violation of law and will subject the individual to criminal and/or civil penalties. The usage of the content, images and logos on the LADPS site by any other website is strictly prohibited. The misuse of data without the express written consent of LADPS is a violation of copyright laws and other proprietary rights. The misrepresentation via modification of information from this website in any presentation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Website information may be distributed or copied, to the extent allowed by law. Unauthorized use of the words “Louisiana Department of Public Safety,” or “Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal” or the initials “LADPS,” or “LOSFM” or any imitation “in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such [activity] is approved, endorsed or authorized by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety or the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal is prohibited.

Those among our readers who are lawyers may have a field day with the representations made within that statement.

It gets worse, though, because there is a button on the site’s page for rats and snitches…

And if you click it, you go to this page where there’s a form you can fill out…

Oh, sorry. That was a screenshot of the complaint we filed, as there is a very prominent employee of the governor’s office who routinely appears before the public without wearing a mask.

Elsewhere, the rats who are snitching on their neighbors are getting busted for doing so thanks to the fact a government website is open to public scrutiny…

Hundreds of Missouri residents have had their personal details shared online after the publication of a document that recorded reports made against those flouting lockdown measures.

Some people are now concerned that they will face consequences for ‘snitching’ on coronavirus rulebreakers in St Louis County, Missouri.

It comes after St Louis County authorities called on people to report businesses and persons not following statewide lockdown measures, last month.

The names and addresses of almost 900 people were shared on Facebook to name-and-shame them after authorities had released the data following a media request under the state’s ‘Sunshine Law’, which requires authorities to release information submitted to public agencies.

“I’m not only worried about COVID, I’m worried about someone showing up at my door, showing up at my workplace or me getting fired for doing what is right,’ said a woman named Patricia, who had made a report, to KSDK news.

“When there is something that happens next time, I’m not going to feel safe or protected enough to call the local authorities.”

The complaints resulted in 29 businesses receiving court summons in April, leaving some concerned that they will face dismissal at work after reporting on rule breaking at their own workplace.

“We’re in a society where doing what’s right doesn’t always get rewarded,” added Patricia. “We have to be extra careful because we don’t have the strength to fight this.”

The Missouri resident told KSDK news that she had asked to be made anonymous, but that did not stop the complete publication of the documents.

Jared Totsch, who shared the personal details online, wrote on Facebook: “If they are worried about retaliation, they should have read the fine print which stated their tips would be open public record subject to a Sunshine request, and should not have submitted tips in that manner to begin with”.

Poor Patricia, whose middle name simply has to be Karen.

There is no such fine print at Edwards’ website for rats, but the namer-and-shamer in the Missouri case has an interesting point applicable here in Louisiana. Namely, what would the legal defense to a public records request seeking the identities of the rats using Edwards’ website be? Anything on a government website would be subject to public records law, correct?

We imagine that’s likely a question someone will put in front of the Louisiana Attorney General’s office in the form of an opinion request, likely this week. And maybe, just like in Missouri, the rats here in Louisiana will have a little sunlight on them.



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