Some pretty powerful interviews this morning. Apparently, when I go to church by myself, I've been doing it wrong.
We talked to Archbishop Gregory Aymond about the rash of violence and robberies in local Catholic churches. A woman was mugged inside a chuch, and a priest was robbed and beaten at a Metairie church! The Archbishop's advice: Leave your cash AT HOME and don't go to church alone!
So, what about all that extra tolls collected on the CCC after January 1? What about all the hard-earned cash I had put on my toll card AFTER January 1, before the judge threw out the election? I asked that question of Jefferson Parish President John Young. Click HERE to hear what he had to say!
And, with all the other problems going on with the NOPD...increasing response times, thinning ranks, low morale...Is this REALLY the right time to force a residency requirement upon officers, as we're apparently having issues with recruiting? Fraternal Order of Police Spokesman Raymond Burkhart told me this morning the residency requirement isn't about making our police force better or more efficient... He says that it's just good old fashioned politics. Click HERE to listen to what he had to say.
Last but not least: Click the window below to see our latest “LIVE from the office” video. Think I took my life in my hands trying to “spoon” our WWL resident Marine (and former cop) Kristian Garic as he napped on the studio couch? He got “Tuckered.” What was I thinking??
Is it the pup or the press? That’s the question again today after news of a horrific pit bull mauling in Westwego that left a 54-year-old woman in intensive care at the LSU interim hospital, minus an ear, an eye and without any arms. She was attacked by her own dogs, pit bulls she helped raise from puppies and police still don’t know what caused the attack. She was leading a smaller dog into the home on a leash and one of the pits had just given birth and was nursing a litter of pups. Either one of those are possible causes. What is without doubt is that Westwego police had to shoot and kill all four dogs to stop the attack and protect themselves. On the same day, in Wisconsin, a 14-month-old toddler was attacked by pit bulls in his own home. He later died from his injuries.
So, are pit bulls inherently dangerous animals? Or, are they lightning rods for the press, making headlines every time they bite? Statistics would indicate the former. The Centers for Disease Control report 32% of all dog related killings of human beings in the United States are caused by pit bull attacks, yet pit bulls constitute only TWO PERCENT of all dogs. Seventy percent of those mauling deaths were of CHILDREN.
I had the unfortunate experience of having people with pit bulls buy the house next to mine. One dog chased me into the house, while I was outside washing my car. On other numerous occasions I had to bring my then toddler daughter into the house, while both of the neighbor’s pit bulls furiously tried to dig under the fence to get to her while she was in HER OWN BACKYARD. I’m a dog lover but if I had gotten the chance, I would have used the Remington 870 to dispatch those dangerous nuisances to doggie heaven. I wouldn’t have done it out of anger or malice; I would have done it to protect my daughter.
The dogs have been outlawed in the UK. Should we follow that same course here? And should it be limited to pit bulls? I don’t think so. I’m all for freedom. But with any freedom comes responsibility. I think if you decide to own a pit bull, or any dog, you should have to accept with it any consequences that occur as a result. That includes criminal penalties if your dog(s) injure or kill someone in or out of your family. That way the marketplace would decide without having to pass any laws. If you want to own a big, dangerous dog that has a propensity to attack and you’re willing to go to jail if anything goes wrong...good luck. Is that fair? Do you think that would have any effect on the number of people that own big, dangerous dogs?
Apparently the DOTD is poised to make good on one of the many threats that were made if the tolls on the Crescent City Connection expired, as required by law, on December 31, 2012. They say they’ll pull the plug on the decorative lighting that has graced the skyline of the Crescent City since 1987.
It should be noted the money for that lighting was raised by a civic organization, the Young Leadership Council, in increments as small one and five dollars from both sides of the river in what seemed like a successful private/public partnership. They gave half a million dollars to the state and thought they had a deal.
We all know what’s happened with the tolls since then, and now the DOTD is poor-mouthing, saying they’ll have to turn the lights off this weekend because they don’t have the money to keep the lights on. How much does it cost? The “stunning” sum of sixty thousand dollars a year…fifteen thousand dollars for electricity and forty five thousand dollars for maintenance. Those numbers are from DOTD, and if experience is any indicator a private contractor could probably find a way to cut THAT by at least twenty five percent. Locals who don’t remember might have bought that bull, but not the guy who originally brokered the deal.
Chris Johnsen is now an attorney in New York, but in 1987 he was the President of the Young Leadership Council. He said the original deal called for the money to be raised PRIVATELY and the lights DONATED to the STATE with the quid pro quo that the state maintain the lights in perpetuity. Now go find your winter coat, because here comes the snow job.
Rhett Desselle, a DOTD lackey, says THAT deal was with the old Mississippi River Bridge Authority, an entity that no longer exists because it was abolished by the legislature at the end of last year. Technically, he’s right. The legislature HAD to ABOLISH the Mississippi River Bridge Authority because they had wasted, misappropriated and otherwise tossed millions of toll dollars into the muddy Mississippi for things like flood insurance on…wait for it…A BRIDGE.
But I shouldn’t focus my ire on Rhett. He’s just doing what his boss, Sherri LeBas, the secretary of DOTD, tells him to do. She’s an artful dodger. I’ve been trying for A YEAR AND A HALF to get her to come on the air with me and explain why she needs MORE taxpayer money to maintain the Crescent City Connection when we’re ALREADY paying for maintenance with taxes from license plates and gasoline that pour into Highway Fund #2. That’s how every other Mississippi River Bridge in the state is maintained. I guess she doesn’t have a good explanation for that extra FOUR HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS in tolls she’s looking for. Or, for that matter, why DOTD is playing it heavy handed and punishing us for paying off the bridge by paying all of those tolls for all of those years.
You think it’s really necessary to turn those lights off this weekend? Or is it more likely that DOTD is trying to keep us ALL in the dark?