Louisiana political commentator C.B. Forgotston, a longtime critic of Gov. Bobby Voucher, has some strong words for the man who bested Lafayette Rep. Joel Robideaux for House speaker gig early this year, characterizing Lake Charles Rep. Chuck Kleckley, Bobby Voucher’s hand-picked choice for the post, as a puppet of the governor who was ill-prepared for and has been unimpressive in arguably the most powerful position in the Legislature.
With Forgotston’s permission, the column is reproduced below. Read more at his website, forgotston.com.
House speaker or dummy
House Speaker Chuck “Chuckle” Kleckley has hitched his wagon to Bobby Jindal.
Kleckley does exactly as ordered by Bobby though it serves to aggravate most of the members of the body that Jindal selected him to lead.
Kleckley has not made an important decision without consulting with Jindal. In fact, Kleckley has shown no ability to think for himself. He is the worst Speakers in my memory.
Is it a dummy?
If one has taken the time to watch Kleckley preside, one might conclude that Kleckley is merely a dummy for which long-time House Clerk, Butch Speer is the ventriloquist.
Kleckley hasn’t bothered to learn the House Rules or even the basics pronouncements that he must routinely make over and over in the course of a daily session.
Kleckley appears to be asleep most of the time waiting for Butch to alert him to activity on the House Floor.
Second-term, Speaker Pro Tem, Rep. Walt Leger, has taken the time to understand the House process and is always alert to the House activity. The contrast between Leger and Kleckley even makes me embarrassed for Kleckley.
House “Dean” (longest serving member) Rep. Jeff Arnold does an excellent job when he presides (which is often) and knows how to maintain order with a sense of humor like the good Speakers of the past.
Future of Kleckley
Which brings me to the point of this rant — Kleckley’s future.
Conventional wisdom in Baton Rouge is that if Mitt Romney wins the Presidency in November, Bobby Jindal, while he won’t be the Vice President, will follow Romney to D.C. in a possible cabinet post.
If the conventional wisdom is correct, then Jay Dardenne as Lt. Governor will become governor before the 2013 Regular Session. Being a former lege himself, one would expect Dardenne to name his own lege leadership team.
Dardenne has no reason to want to retain Kleckley as Speaker. Kleckley brings nothing to the position except blind loyalty to Jindal on whose team Dardenne is not.
On the Senate side, where John Alario is very popular and well-respected among his fellow Senators and is more than capable for handling Dardenne’s legislation.
Kleckley is not exactly the most popular member of the House. In fact, one could make the argument that Kleckley is one of least liked and least-respected Speakers in recent memory.
Being such a shallow thinker (I’m being kind), Kleckley has unlikely given much thought to his future as Speaker. However, he could have the shortest tenure of any Speaker in the last 50 years.
Kleckley should, but won’t thank me for doing the thinking for him.
MAY 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.