The Daily Advertiser reported Monday that scheduled conference calls between Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members, the Department of Education and Superintendent John White to discuss key agenda items before public BESE meetings appear to violate the state’s open meetings law. In an effort to avoid a quorum, at least two conference calls were scheduled to address single matters before the board:
At least twice recently — before the vote on scholarship schools’ accountability Tuesday and earlier this year when BESE voted on the Minimum Foundation Program — board members were invited to participate in one of two scheduled conference calls before public meetings dealing with these controversial issues. ...
BESE members Carolyn Hill and Lottie Beebe say they refused to participate in the board’s last calls, scheduled the Sunday before the board’s vote to approve accountability criteria for nonpublic schools participating in the state’s scholarship program. ...
“That’s probably why they have two separate calls,” Hill said. “If that’s what’s happening and that’s the case, then we’re deceiving the public.” ...
“Walking quorums in which members of the body come and go ... so as to prevent a gathering of a quorum of the body are not allowed and violate the prohibitions of using any method to circumvent the intent of Louisiana’s open meetings law,” according to an explanation of the open meetings law posted on Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s website. ...
BESE member Connie Bradford, who referred to the conference calls as "meetings," according to the paper, said the discussions were for informational purposes only — to help board members make more informed decisions. Bradford, however, acknowedged there could be legal issues with the calls.
At last Tuesday’s official BESE meeting, the board’s legal counsel said there are no legal problem with the calls, according to the Advertiser story. Read more here.
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OCT 2 This story from Rolling Stone is one of the best published so far about the Koch Brothers. That's because author Tim Dickinson doesn't get (too) distracted by the political maneuvering the billionaires seem to relish; he's focused on their business empire, its many components and its unsavoury history. It's a fascinating read.
OCT 2 Bobby Jindal - or one of his (apparently) politically inept handlers - has launched a twit war against Stephen Colbert, this post on CNN says. Points to Jindal for attempting some (unfortunately) stilted self-effacing humor, and if you watch the Colbert clip here (you should, it is hilarious), pay close attention to the skin tone of the candidates' mugshots.
OCT 2 This is another excellent coastal loss piece, but this one on New Republic has a little different flavor. It's a close look at coal terminals, refineries, coastal loss, environmental damage --- and Billy Nungesser. It's engrossing and very well written.
OCT 2 Blogger Stephen Sabludowsky records another poll indicating Bobby Jindal is very unpopular with the people here in Louisiana. This one, from a Democratic poller, shows voters would rather have Edwin Edwards back than keep Jindal. The numbers don't lie, Sabludowsky says, and surely it is only a matter of time before the national media catches on.
OCT 2 Blogger Tom Aswell gives us more coverage of the recent OGB hearing, featuring one of his favorite politicians, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols. Nichols apparently wasn't all that forthcoming with legislators who dared to question the Jindal Administration's handling of the privatization of the state employee health plan.
OCT 2 Crazy Crawfish is taking a look at one of Louisiana's most historically smarmy processes: textbook selection. (Yes, seriously.) It's a complicated post, but worth reading. He's looking at the people and the process here.
OCT 1 Look out! Some enterprising individual, who knows how to register a domain, has pulled off a stunning bit of hilarity here. Not long ago, blogger Lamar White Jr. gave us a post on Louisiana Family Forum, and how it is not a charity but is instead a tax shelter for a lobby. If you go to the interwebs and type in "louisianafamilyforum.com" you will find Lamar's story. Heh.
OCT 1 Bobby Jindal is sure doing his best to court the far right; this post on TIME magazine says he'll be over in Oklahoma today to stand beside the billionaires who own Hobby Lobby while they announce a Bible "museum." In Washington D.C. (Wonder if there will be an exhibit on Matthew 19:24?)
OCT 1 Blogger Ian McGibboney is taking a look at the penalty call that is causing a stir. During a Monday NFL game, a player for the Chiefs executed a Muslim prayer gesture following a touchdown. The NFL has announced that the call was wrong, but Ian's not so sure.
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