The first 10 minutes of the nightly news in the Red Stick is troubling. Citizens are concerned, rightfully so. Some of the issues that have affected our quality of life find many calling for new leadership.

(Mayor Kip Holden in yellow shirt!)

Louisiana voters showed they are ready for positive change by electing Governor Bobby Jindal. New state leadership has already brought us ethics reform and business-friendly legislation.

Now, it’s time to consider new leadership for EBRP. Promises are no longer good enough. Action is required to deal with the troubling signs in our parish that continue to plague us:

CRIME: The Baton Rouge Police Department reported homicide up 52% in the Red Stick. (Ironically, the BRPD only lists crime stats through 2007, and EBRSO’s crime stats are from 2006.) EBRP prison is busting at the seams, and we need to step-up crime prevention in our parish sorely.

EDUCATION: The Louisiana Department of Education gave EBR Parish only one star (out of five) for EBRP Public Schools, in a press release dated March 4, 2008. The Louisiana Workforce Commission released figures in November, 2007, stating that Baton Rouge residents function at the lowest level of measured literacy, 28%. Education woes produce joblessness, increased health costs and public safety issues according to the Greater Baton Rouge Literary Coalition.

TRAFFIC: Traffic woes are daily water-cooler talk in EBRP. Within one week two critical announcements were made regarding this issue: The Metro Council announced they were refinancing a bond issue which will affect the dollars spent on road improvement, and TRIP announced our roads are still rated poor in EBRP. Mayor-President Kip Holden stated in his state of the city address we have received $4 million from the state for ‘phase two’ of the loop which seemingly pays for more studies and public meetings.

TAXES & BUDGET: In December, the Metro Council voted to approve Mayor-President Kip Holden’s budget in the amount of $678.7 million, a 9.5% increase from the previous year’s budget of $621 million.

COMPARE THESE WOES TO THE PROMISES MADE BY MAYOR-PRESIDENT KIP HOLDEN: “I assumed office as Mayor-President on January 1, 2005 with a goal to build an administration that will be a green light for solutions to traffic, safe neighborhoods, a quality education system and open government.”

It’s a no-brainer to vote NO to re-elect Mayor-President Kip Holden this fall!

Note: Melvin Kip Holden is an attorney by trade, a former state representative and he worked as a television reporter in Baton Rouge before becoming Mayor!