Just looking for the best
In your feature article ("Jindal's List," Cover story, March 24) questioning the ethical reform of Gov. Bobby Jindal's appointments of 200 of his top contributors to influential boards and commissions, I believe you are incorrect to believe the appointments were made because of placing a dollar value on the position.
In most instances, but not all, those individuals making substantial contributions do so because they are looking for good government. Of course, there will always be those who do business with the state, or are merely looking for an ear of the governor.
Gov. Jindal's high moral standards are exemplary of what has been needed in our state for a very long time. In trying to attract Louisiana's best and brightest, I would commend him for being able to engage outstanding citizens to serve the state.
Same as it's always been
I think Mr. Alford ("Jindal's List," Cover story, March 24) went a bit overboard in accusing the governor of a lack of ethics for appointing so many of his contributors to the various state boards and commissions for the following reasons:
First, if not friends and contributors, then who? Political enemies?
Second, these appointments have nothing to do with ethics, qualifications or experience. The large percentage of the boards and commissions were formed for exactly the use they have been put to down through history — dead-head jobs for political patronage and paybacks to supporters. Most require absolutely no knowledge of what they are about, and if from time to time, as a result of an unplanned problem, some sort of technical expertise is required, the board will hire it out.
When was the last time someone was appointed to the Causeway Commission because he/she had either knowledge or experience related to bridges or toll roads?
I don't think Jindal has betrayed his ethics or Louisiana citizens by doing what is expected of a winning candidate. Perhaps if he had not done what he did, that could have been considered a flaw in his ethics by those who helped him get elected — particularly in Louisiana, land of superfluous boards and commissions.
Thomas D. Freeman
Who's to blame?
A letter to the editor of the The Times-Picayune by the aunt of murdered Wendy Byrne some time ago laid the blame at a lack of city leadership and no commitment to solve the crime problem.
Since this is right on, I wonder why there hasn't been more outrage by the citizens against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley. They seem to prove on a daily basis that they can't cut it. The whole world can see this. I don't understand our complacency. Why don't we push for Nagin's resignation? We don't deserve one more year of this.
Perhaps the business, political, legal, or religious leaders could set him down and explain how his resignation would be a blessing for the city. Isn't there something we can do? We've survived three years of his idiocy. Do we really need to suffer through one more? Please, Ray, do us a favor.
Engineering the economy
In these times of uncertainty, we hope the people in charge give us hope.
People are disgusted by the economy and they discuss it, mostly to blame the financial meltdown on someone who has an opposing view on abortion, gay rights — or the right way to open a soft-boiled egg. Political partisans point fingers at the opposing party, but pundits and stock marketers gasp when someone describes the current situation as a crisis.
What is it, if not a crisis? What makes it so difficult for voting taxpaying citizens to accept the fact that the supposed wealth of the past few decades was actually just a mind-boggling IOU to be paid at a later date? The U.S. government, after borrowing money to finance World War II, decided to fund other "necessary and humanitarian" projects by buying "on time," as old-timers used to call it.
But those projects extended beyond providing food and true necessities to poor people. I personally know of many people who have learned how to take unfair advantage of the systems that optimistic, well-meaning people designed for the needy. Corruption and greed will rob the kitty of funds intended for worthy purposes.
The stimulus package, which will double the national debt, will create jobs. Everyone is in favor of construction of roads and bridges and the electricity grid. But the plan will also divvy up $1 trillion for car companies that can't sell cars, banks that have given money to unqualified home buyers, and senators and representatives whose pet projects buy votes in their home districts.
Rules of war
A year after Israel gave up Gaza, Iran-backed Hamas kidnapped Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit. Shalit was on patrol on the Israeli side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza when seven terrorists infiltrated Israel and carried out the attack, kidnapping him. In violation of the Geneva Convention, the terrorist group denied the Red Cross access to Gilad Shalit.
America should not send any of our tax money to help Hamas-led Gaza until they stop shooting rockets into Israel and free Gilad Shalit.