Friday, October 27, 2006
"Propaganda Playbook" by CARTOONMAN
By Gordon Russell
Third District Assessor Erroll Williams, acting on the belief that four other assessors would reimburse him a portion of the cost, has spent $30,000 in taxpayer money on a series of slanted television and newspaper ads that purport to educate voters about the constitutional amendment that would consolidate the seven assessors' offices into one.
While the ads never directly endorse a "no" or a "yes" vote on the amendment, the underlying message is clear: that the measure, which would cost the assessors their jobs if it passes, should be defeated. The amendment will come before voters on Nov. 7.
The newspaper ads are attributed to a group of five assessors called the "Orleans Parish Assessors Concerned with Homeowners' Rights." According to the ad, the group includes Williams, 1st District Assessor Darren Mire, 2nd District Assessor Claude Mauberret, 4th District Assessor Betty Jefferson and 5th District Assessor Tom Arnold.
The ads warn that voting for the amendment will "create one powerful elected assessor" and in the process "take away each community's right" to pick its own assessor. Passing it also "could mean higher taxes," the ad warns, "won't guarantee lower taxes" and "won't save money."
In the view of Jay Lapeyre, a leader of Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans and head of the Business Council, both of which are lobbying for consolidation of the assessors' offices, the ads are one more sign of the assessors' arrogance, and one more argument supporting their consolidation.
"I think it's astounding they have the audacity to use public money on these," he said. "It's indicative of the mind-set of the people in these positions. They can't tell the difference between taxpayer money and their own. I mean, is this where taxpayers need our money spent?"
LPNS COMMENTARY: THESE ADS ARE EVERY BIT AS "AUDACIOUS" AS THE GOVERNOR'S "BLANCO'S ROAD HOME" COMMERCIALS. THE "ARROGANCE" OF LOUISIANA'S POLITICAL RULING CLASS IS TRULY ASTOUNDING!