Phillip Fetterman calls BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson on the carpet for alleged attempt to “run out the clock” and avoid his question on efficiency, which he nevertheless posed after the meeting.

Baton Rouge Press Club (BRPC) member Phillip Fetterman (right closest to camera) prepares to ask BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson several questions after the BRPC meeting of April 22, 2024 after Fetterman first chided Wilson for “running out the clock” on questions and not calling upon him during his presentation.

On April 22, 2024, BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson appeared before the BRPC.

Attendance was sparse to say the least.  In fact, let’s spend a mere 28 seconds to illustrate just how sparse attendance was:

 April 22, 2022:  Opening moments of BRPC meeting at which BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson’s spoke.

Normally, BRPC guests are guided to keep their presentations to around 20 minutes and leave the remaining 20-25 minutes for questions from the media and/or BRPC members.

Well, as we will present shortly, Wilson admitted, perhaps jokingly, perhaps not, that his goal was to leave only one minute for questions.  In other words, he wanted to essentially run out the clock.

As it turned out, he left a mere nine (9) minutes for questions, and let’s take a look at one of the BRPC members, Remi Delouche, being called upon and posing the most absolute-ultimate softball question imaginable:

 Delouche poses the ultimate softball question of Wilson, who then responds.

In sharp contrast to Delouche, Phillip Fetterman sought to ask a much more “hardball” question of Wilson.  In fact, Fetterman called Wilson on the carpet for intentionally “running out the clock” and avoiding him being able to pose his question during Wilson’s presentation.

After the meeting, we filmed Fetterman first calling Wilson on the carpet for not calling upon him and pointing out how inexcusable that was given such a sparse crowd.

As if Delouche hadn’t already been an unpaid cheerleader for Wilson, he (Delouche) impolitely answered one of Fetterman’s question on behalf of Wilson, thus making it easy for Wilson to merely concur as he began his answer.  Here’s that video:

 Fetterman calls Wilson on the carpet for “running out the clock,” after which he poses a couple of questions, one of which was impolitely answered by Delouche on Wilson’s behalf, thus necessitating a mere concurrence on Wilson’s part as he began to provide his answer.

We normally upload the entirety of a speaker’s presentation when we publish a feature on it, but this time we’re just going to provide this link for LSP’s video of the entire presentation.   We note it had 88 hits at the time of our publication.

We commend Fetterman for calling Wilson out entailing not conforming with the guidance that every speaker is given at BRPC regarding permitting a reasonable period for Q & A.  Yes, it is guidance, but blatantly indicating a desire to “leave one minute” on the clock and, in reality, leaving less than half the timeframe speakers are asked to provide doesn’t fit our definition of conformity, nor do we find Wilson’s commentary about leaving “one minute” for Q & A humorous.

Gov. Landry’s Cosmetology Board Members defiantly vow to defeat Rep. Ventrella’s bill calling for decrease in licensure hours from 1,500 to 1,000.

Cosmetologists attending the May 6, 2024 meeting of the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology express their extreme displeasure with HB-930, which would reduce the number of hours required for a cosmetology license from 1,500 to 1,000.

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UPDATE:  5/7/24 @ 5:34 p.m. 

Rep. Ventrella returned HB-930 to the calendar with notice given that it will be brought back up for debate on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

UPDATE:  5/8/24 @ 4:32 p.m.  Rep. Ventrella, after a bombardment of opposition from self-interested cosmetology schools, was forced to offer an amendment which called for a “hair design only” license at 1,000 hours.  That bill did pass 60-39.  CLICK HERE  to see how each Representative voted. Ah, what the heck!  Let’s present the vote as an embedded photo now:

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We have previously mentioned on this blog that we observed Gov. Jeff Landry, on March 7, 2024, serve as the keynote speaker for The Pelican Institute’s Solution Summit.  We stressed just how impressed we were with Landry’s ability to connect with a wide swath of Louisiana voters in making himself seem to be nothing more than an “ordinary Joe” who caught a few breaks in life and wound up Governor.

During his presentation, which lasted no more than about 16-20 minutes at most, Landry stressed his key initiatives both for the then-upcoming Legislative Session as well as for his term as Governor as a whole.

One point Landry drove home hard was that Louisiana is a state licensing too many occupations and also imposing too many restrictions and barriers for those possessing strong ambition and seeking to work in Louisiana.

We can only say that his six newly-appointed Cosmetology Board Members apparently did not get the memo entailing Landry’s impressive speech!  Sound Off Louisiana‘s founder, Robert Burns, has attended both meetings (April 1, 2024 and May 6, 2024) that have been convened since Landry completely replaced the entire Board with the exception of one Member, Jill Hebert.

Burns, who has monitored that Board for nine years beginning when he received a flood of complaints from Vietnamese manicurists, has openly stated that, “this particular group of appointees is the most anti-business group I’ve seen yet.  In fact, they are so bad in that regard that I really wish we could bring back John Bel Edwards’ members.”

Sound Off Louisiana site visitors may recall that, last year, there was a bill filed to reduce the number of hours required for licensure from 1,500 to 1,000; however, that bill sought to tie the reduction to an accompanying 60 percent increase in licensing fees overnight.  We make no apologizes for absolutely lampooning then-Gubernatorial candidate Richard Nelson for cavalierly voting in favor of the license fee increase.  Nelson has landed on his feet as Louisiana’s Revenue Secretary and, should he pursue being Governor again down the road, we trust he’ll make it clear that his vote on raising the licensing fee was a huge mistake.

We called the tying of the two measures together nothing short of “blackmail” for which we again make no apologizes whatsoever and stand by our stand that, if accompanied by a license fee increase, we wholeheartedly stand against the reduction in licensure hours.  Quite frankly, the Louisiana Cosmetology Board has demonstrated an extreme propensity to block free enterprise initiatives such as its absurd licensure requirement for hair braiding (for which it has spent an ungodly amount of money in legal fees fighting in court) and shutting down creative ideas such a mobile salon designed to assist female residents in nursing homes with being able to easily and conveniently have their hair done.  To provide them with yet more revenue to engage in further such acts should abjectly disqualify any public office holder from being reelected (or seeking higher office as was the case with Nelson) in our humble opinion!

Fortunately, it’s 2024, and State Rep. Lauren Ventrella (R-Greenwell Springs) has sponsored HB-930 which is a repeat of 2023’s efforts to reduce the licensure hours from 1,500 to 1,000 but this time without any accompanying increase in licensure fees (again, what we unapologetically call “blackmail”).

Ventrella presented her bill before the House Commerce Committee on April 22, 2024, and we have to say it was our first exposure to her, and we were blown away!  She goes straight to the heart of the matter, does not mince her words, and is, at least in our opinion, a very effective and dynamic presenter and speaker!  At this time, let’s take a look at six minutes of highlights from both her presentation and that of Jeremy Aydell, who is a highly successful businessman owning 16 Sports Clips locations throughout Louisiana and who also is a CPA holding a Master’s Degree in accounting from LSU (full disclosure:  Burns is also an inactive CPA).  Here’s what they had to say in presenting this year’s bill:

4/22/24:  Highlights of Ventrella and Aydell’s presentation of HB-930.

We want to again stress just how impressed we are with Rep. Ventrella’s performance on the video above!  We will also point out that, as both Ventrella and Aydell stress, students incur massive debt to attend school for this protracted period.  They make references to graduates being loaded down with an average of $16,000 of debt; further, later in the video, Ventrella stressed that her own legislative assistant, who strongly supports the bill, indicated that she personally was loaded down with $27,000 in debt upon graduation from Cosmetology School.  Also, Aydell pointed out that tuition often runs, “from $20,000 to $30,000 to attend Louisiana Cosmetology schools.”

Aydell also stressed what economics professors refer to as “opportunity costs,” which is the foregone income from being in school so long.  Economics professors often reference “opportunity costs” of attending college itself, and that “opportunity cost” is what the student could have earned in the workforce if attending college had been foregone.  If those funds that would have been earned working were instead invested at a reasonably safe rate of return and then those cumulative earnings are combined with the debt often incurred to attend college, the true final cost of attending college is utterly staggering.  Aydell superbly applied the same concept of “opportunity costs” to the added four months of earnings that these students lose out on by being left out of the workforce just to obtain the additional 500 hours required for licensure.

We also want to stress that Aydell was lampooned (we believe very unfairly as he is seeking nothing more than obtaining well-qualified workers to employ and expand and generate revenue and taxes from those employees) last year for his mere expressing of support for the reduction in hours.

Now, as we indicated, we attended both Cosmetology Board meetings since Gov. Landry completely overhauled the prior Board in replacing six (6) of its seven (7) Members.  The second such meeting was yesterday, Monday, May 6, 2024, and let’s just say Landry’s appointees apparently did not get the memo of his presentation on March 7, 2024 to make Louisiana a more business friendly state because they made it known in no uncertain terms that they do not support any reduction whatsoever in the 1,500 hours presently required for a license!  None!

Now, Board Members, and particularly Executive Director Steve Young, had sharp words of criticism for Louisiana House Commerce Committee Chairman Daryl Deshotel (R-Marksville) in asserting that he did not provide them equal opportunity to speak at the hearing.  In short, they felt they were given the shaft.  Young led the criticism of Deshotel, which we find ironic given that, when Young was seated at the witness table and Deshotel asked if he had anything he would like to say, Young responded with, “No.”

Now, we don’t believe anyone should get the shaft and be stifled, so to speak.  Accordingly, we now present an unedited 16-minute video clip of Board Members and audience members stating their steadfast resolve to adamantly oppose Ventrella’s bill and ensure its defeat.  Here is that 16-minute unedited video:

5/6/24:  Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology Members and audience members express their stern opposition to Ventrella’s bill.

Now, there’s one thing we feel compelled to point out.  At the April 1, 2024 Board Meeting, one small school owner expressed concern that students were going to Texas, getting licensed, and then seeking a license in Louisiana through reciprocity!  Gee, what a creative way to get around the 500 extra hours!  Here’s that question being posed and the response provided by the Board, which we think is absolutely priceless!

 4/1/24:  A small school owner expresses concern over prospective students going to Texas, getting licensed (via Texas’ 1,000 hour requirement) then returning to Louisiana to get licensed through reciprocity.

The following states have already reduced the required number of hours for a cosmetology license to 1,000:  Texas, New York, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island.  Further, Virginia’s licensure requirement will drop to 1,000 hours effective January 1, 2025.

We will soon know if Louisiana takes the next step toward joining these other states, which experts tell us represent 45 percent of all licensed cosmetologists, as Ventrella’s bill is scheduled for floor debate later today (Tuesday, May 7, 2024).  While we are publishing this feature prior to that debate, we will update it after the debate concludes and provide a link for the votes cast by members of Louisiana’s House of Representatives.

Billy Broussard relies on public records to demonstrate Gov. Landry’s filing of “illegal lien” against Calcasieu Parish drainage officials was justified; Alleges same records reflect widespread fraud which Landry readily acknowledged.

Billy Broussard, being filmed in a Baton Rouge attorney’s conference room on Monday, April 29, 2024, makes a point using a FEMA map of his allegations that local Calcasieu Parish drainage officials diverted money FEMA obligated to pay him and instead diverted the money to pay its own workers for debris removed a mile-and-a-half south of that FEMA map entailing GPS sites that were clearly ineligible for FEMA reimbursement.  During his presentation, Broussard also provided pictures of the workers and the massive amount of debris they removed from Indian Bayou.

When we published this feature lambasting Gov. Jeff Landry over his efforts to block access to public records, we included a video of Senate Governmental Affairs Committee testimony of Wednesday, April 17, 2024 by Billy Broussard, who is Jeff Landry’s cousin.  In that video, which is the most-widely viewed of all the videos presented for that feature (aside from the video of the hearing in its entirety), Broussard stated, “This was a project that I never seen so much cover-up in my life, and I’m talking about at every level:  GOHSEP, their contractors, the parish, the drainage district, their attorneys, all of them.  Interesting, the person who knows a lot about this was my original attorney, who is now our Governor…..”

Broussard asked us for an opportunity to “Sound Off” on being able to expand on that alleged cover-up, Gov. Landry’s knowledge of same, and for him to provide a behind-the-scenes account of just what all transpired.  Essentially, Broussard wanted to have the opportunity to fully expand upon his Senate Committee testimony in a way that would not have been possible at the hearing itself last week.

Accordingly, in the video associated with today’s feature, which was produced in the conference room of a local Baton Rouge attorney representing Broussard, he goes into great detail regarding his contention that, despite Fourteenth Judicial District Judge David Ritchie’s claims that Broussard should have chosen his attorney more carefully and not relied upon someone like Jeff Landry, who would file an “illegal lien” against a local drainage district, his findings through public records requests actually validate Landry’s action of filing the lien.  Furthermore, Broussard asserts that, contrary to Russell “Rusty” J. Stutes’ letter accusing Broussard and Landry of committing fraud and threatening to report such fraud to the FBI, neither Broussard nor Landry committed any fraud.

It’s worth noting that, in the letter just linked, Stutes itemizes five very specific items which he contends constitute “fraud” for which he will report Broussard to the FBI for introducing into the litigation.  It is worth noting that #3) on Stutes’ list is that “illegal lien” filed by none other than then private-citizen attorney Jeff Landry, who is now Governor of Louisiana.  From the preceding letter:

Finally, we will contact the FBI and provide them with all fraudulent documents and sworn testimony obtained during the course of litigation, including, but not limited to:……..(3) the lien filed against the District in the amount of $1,153,000.

Since nobody disputes that it is Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry who filed the lien, then one can only conclude that, based on Stutes’ letter, he is directly accusing a sitting Governor of Louisiana, Jeff Landry, of generating a “fraudulent document” which rises to the level of providing a basis for Stutes to “contact the FBI” and provide them with that document!

For this feature, we relaxed our goal of keeping videos to 20-25 minutes in length because we believe Billy Broussard’s saga, which we’ve covered extensively throughout the existence of this blog, warrants additional time because he is able to provide a rare glimpse of the behind-the-scenes efforts of a large group of Louisiana governmental officials to allegedly engage in “the most cover-up” Broussard says he’s ever seen in his life.

With that, let’s present Broussard’s efforts both to vindicate Gov. Landry and himself, and also shed light on the alleged fraud he is resolute in asserting that local and state Louisiana governmental officials perpetrated against FEMA:

Broussard defends Gov. Landry’s action of filing the “illegal lien,” rebuffs Stutes’ claims that either he or Landry committed fraud and, to the contrary, provides his evidence that buttresses his contention that it was local and state Louisiana governmental officials who engaged in cover-ups orchestrated with the specific intent to defraud FEMA.

Now let’s provide links to some of the documents Broussard desired to accompany this feature:

1.  FEMA map of approved GPS sites for Indian Bayou Project along with debris estimates.

2.  Former GOHSEP Deputy Director Mark DeBosier’s email providing chronological outline of events on Indian Bayou.

[Note:  It is DeBosier who Broussard pointed out is recorded as bragging on an ability to, “get the Legislative Auditor’s Office’s to close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears, and we make sure there’s no fingertips on it!”

3.  Original LSP Report on the Indian Bayou Project.  [Note:  Broussard has been seeking a supplement to this LSP Report to reflect the material he has uncovered, and numerous governmental officials have assisted him in his effort to obtain same.]

4.  Email between Gavin Abshire and Robert Kleinschmidt wherein Kleinschmidt strongly emphasizes the need to, “Get FEMA approval…these guys pay the bill.”  Broussard asserts that drainage officials were not happy with Kleinschmidt’s admonition and therefore hired outside counsel Stutes.

5.  This email from Kelly Fontenot to Dan Kennedy (FEMA contractor) emphasizing a need to, “get those GPS sites to go away!”  Broussard contends those are the very GPS sites that he references on the video above were marked by the GOHSEP monitor as eligible to be removed.  These sites were between burn site two and burn site three.

6.  This email from Kelly Fontenot indicating reimbursement will be obtained because, “the FEMA/State monitor will approve whether it is eligible or not.”

7.  Fontenot’s email in #6 notwithstanding, under direct examination by Broussard on the witness stand, Fontenot testified, “I have no knowledge of that (ineligible debris being picked up) even in my communication with them (daily monitors).”

8.  Fontenot testifying that her role with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is that of, business analyst and fraud analyst.  Layman’s terms:  internal auditor.

As we’ve said before, documents such as the above emails which Broussard was obtaining ruffled more than a few feathers at both the Gravity Drainage District and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, so the respective attorneys for each, Rusty Stutes and Sam Gabb, simply obtained a Restraining Order prohibiting Broussard from obtaining any further public records or even communicating with members of the Drainage District or the Police Jury, and that order remains in place even today.

So, we find it truly ironic that Broussard went to such great lengths to obtain public records in an attempt to, “clear both my name and that of our now-Governor, Jeff Landry,” yet Landry is now actively striving, through SB-482, to effectively place a Restraining Order against all citizens preventing them from even being able to delve into governmental corruption such as that Broussard alleges transpired as outlined in this feature.