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Stuck on stupid XVII: Ater calls tune, asks feds to pay fiddler

Sep. 30, when the special election for Secretary of State will occur, cannot come soon enough, as the latest remarks concerning election expenses by its present, unelected (and fortunately not running) head Al Ater, only can lead one to conclude the office is occupied by a dingbat who thinks the intelligence of Orleans Parish residents cannot rise even to that level.

Ater, who for months has argued in favor of reduced ballot security, of delaying Orleans Parish elections as long as possible, and of committing the state to go far beyond legal or constitutional requirements to hold those elections, has gotten all indignant that the federal government refuses to pay for the extra estimated $3 million the state is spending on frivolous communications efforts for those elections. He even sees some kind of bias against Louisiana, hinting that is born of the fact that the national minority Democrats run the state. “Does President Bush not care about the democratic process in New Orleans?” he gripes, and wonders why in 2001 New York City got its entire postponed election expenses paid for.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the costs to locate addresses and send out all sorts of literature to people displaced out of Orleans Parish as a result of the 2005 hurricane disasters do not qualify for federal funding. One of his subalterns, Angie LaPlace, commissioner of elections, argued otherwise, saying that FEMA did not take into account the stupidity of Orleanians. “This was an extraordinary event,” LaPlace helpfully reminds. “We don't expect people to be election experts. We don't think the average person would know the election process well and how to get a ballot and how to vote.”

Perhaps LaPlace is even denser than Ater, because she doesn’t seem to be aware that all anybody needs to know about how to voter early/absentee in Louisiana already is posted at her own department’s website. If she does, then in her mind an “election expert” is someone who knows how to point, click, read English, and find a 39-cent stamp, skills she apparently doubts most people have.

While it’s clear these dunderheads know how to loosen demagoguery into the public discourse, it’s equally evident they apparently can’t understand federal laws. 44CFR206.233 makes plain what qualifies as an expense qualifying for a Public Assistance grant from FEMA , paid to governments:

(a) General. To be eligible for financial assistance, an item of work must:
(1) Be required as the result of the major disaster event

Since New York postponed its election two weeks because of its response to the terrorist attack on the day of the election, it’s clear the disaster itself caused the postponement. But in no way was the “voter education” campaign required for New Orleans to hold its delayed elections.

Ater bleats the same discredited excuse for this that he has used all along to justify his attempts to loosen ballot security, provide for satellite voting, and for the superfluous communications: “We're trying to keep the U.S. Justice Department, the Legislature and federal courts happy. These are extraordinary expenses, all due to Katrina.” But this argument has been invalidated at every turn by the Justice Department and federal courts by their refusal to sanction earlier state inaction in this area (indeed, swiftly approving elections without the mailouts) and to ever even remotely hint that the state needed to do these things to make the elections “fair.”

But if you think these actions and statements by Ater are arrogant, most breathtaking of all on this account is his charge of bias when the increased communications, election delay, reduced ballot security, and satellite voting centers all were attempts by Ater to interject as much of a bias in favor of Democrats as he possibly could. While they have couched their rhetoric in terms of the upcoming New Orleans elections only, these partisans’ long term plan is to drag on the state of emergency as long as possible and justify all of these measures into state law to apply for elections all over the state, for as long as they can.

In essence Ater, who was aiming to be the next head of the state Democrats until another faction in the party outflanked him and his backers such as Gov. Kathleen Blanco, moans about how the federal government, run by Republicans and backed by the law, is not subsidizing his efforts to aid Democrats. And guess who ends up paying for his naked partisanship? That’s right, Louisiana citizens will, about 70 cents per head. Write to this moron what you think about his making Louisianans pay for his idiocy here.


Anonymous said...

I am glad to see that at least someone in Louisiana is speaking the truth about the various shenanigans going on among the state's politicos. Great post!

GentillyGirl said...


You're a Conservative cretin, and by everything you write I'm more convinced of that.

People here aren't ignorant. (Maybe they are in Shreveport, but that goes with the territory.) We needed all of our populace in the vote. Repubs blocked that, arguing what the Law was versus the extrodinary circumstances of the current situation here.

What sexual favors did you agree to to have your vision realized, hmmm? Did Rove 'do' you?

Come on down to New Orleans, and this little intellectual bitch will kick your butt and your semi-educated mind. (I'll get it on video too.)

I'm sick and tired of your shit about all of us down here. Come and meet me, and pay the freakin' price. Come to New Orleans and face a New Orleanian on her home ground. I dare you!

Jeff Sadow said...

Thank you for making a point I stress continually in many postings -- ignorant people have given us the government we have in this state. At the same time, I certainly don't thank you for being one of those whose stupidity has visited these politicians on us.

Anonymous said...

By what madness do you claim Ater and the state arranged for the Democrats evacuate. He has only addressed the need for all to have uniform access to voting. The ones talking party are .... you and your idiot rightwing friends.

--Clyde Fant

Anonymous said...

Take heart, Jeff, as for what "Lady Morwen" has resorted to by petty name calling claiming she "invited Sadow to come to N.O. so a girl can kick his ass, intellectually and physically."
( )illustrates that this is a battle that you have already won. Looking at this Druid's blog profile gives you just about what you should expect from theses sorts, she state that she is a "Libertine Trans/Intersexed Lesbian/Trans-Feminist & Dianic girl from Gentilly here! I freakin' tilt windmills."
Lady Morwen, why don't you go tilt some windmills! OH, MY! I hope you don't cast a spell on me for that comment! LOL!
Keep up the good work Sadow, from one UNO Poli-Sci grad to another--Kudos!
Brad Duhe

Jeff Sadow said...

To Mr. Fant (hopefully, you aren't the ghost of the past Shreveport mayor):

Try reading the column again and this time pay attention to all the unnecessary things (and cost) Ater embarked the state on. We had a perfectly good procedure in place already -- it's called RS 18:1307 and about 11,000 Louisianans took advantage of it in the April 23 election. Only a moron would need help in carrying it out, and we don't need any of them deciding elections for us (unless I suppose as in your case you need to use them to keep your allies in power ...)

Good to hear from you, Brad; long time! If us UNO grads learned anything, it was to argue with fact and logic, not ignorance and emotion.

Kevin said...


By what madness do you claim Ater and the state arranged for the Democrats evacuate. He has only addressed the need for all to have uniform access to voting.

The evacuees had easy access to voting. They could have gone to a public library in Houston, Atlanta, or whereever else they were and go to the Secretary of State's website and download an absentee ballot. It's not hard to do. Or they could have gotten a bus ride or other transportation back to New Orleans. There was no need for these special rules for this election.

Lady Morwen:

People here aren't ignorant. (Maybe they are in Shreveport, but that goes with the territory.) We needed all of our populace in the vote. Repubs blocked that, arguing what the Law was versus the extrodinary circumstances of the current situation here.

You're obviously a graduate of the Orleans Parish public schools so I'll put this in as simple language as I can. The entire displaced had easy access to the ballot box. Again as I was explaining to Clyde, it would have required some effort like going to a public library and downloading an absentee ballot and sending it in. If you wanted all of your populace back, you'd be waiting years before you can vote.

Kevin Boyd
Dumb Hick from St. Tammany Parish

Anonymous said...

Interesting piece! (I followed this on a link from the Dead Pelican).

It's also nice to see FEMA starting to deny some of the more outrageous demands from Katrina's "victims." Eight months of whining and demands for US taxpayers' dollars have gotten pretty old.