For those of us who still have home phones, the end of the election season couldn’t come soon enough. In the last few days of campaigning, we had half a dozen robo-calls a day, accompanied by nearly that many campaign mailers in the mailbox daily. And all of it was generally negative.
We can thank the US Supreme Court for this deluge of candidate negativity.
The Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission unleashed super PACs – with seemingly unlimited funding, but without timely disclosure or contribution limits – to the detriment of our election process.
It’s not just the free flowing money that should concern us all – we really don’t know where that money comes from. Just a couple of super PAC examples from the governor’s elections campaigns include the GUMBO PAC, Americans for Prosperity Louisiana, and the Judicial Crisis Network. While GUMBO PAC and Americans for Prosperity list Baton Rouge addresses, the Judicial Crisis Network’s address is in Washington DC.
It’s one thing to receive campaign literature from a candidate’s campaign – but just what do we really know about the Judicial Crisis Network and the people/politics of this organization?
Our recent election season was just a prelude of what unlimited money can do in a presidential election – with little to no accountability.
In the meantime, here at home we do have some reassuring accountability as evidenced by the release of Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington’s Annual Report 2014-2015.
Whittington’s preface to the report recognizes the challenges of Bossier Parish’s rapid traffic growth and work to keep our roadways safe, as well as ensuring public safety in the event of civil unrest. Whittington also points to his department’s institution of the use of body cameras for his deputies and school resource officers.
In addition to providing a slew of statistical information about the department’s crime fighting efforts, the report features an overview of the department’s consolidated budget. Notably, the overview reflects a nearly half million dollar budgeted surplus for the July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 budget period.
Whittington closed his preface with an observation that ought to give all of us pause for thought about the critical role our local law enforcement officers serve in our community:
“It seems now more than ever that law enforcement is a challenging career. The dedicated men and women who wear this uniform work constantly to defend “The Thin Blue Line” that separates civility from anarchy. When the chips are down, the bullets are flying and everyone is running away, it’s not the Monday morning quarterbacks – politicians, liberal media or activists – you call for help. Law enforcement proudly answers this call 24-7-365.”
There’s a good bit of information – and accountability – in the Sheriff’s annual report. And that’s a practice we should demand much more of in our candidates and elected officials.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the Bossier Press-Tribune. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org