Ferriday, La, home of Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin Jimmy Swaggart (and both are cousins of Mickey Gilley from Natchez, Ms), has a lot to be proud of. It’s a town that has produced it’s share of successful people.
Yet, driving through this small town, you’ll wonder if they have enough people still living there to form a city council, or even if they have a mayor. One thing you’ll quickly discover however, if your going 25 and the speed limit is 35, you’re going to get a ticket for speeding. Yes, they do have a police force there. So they aren’t that bad, but the point is made, don’t speed in Ferriday. In fact, you’re probably better off avoiding it altogether.
In a state where every other day it seems another politician is indicted, Ferriday stands out as the epitome of what corruption brings. The allegedly corrupt mayor Gene Allen (D) not only serves as mayor, but also traffic court judge. This small town of about 5,000 people brings in close to 1 million dollars in revenues from traffic violations. Gene Allen, by the way, would not endorse Bobby Jindal for Governor whose message was to end corruption.
The reputation that Mayor Gene Allen and Ferriday has is put in perspective when buying a home in Ferriday, you learn about the speed traps and Gene’s alleged corruption. House Concurrent Resolution came about after Representative Hollis Downs was pulled over for speeding in Ferriday. Representative Andy Anders was quoted in the Natchez Democrat as saying “We’re not here to say police don’t need to slow down traffic, but when you start using it to generate revenue you’re abusing the system,”. In this town, drugs aren’t the problem, speeders are.
But the story of Ferriday doesn’t stop there. While looking up Ferriday, I found this gem of an article about Bryant Hammett, in which the author asserts that Bryant Hammett is another profiteer of the suffering of Hurricane Katrina. In the words of the article we find…
The U.S. Congress gives Louisiana $12 Billion dollars (OUR tax dollars – from all 50 states) for Hurricane Katrina recovery.
The Louisiana legislature creates a Disaster Recovery Unit to spend that $12 Billion dollars through community development block grants (a recipe for graft).
Bryant Hammett, Jr. (Democrat-Ferriday [Little Port-au-Prince], Louisiana), Chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, applies for a job in the new Disaster Recovery Unit which he helped create.
Bryant Hammett, Jr., who is tight with that national disgrace and thoroughly incompetent governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, alternately insists that:
a) he saw an advertisement for the job on a website.
b) a friend told him about the job.
Bryant Hammett, Jr., also the sole owner of Bryant Hammett & Associates LLC, a civil engineering and land surveying business that benefited from state contracts while he was Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, doesn’t see a problem with applying for the job.
I wonder if the people who voted Bobby Jindal into office that resides in that Senate District will then in turn accidentally sabotage his administration by sending Hammett to the Senate for more of the same?
Let’s take a closer look at Bryant Hammett’s voting record in the state legislature.
He voted for Clone and Kill research (HB736) which would allow the creation of human embryos for embryonic research. This is totally unnecessary since all the advancements through stem cell research has been made through adult stem cell and there is no reason to believe that different advances can be made through embryonic stem cells. It’s been widely misunderstood that people who are against embryonic stem cell research are against stem cell research. The objection to embryonic stem cell research is that it creates life with the purpose of destroying it, whereas, adult stem cell research, life does not have to end.
He voted for bars near churches (HB297) and drive through daiquiris (HB754) which makes sense being that he’s from Ferriday. After all, if they can make 1 million dollars a year off of speeders, how much can they make off of drunk drivers?
He voted to allow elected officials employment at casinos (SB802) — of course, after reading the article that I cited earlier, this makes a lot of sense. Who knows maybe Bryant Hammett would be sitting around the kitchen reading the paper, enjoying his coffee when suddenly he stumbles upon a job opportunity working at the casino, or maybe a friend phones him up and tells him of this great job opportunity down at the casino where he can help Louisianians with their financial matters. After all, Bryant would never do anything out of greed. Nah…
Bryant Hammett also voted to expand gambling with his vote on HB966, HB353, HB114, HB799, and HB484. Obviously Bryant Hammett loves gambling, but the real question is, will the constituents of district 32 like it enough to gamble the future of Louisiana with Bryant Hammett?
When it comes to Ferriday, La., I’d suggest we stay out of it. Some things the people can’t control, Allen is in his first term, and they should take the opportunity to remove him from office. You could say, they didn’t know.
With Bryant Hammett, an election time conservative, they should know, and sending him back is a reflection on the community.