BESE member: Alternative diploma not the answer to state’s graduation woes

Theotine "Theo" Ulysse Dardar
June 23, 2009
Diana Benoit Toms
June 25, 2009

Dear Editor:

At the last House and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting, there was lengthy discussion over the people’s right of oversight of the activities and deliberations of the governor’s office.

The League of WoMen Voters wants Louisiana citizens to know the League’s position. We urge citizens to take action to protect their right to know and to safeguard local information agents, their newspaper and electronic media.

LWVLA’s 1st Vice President Jean Armstrong told the committee, “One of the Founding Fathers, James Madison, said, ‘A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue or a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.'”

Two years ago, the governor and many of the legislators got on the Ethics 1 train headed by Stephen Moret and many organizations around the state, including the League. Citizens wanted the “gold standard” offered and we voted them into office.

Now, the governor asks to be exempted from that transparency in Senate Bill 278. The hopes of many for a better and more transparent Louisiana will be shattered.

Citizens are beginning to question if the litmus test in the deliberative process in the governor’s office is based upon presidential ambition rather than what is in the best interest of the citizens of Louisiana, such as higher education and healthcare.

Louisiana should settle for no less than what James Madison recommended.

We urge citizens to call the author of SB 278, Sen. Jody Amedee (225) 342-2040, La. House of Representatives (225) 342-6945 and Gov. Jindal (225) 342-7015, asking these elected officials to kill Senate Bill 278 and to give Louisiana the gold standard of ethics and transparency that was promised when they ran.

Lawrence J. Narcisse III,

President, League of Women Voters of Louisiana