Thursday, 24 September 2015 15:13

Louisiana governor's forum: Tolls of Highways, and low roads of trackers

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edwardsOn Monday, the Baton Rouge Press Club hosted a forum for the gubernatorial candidates.  Of the major candidates, US Senator David Vitter, was the only person not in attendance, apparently due to pressing obligations at Washington DC., although he has made over thirty forums since declaring to be a candidate for Louisiana governor.


Below is the transcript to part 2 of a phone interview we did with Gannett reporter Greg Hilburn, who attended the event:

As Hilburn was on the road returning back from the state’s capitol from the event, unfortunately, there were unclear moments in the recording.   You can watch the video which comprises the audio or read the transcript of part 2, or both. 

Also, here is a link to part 1

SABLUDOWSKY: Based upon what happened today, what do you think was the most remarkable statement made today by any one of the candidates

HILBURN: Well trying to recall some of the policy issues addressed, I wish I had something remarkable, most of the one-liners were directed at Vitter, but they talked about this transportation infrastructure problem that we have, that's a 12 billion-dollar, that's with a "b", and roads and bridges, so they each said, and there are some including those in the asphalt (unintelligible) road business to advocate a gasoline tax. None of the candidates said they willing to do that unless all of the, and I think Edward said, unless all of the avenues are exhausted, they all three said-- two of them said, Edwards and Dardenne said they would keep state police out of the transportation trust fund. So, as you know, state police was funded last year by 60 million, they received 60 million out of that trust fund. So that would end. So that 60 million, were talking about 12 billion, so Edwards and Dardenne said they would focus more on capital outlay to those roads; Edward said his plan would generate another 75 million. Angelle had the most radical plan, and so he advocates creating clusters of parishes or regions and let them be able to levy tax upon themselves by a vote of the people in the regions. If they want the roads, one of the ways to do it would be for them to levy taxes upon themselves, to have roads and bridges or whatever in that cluster or region.  I thought that was unusual. I don't know if that would fly, I thought that was different, seems kind of risky but. All of them talked about the possibility of tolls, but Louisiana is not a heavy toll state, so that was interesting I thought

SABLUDOWSKY: Yeah I was going to mention the tolls, in it sounds somewhat like a toll, it was saying is that he wants the voters of the region to be able to make that decision.  So getting back to the first issue that is the question of nonappearance, I know that various people, pundits, I know it's been reported that Vitter is not attending those forums where he does not get the questions in advance--and the speculation is that this is the reason why he did not attend, I guess a forum that he would really want to attend, because it is the Baton Rouge press club.

HILBURN: I can't say for certain, but it seems as if the Senator has avoided or has not been able to attend some of the forums in which the questions would not presented ahead of time. He had attended some that weren't. I covered, way back, I think the first one at the farm bureau in New Orleans, in your city, He didn't have the questions there. Of course he didn't have the questions, I didn't attend this one last week or the week before when he got kind of angry about it, saying there were planted questions. He has attended some (inaudible) but I don't know. I spoke to his spokesperson and want to know why Senator Vitter wasn't there and he said that he had business to attend to in Washington, he was in route to Washington, although, the Senator didn't have any votes (in Washington) today (inaudible).  Anyway I did ask about.

SABLUDOWSKY: It would seem to me that the campaigns would at least have some information about it because they're the ones who receive the questions in advance, and so what they're saying, is he's not going to those debates where they do receive the questions in advance. I'm sorry, where they don't receive the questions in advance. But is going to those where he's got the questions in advance provided. I happen to be at the debate last week where apparently the questions were not given in advance and where he did get unnerved by the question relative to revised statute 14 and about breaking the law. He thought that was a trick question or a "gotcha" question

HILBURN: Yeah and he claimed that Dardenne planted that question if I remember right

SABLUDOWSKY: that is what he claimed

SABLUDOWSKY: One last question please, is that last week, I wrote an article about these campaign PACS and I think it is the PACS who are following the candidates. I saw some things on Twitter, comments being made, these campaign PACS following candidates. The ones that I caught and I shot a video of it is from the Vitter PAC-- the Funds for Louisiana's Future and they paid this guy Josh, and it goes through a national organization, America rising. And so America Rising actually pays this guy Josh, Josh follows the candidates around, lately Edwards. What I saw, he was capturing by video, he was capturing the conversations that Edwards was having with private individuals who were, I'm assuming were not expecting to have their conversations captured. Now, I did my own independent research and do believe, that's unlawful. I do believe that you can't capture audio or oral communications but subject to reasonable expectations. I'm just wondering was there any discussion or did you see anybody capturing anything that was a little suspicious or are they stopping it or not stopping it I'm just wondering?

HILBURN: Well I was going to bring this up before we had to go because I read that piece last weekend and found it very interesting and so I thought about you immediately today because one of the candidates, I hate to call them a minor candidate but I can't even remember his name, he stood up and asked a question (inaudible) about statute 30 or something like that, Dardenne gets up and says, I'm not familiar with that, I need to do some research, but I am familiar with statute 14, he brought that up.

SABLUDOWSKY: (Laughter)He brought that up, I see.

HILBURN: The second piece of that, after the candidates were chiding Vitter for not being there, they said “but we see Josh, as usual, his spotter” and pointed out him, so I want to tell you about that, especially after reading your piece last week (inaudible), said hey Josh so it was really, but I knew that you wanted to know about that, so even though it doesn't really have anything to do with policy, I want to know that that was talked about, discussed about

SABLUDOWSKY: Sure. Sure. I'm glad, I likewise believe the candidates have an obligation to tell innocent people that their oral communications might be captured. So I'm glad a candidate went out and did that.  I think Dardenne has done that in the past or other candidates have done that in the past, notifying, during the debate saying here is the spotter or whatever you would call it. I just think that that kind of practice if you go in spot a candidate, that's fine because that's a candidate that has decided to run for office.


SABLUDOWSKY: but the average citizen who goes up to the candidate, whether it be at a shopping center, a shopping mall, waiting, wherever

HILBURN: I think that would be very unsettling to most people don't you?

SABLUDOWSKY: Well yeah, I think it would and should be and I think it's against the law and serious criminal penalties associated with it. Vitter's campaign says that Angelle or the Democrats are doing the same.  But I've asked them for more information they have not provided it. So we'll have to wait and see what happens, it will be interesting but hopefully next time, we'll see what Sen. Vitter has to say, hopefully he'll be able to attend the next forum.

HILBURN: I hope so

SABLUDOWSKY: well, thanks a lot and have a safe trip back to Monroe and I really appreciate you taking time with us thank you

HILBURN: thank you Steve I really appreciate it.

Bayoubuzz Staff
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