It was quite a remarkable request of the news media during yesterday’s luncheon sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Baton Rouge. The featured speaker was Dr. Fred Cerise, recently sacked by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s handpicked LSU Board of Supervisors for opposing the governor’s plan to privatize the state’s public health care system.
Before introducing Cerise to the group of about 50, League President Jean Armstrong made a request that might sound routine in Putin’s Russia, but is more than a bit discordant in a state like Louisiana that is, for now at least, still a (somewhat) functioning democracy.
As Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Mark Ballard noted in his story in today’s paper, Armstrong “ordered reporters and photographers not to identify anyone in the audience. She said state employees were part of the luncheon crowd and their attendance could lead to their firing.”
Given Jindal’s well-publicized intolerance for dissent, Armstrong’s admonition was both compassionate and wise.
But what does it say about the state of Louisiana’s so-called democracy that state workers are so afraid of incurring the governor’s wrath that they dare not reveal their identity at a public meeting (not a partisan rally), held merely to discuss an important public policy question?
- So Gov. Bobby Jindal is running LSU. Why should we care? (bobmannblog.com)
- Where’s Bobby Jindal? Not on the LSU campus. (bobmannblog.com)
- Jindal is now fully in control of LSU (bobmannblog.com)