Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is Gubernatorial Candidate, John Georges good for Louisiana?

Two of the best-financed candidates in the governor’s race are trading barbs over video poker.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, is critical of New Orleans businessman John Georges’ proposal to reduce the number of troopers assigned to State Police’s gaming enforcement division.

Jindal’s Republican Party goes even further, accusing the one-time video poker distributor of pushing a plan that “reeks of corruption and self-interest.

Georges, who has no party affiliation but was a Republican until recently, maintains the GOP is mischaracterizing his proposal.

He said Jindal is being hypocritical by criticizing his gambling proposal while taking campaign contributions from video poker interests.

On another note, John Georges received endorsements from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, as well as five elected officials in Bossier and Caddo parishes.

Endorsing Georges are Bossier City Marshal Johnny Wyatt, state Rep. Roy Burrell of Shreveport and three family members who are elected officials in Bossier Parish: Bossier City Councilman Jeff Darby, School Board member Julian Darby and Police Juror Jerome Darby.

They said Georges has pledged not to neglect North Louisiana, and they praised his business accomplishments and political independence.

Meanwhile, a recorded phone message from Nagin has been reaching homes in New Orleans this week, with the mayor saying that Georges, a former co-owner with Nagin of the now-defunct New Orleans Brass hockey team, has been a good business partner.

"Georges says he wants to do for Louisiana what he has done for myriad business ventures: Create better management systems for more efficiency, invest in modernization and hire leaders "who will know how to merge and consolidate."

"He has branched out with real estate ventures and a variety of investments, including the New Orleans Brass minor-league hockey team. The long and diverse list of big-name partners with the Brass included Ray Nagin before he became mayor of New Orleans, Republican Party leader and shipbuilder Boysie Bollinger and two close associates of former Mayor Marc Morial: Roy Rodney and Stan "Pampy" Barre. The team played for several years until the NBA's Hornets came to town and supplanted the Brass' lease at the New Orleans Arena."

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