Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eddie And The Cruisers

What the hell kids? I leave town for a week and you guys let the town go straight to hell. There's so much I can rant about from the ridiculously skewed elections to Derrick Sheppard getting caught in 'Dollar' Bill Jefferson's cookie jar, to California rampantly flaunting their disregard for global warming, but I want to take this opportunity to discuss Orleans Parish DA Eddie Jordan and the complete fiasco he has created.

In a nutshell, Jordan fired a whole mess of people from the OPDA's office as his first official act as District Attorney, the majority of whom were white and subsequently sued him. I cant track down the actual numbers, (what I find on the web list different numbers in each report,) but I think there were 43 total employees fired, 5 black and 38 white. Jordan defended this by stating that he hired white employees too, but when the numbers were revealed it was a direct opposite. 38 blacks hired and 5 whites. As I said, I'm not sure of the actual numbers, but I remember the color flip-flop distinctly.

Jordan, to this day, claims he's not a racist and this may be true if in fact he was operating under direct orders of Bill Jefferson as has been rumoured. This may be Jordan's way of telling the truth without telling the whole truth and implicating his buddy Bill as a racist and political manipulator. Regardless, Jordan has run out of appeals and is now faced with a 3.7 million dollar settlement to the po' white folk he unceremoniously dismissed. Well, that is the DA's office is. Jordan himself faces no punishment whatsoever! The onus of this lawsuit falls squarely on the taxpayers of Orleans Parish and the State of Louisiana.

Now the DA's office is in danger of being shut down because there is no money to pay this settlement. All across New Orleans you can hear people saying "So what? It's not like the DA's office is doing it's job anyway." and for the most part this is true. Jordan claims a 70-80% conviction rate. Others say that this number is closer to 30-40%. Without access to court records I can neither confirm nor deny this but one thing is certain: with all the crime in this city, the DA's office has only brought 77 cases to trial between July and September of this year. And according to Jordan's numbers about 25% of those end in non-convictions. Pathetic.

Jordan has recently been looking under the couch cushions of the Orleans Parish City Council and checking the pay phone coin returns of the Louisiana State Senate and House, looking for whatever change he can find for his office to help pay this settlement. Good luck, Jack. (No, really. His full name is Eddie Jack Jordan.) The odds are against a bailout unless he resigns, which he is reluctant to do. Lawyers for the plaintiffs state that the DA's office has the assets to pay the claim citing vehicles owned by the office and the salary for Jordan's driver as assets which could be sold or done away with. By the way, Jordan's driver reportedly makes $70,000 a year. (And they say there are no good government jobs!)

(Whoops, hold the presses... WDSU reports that Jordan is currently addressing his staff and may soon make a public statement. I'll let you know if I hear anything.)

As for the lawsuit itself, there are some really big unanswered questions which the Big News Media seems unable to even ask. First, how much of the 3.7 million is going to the lawyers who handled the case? True, they won and deserve compensation, but wouldn't waiving the fee, or at least the profit over costs, be the civic thing to do? After all, New Orleans is their city too and if the DA's office shuts down where will these guys practice law? (Yes, I know there's a difference between civil and criminal law, but the firms which practice both will indeed lose business.) They still get to go in the record books as victors and the press will anoint them as heroes if they follow this route.

Then we have the white guys. How many of them actually found work after being fired? How many just cruised around town waiting for their inevitable big fat settlement check? Indeed, they all deserve something for their ordeal, but 3.7 million dollars? Give me a fucking break. This whole lawsuit was designed by the lawyers for the purpose of profit, not justice. If the white guys wanted justice they would have sued the DA's office for the right to return to their jobs and the removal of Eddie Jordan and they would have sued Jordan personally for monetary compensation. As it stands, Jordan ain't worth much, (monetarily, or as a human being,) so they decided to go after the DA's office and it's big ol' bank account. You want justice? Give all the fired employees their jobs back, plus pay them for the time they missed working there, regardless of whether they had other jobs in the interim, and add in a bonus payment of about four times their salaries. (An extra year of pay for each year they were out of work.) The court system should be used for justice. Period. Not to play the home version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

As For Eddie Jack himself, why the hell is he still in office? As if this debacle isn't bad enough to get fired, he now faces an even bigger mess relating to an incident from a few weeks ago. 20 year old thug Elton Phillips allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint and fled. The victim jumped into his Hummer and gave chase until he was able to ram Phillips' vehicle off the road. Phillips and his getaway driver fled to separate houses in the area and guess where Elton went? Yup, straight to Eddie Jordans' place. It seems that Phillips is good friends with Jordans' girlfriend, Cherylynn Robinson, and upon arriving called his grammy to come pick him up, staying at the home only a few minutes. Jordan asked what was going on and Phillips said someone deliberately hit his car and ran him off the road. Jordan stated that "He was a kid... He really looked innocuous..." and then scooted off back to bed.

What the fuck? You're the DA of a major city and you don't call the cops for a hit and run victim? Are you really that incredibly obtuse? Regardless of whether you think this kid is a criminal or not, you call the cops to report an accident! Perhaps if Jordan had acted apropriately, NOPD Detective Thelonius Dukes and his wife would not have been shot and robbed by Elton Phillips and his gangsta-nigga buddies the very next morning. Detective Dukes remains in critical condition from gunshots to the leg and lower torso. His wife was shot in the foot. Parts of the home invasion were captured by security cameras at the Dukes home.

I tell ya, you can't swing a prosthetic limb in this post without knocking over a fistful of Morons. And the sad part is we let this happen! We read the stories, we watch the news reports, then we shake our heads and say, "Wow, that's fucked up." and get another moccha latte from Starbucks and check the baseball scores. We need to make a stand as one and demand accountability from the so-called 'leaders' not just in New Orleans but across this country, and until we do, we're all at risk from Morons like Eddie Jack Jordan.

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