Washington Parish Community Preservation Alliance

Washington Parish Reservoir opposed

Click here to Listen to Jalon Pittman Beech   at Bond meeting on 10/20/05
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Jalon Pittman Beech says:

This commission has the opportunity and obligation to rescind funding for
controversial and unneeded reservoir projects that send our state spiraling into debt.

At the July 22nd Bond Commission meeting, my father, Nevels Pittman and I testified before you regarding our objections to the funding of the proposed Washington Parish Reservoir.

My dad and I told you about our historic family home, the Oak Grove Community and cemeteries that would be taken and destroyed by the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission.

Yet you proceeded to approve funding that will wash away everything but my memory of where I grew up, and where I call home.

Again, I request that you reconsider your decision to fund pork barrel projects such as the Washington Parish Reservoir, especially when our state is overwhelmed with crisis and debt.

It is my understanding that you have the power to rescind any funds that are allocated to the reservoir projects.  I respectfully ask that you rescind and void any funds for unneeded and unwanted reservoirs in our state, and in particular, Washington Parish.

The reservoir projects in this state have become clouded with controversy.  The Washington Parish Reservoir is to be modeled after the Poverty Point Reservoir.

This week, it has been reported that the Poverty Point Reservoir Commission is under investigation, and the secretary for the commission was arrested.

The same people who have promoted the Poverty Point Reservoir are involved in the Washington Parish Reservoir project as well as every other reservoir project in Louisiana.

I ask you to please look into this matter before you proceed with allowing funds for the Washington Parish Reservoir.

I donít believe that this commission fully understands what is involved with the reservoir projects that it is funding.

At present, there are approximately 14 reservoir projects that have been sanctioned by the governorís office.  Each parish has their own handpicked commission to oversee these projects.

Combined, these projects will cost the taxpayers of Louisiana over 1 billion dollars.  These reservoirs are touted for economic development and recreation, and for potable water of which no proven need exists.

To obtain property for the reservoir, the reservoir commission has the authority to expropriate, or take without asking, the private property of the citizens who reside on the proposed reservoir site.

For the state of Louisiana to seize private property for economic and recreational development is the epitome of the abuse of the eminent domain law.  Eminent Domain was put in place to obtain property for public use such as roads and bridges.

You are approving money for reservoirs that is designated for our Department of Transportation projects.  I donít believe that the average taxpaying citizen of this state would appreciate DOTD funds being diverted from our roads, bridges, and other much needed infrastructure to unneeded reservoirs so that a select few can make some huge deposits in their bank accounts.

This commission has the opportunity and obligation to rescind funding for controversial and unneeded reservoir projects that send our state spiraling into debt.

The state of Louisiana has to accept the charity of other states and the federal government just to pay our basic necessities.

If you tightened Louisianaís purse strings and put a stop to the self-serving legislators who have been wooed by cunning real estate developers to go along with reservoir projects, our state could stand on its on.

You would at the very least, have another billion dollars to budget to worthwhile projects such as infrastructure, levee systems for our coast line, pay raises for state employees, hospitals, and I could go on and on.

Louisiana is wealthy with resources, but these resources are commonly exploited and misused.   Louisiana consistently proves to the world that we are incapable of handling business without the appearance of impropriety.

The buck literally can be stopped here today, and what a proud day this would be for the citizens of Louisiana. 

Again, I respectfully ask that you rescind any funds that have been designated for the Washington Parish Reservoir, and stop the waste of any future monies that would be allocated to this harmful and wasteful project.

Jalon Pittman Beech


Sen. Ben Nevers says:

Let's spend Louisiana so deep into a hole that we canít dig out.

We have asked our businesses across this state to come, and reinvest back in Louisiana,
and we havenít given them the first dollar.
They have reinvested in Louisiana because they have hopes of maybe having a better Louisiana.

Hoping the Federal government will send us dollars to help rebuild Louisiana, but not banking on it.
Knowing we have to bail ourselves out.

I heard elegant speeches here this morning, and I understand, and have great respect for
my colleagues, but the facts are; are we just to stop Louisiana cold?

To say we arenít going to do anything because we had a catastrophic event.
I say to you, itís time to move Louisiana forward, and itís time to look at the airports,
and all the other opportunities that we have out here, and I urge each of youÖ

to pass this capital outlay request out of here today, because if we donít,
we acknowledge to the rest of the world,
no weíre not going to continue on,

Weíre going to wait for the federal government to bail us out,
and if they donít bail us out,

Weíre going to still be digging in a hole that we canít get out of.

But I say to you that the people of Louisiana is going to have to help themselves,
and this here is an expression of trying to do so.

I say to you that there is health and welfare issues in this these requests,
and there is also Economic Development in these requests.

Once again I humble ask you to pass them out of here.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.