Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Discipline in District 4?

One of the oldest adages in politics reminds potential candidates to maintain their discipline at all times. After all, the sage reminds us, discipline is an indicator of leadership qualities. Well, discipline has to be one of the things on Calvin Lester's mind as the race to replace now Mayor Cedric Glover in House District 4 unfolds. Unfortunately, the discipline Lester faces could ring a deathknell to his fledgling campaign.
Before the ink had dried on Lester's announcement speech, word came from the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board that the group is recommending his license to practice law be suspended for three years. That recommendation now goes to the state Supreme Court for action, and the Court usually follows the guidelines set by the board unless mitigating circumstances are shown. In this case, it appears there is no wiggle room for the recently re-elected city councilman. Lester is accused of failing to disperse money from his clients to pay certain expenses following settlements. To be fair, his explanations for failure to do so did not meet the smell test either to the casual observer or to the several members of the disciplinary board.
Lester already has been barred from practicing law in federal court, a punishment handed down without challenge from the Shreveport attorney.
Other problems faced by the District 4 candidate have been well documented, including a case involving the state ethics committee. If timing is everything in the political arena, the timing of this latest episode could not have been worse. Lester had to be considered one of, if not the, frontrunner in the campaign which will end at the polls on Feb. 24. He is one of four individuals running to fill Glover's unexpired term, and none of the other three candidates should be considered a patsy. Included among the opposition is Larry Ferdinand (an experienced politico with existing ties in Baton Rouge), Reginald Johnson and Patrick Williams, themselves no political neophytes and hard workers to boot. Lester already faced a pretty tough battle, but he was generally considered one half of a runoff picture in the district. This latest news may have put the kabosh on his plans.
Some folks in the prognosticating business are saying Lester may have found a final nail in the coffin of his political ambitions, while others are pointing to the resurrection of Joe Shyne's career and the reelection of William Jefferson as evidence that the black community seems willing to forgive some indiscretions among its political leaders. Still others are saying the roughly 30 percent of white registered voters in that district will most certainly turn its eyes to one of the other three candidates. If that's true, it leaves four candidates fighting for 66 percent of the black registered voters, while only three candidates can look with some hope toward that 30 or so percent of white voters.
Lester's biggest hope is that the Supreme Court won't hand down its discipline prior to Feb. 24. If it doesn't, he still may be considered a strong contender for a runoff spot. If, however, the Supremes do bring on the punishment, Lester's campaign may be shaken before it's stirred.
Whatever the circumstance, District 4 may be the first chance for Shreveport to prove that it isn't New Orleans, and its candidate with the problem is no William Jefferson. This one will be interesting to watch.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calvin Lester keeps showing his true colors (no pun intended). First, all those unpaid parking tickets -- I guess he thought being a city councilman would get him out of those. Now this business with the bar. How does this differ from what William Jefferson did -- or supposedly did. (It's hard to explain $90,000 in your freezer, isn't it?) Lester is caught dead to rights. Yet, he'll probably sail right into Glover's old seat. Well, if the seat fits .... and in this case, it literally should. I'm ashamed of Louisiana politics/

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Annoymous said...

What do you expect from a lawyer? Do you not know what is wrong with a lawyer up to his neck in sand?

........not enough sand...........

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've know Calvin for years, and I can't say I'm surprised at this latest revelation. Calvin is a very bright young man, but for some reason he believes he's above the law and should be judged under a different set of circumstances than the rest of us. I don't believe that's arrogance, I simply believe Calvin doesn't think he has to live by the same standards which are set for the rest of us. I live in the district where he will be running and I'll be voting from someone else. If you would, please, either write about the other candidates so we can make our choice, or talk about them on your radio show. I will make my feelings known to Calvin, with regret.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be willing to overlook some of Mr. Lester's difficulties if he would just once say, "I'm sorry. I messed up." That ain't happening. After reading the story in The Shreveport Times and seeing his excuse for mishandling his clients' money, I am more convinced that Mr. Lester is just another petty crook with a law degree who thinks he can get away with anything.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Disappointed said...

Calvin Lester can get out of the race right now. I am one of the people he will be asking for a vote, and I plan to let him know exactly how my family and I feel when he knocks on our door. I cannot support Ferdinand because he's so locked in with people in Baton Rouge that he probably doesn't give one flip about us except as a tool to pry open the door to the vault. I will look very hard at Patrick Williams and Reginald Johnson and make my choice. Save your knuckles, Mr. Lester. My door is closed to you.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comes right on the heels of Calvin telling us the only job he wanted was to be our councilman. He flat out lied to us and we won't forget. Be happy with your council job, Calvin. That's all you're going to have, and that one might not last the next four years.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens if the Supreme Court rules against Lester after he is elected? Is there a law that says his type of "criminal" activity excludes him from holding public office? Will he have to step down? And if he does, what about campaign contributions? Will he have to give that money back, too?

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Annoymous said...


Got any clues on who screwed the monkey?

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. Here's the deal. You can keep your door locked, but Calvin Lester will be elected state rep. He made an honest mistake. Even if he is suspended from practicing law, it won't affect him being a state rep. So get over it. Blacks don't care about that kind of stuff. And politicians say they will stay in their current seat all the time, and when the opportunity presents itself, run for another office. Bo big deal there, either. Did Cedric say he would serve out his term as state rep? Politics is about timing, as you know. So go Calvin! We need you in Baton Rouge.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, the Republicans are doing a pretty good job of screwing us -- I look there first.

11:21 PM  

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